Keith R. Groth, 81, of rural Decorah, Iowa, died Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at Gundersen Health Systems in LaCrosse, Wis.

He was born on June 3, 1932, in Highland Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa to Luther and Julia (Larson) Groth.

He attended the Kjome School and graduated from Decorah High School.

On Oct. 19, 1952, he married Rita Kolaas in Calmar. They lived and farmed in Highland Township. She died Nov. 28, 2011. He was an active, lifetime member of the Highland Lutheran Church serving in numerous positions.

His main love was farming. Tending his sheep, cattle, chickens and favorite donkey "Jenny" brought purpose and enjoyment to his life. He cherished the little things the most - from the way the lambs would jump and play in his barnyard to testing someone's grip with his bone-crushing handshake. He could tell stories for as long as anyone cared to listen and his eyes would wander as if he was living them all over again.

He is survived by four sons, Jeff (Judy) of Red Oak, Texas, Dan (Cindy) of Winona, David of Madison, Wis., and Richard (Deb) of Rochester; seven grandchildren, Jamie (Elizabeth), Nicholas (Delia), Josiah (Monica), Elias, Ayla, Brandon and Kyle; four great-grandchildren, Maya, Lindsey, Victoria and Inara; a brother, Duane (Shirley) of Decorah and two sisters, Norma (Don) Halse of Decorah and Ila Barnes of Rochester.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita and a brother, Kenneth.

Funeral services were held Monday, Feb. 10, at the Highland Lutheran Church in rural Decorah with the Rev. Kathy Wicks officiating. Burial followed in the church cemetery.

Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel assisted the family with the funeral arrangements.