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J. Arlene “Dee” Groth

J. Arlene "Dee" Groth

GROTH, Joy Arlene “Dee,” 90, passed away peacefully Thursday, April 16, 2020, showered with love and prayers and with family by her side, at St. Paul’s Senior Community in Belleville, IL. Dee resided at St. Paul’s for only two months, having lived at Cedar Trails Assisted Living for six years after selling her home of 37 years in New Athens, IL.

Beloved mother of Nancy Groth (Max Arens) and Joy Morris (Scott Spier), adoring grandmother of Sarah (Nathan) Majzel, Katie Crank (Aubrey Arcangel), Suzanne Morris, and Sheryn Morris (Jr Smith), and proud great grandmother to Grace Majzel, Maggie Majzel, Savanna Smith and Azalea Arcangel, dear aunt and great aunt many times over, Dee also will be missed by her beloved friend Pat Sanders. Dee was preceded in death by her friend and husband of 53 years, Ralph Groth, her parents, Joseph E. and Meoma Brines, her sister, Betty Jean Brines, and her brother, Joe Donald (Laura) Brines.

Born Joy Arlene Brines on June 17, 1929, just months before the market crash which marked the beginning of the Great Depression and nicknamed “Dee,” she learned early on to “waste not, want not.” When she was only eight years old her father suffered a stroke and her mother, Meoma, took over the family business, a repair garage in North St. Louis, across the street from Lee Groth’s grocery store. Dee’s job was to get dinner on the table every night; her older sister, Betty, was charged with cleaning the house. Cooking delicious food for people she loved became Dee’s trademark.

She was a proud graduate of Central High and went to work for Southwestern Bell after high school. Meoma and Lee conspired to find a match among his sons and her daughters, thus Ralph and Dee were introduced and married August 19, 1950, on the eve of Ralph’s entry into boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood to serve in the Korean War. 

Dee and Ralph settled in Florissant, MO, after the war and were active members of Atonement Lutheran Church, where they formed many life-long friendships. Dee joined, and ultimately presided over Atonement’s Mothers Club and Married Couples Club.

Living through economic adversity and the sacrifices of World War II and the Korean War shaped her personality. Despite hardship she carried herself with lightness, grace and humor. Dee loved a party and rarely turned down an invitation. For many years her daughters spent Saturday nights with Grandma Brines and Aunt Betty while she and Ralph enjoyed house parties with friends. They seldom missed family gatherings, weddings, funerals, graduations or granddaughters’ performances and events. In later years they loved travel— first entertaining IGA retailers through Wetterau Foods and later, spending the month of February at Port Isabella, Texas, a haven of beaches, sunshine and relaxation. They took up golf and joined several golf groups, including the “Swingers” Friday Night golf group.

She and Ralph purchased the New Athens IGA store in 1977 and served as owner-operators for 17 years, happy to join the community and support local businesses. Dee joined the VFW Auxiliary and New Athens Womens’ Club, where she also became president and was instrumental in the fund-raising and planning for construction of both “Welcome to New Athens” structures on the edge of town. Dee was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Athens, and a dependable volunteer for their Ladies Club, where she could be relied on to produce 30 pounds of German Potato Salad for the annual New Athens Homecoming chicken dinner. Active in the Illinois chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Dee loved attending district meetings.

An excellent seamstress Dee decided to learn English smocking when her first granddaughter was born and created dozens of smocked dresses for her granddaughters and smocked bonnets for every newborn family member.

A private memorial service is planned with Heil-Schuessler in New Athens, IL coordinating arrangements. Burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery after stay-home orders are lifted, and a celebration of Dee’s life is planned “when it is safe to hug.”

 Memorial contributions may be made to Family Hospice, Belleville, IL, or St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Athens, IL, or the Alzheimers Association. 

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  1. Sue Zaring says:

    I just learned of the passing of this awesome lady. Prayers all around and memories are golden. Please remain safe and know you are thought of during this difficult time.

  2. Pat Scheller says:

    With sincere sympathy to the Groth family. My Mother,Aileen, was a first cousin to “Dee”. She was the daughter of Goldie Brines Smith. Mom often commented on Dee’s warm and fun personality and how much she enjoyed their times together at the Hillsboro reunions. The obituary was a beautiful tribute to your Mother.

  3. Lisa Schreiber says:

    Joy and family –
    Please accept my deepest sympathy. Dee was a sweet lady, always had a smile when I saw her.

  4. Becky Lavine says:

    Sending my sympathy to the family of Dee. I heard from my brothers and sisters that she was living at Cedar Trails. I always thought I would see her in the dining room on one of my visits to see my dad. Sadly, that never happened. Joy, we share some great memories of working together at IGA in our younger years. Please know I will be thinking of you now, as you continue life without your mom. I know it is difficult. Sending love and prayers your way.

  5. Sally a syberg says:

    Oh what a lovely lady I played golf with her at riverside tues morn golf club she was always happy good golfer (I was terrible) it was nice they took me in lunches were always so much fun she was a treasure n pleasure to know luv n prayers sally a syberg🙏🏻❤️😍

  6. Jim Jr says:

    I knew Aunt Dee for 60 years but just learned some of her life details in this beautiful and lovingly written obituary. My lasting memory will be one of ‘authentic joy, consistently shared’. I’m sure the Lord is proud and pleased. ❤️ I know I’ll be eternally grateful for her life, her beautiful family, her sterling example – and for the unrelenting love she gave all of us. 💚

  7. The Arcangels says:

    We share in your sadness as you remember your loving mother/grandmother/aunt, Dee. It’s comforting to know the beautiful life she lived to the fullest. Sending our prayers and virtual hugs. May She Rest In Peace.

    • Bonny Hepp says:

      I played bunco with Dee for awhile. I really liked her. She was one of those rare people who you felt affinity for right away. Prayers to her family and close friends and so very sorry for her loss. She was neat.

  8. Bonnie Harriss says:

    Your parents were lovely people. I have many fond memories of working with Dee on community events. After we moved from Nee Athens, we would run into one another at the most unexpected places. We were never at a loss for words and catching up. May her beautiful smile and precious memories comfort all of you.

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