Bill Gropel celebrating his 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2013
Willard (Bill) James Gropel passed away this morning (5/5/2014). Bill had been battling cancer on and off over the last couple of years. During the summer of 2012 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was successfully treated. Then during the summer of 2013, he was diagnosed with small cell cancer in his other lung. Again, it was treated with chemo and radiation. After that treatment he was to receive follow up scans to determine the effectiveness of the treatments. At his six month scan he was clear. If he was clear at his twelve month scan, he would have been declared cancer free. His twelve month scan was a few weeks ago and the small cell cancer had returned.
Bill in front of the Hardware Hank store in Ivanhoe, Mn with his parents and his brother. Bill is the taller boy.
Bill was born to the late Stein and Phyllis (Grim) Gropel, Jan. 25, 1942, in Marion South Dakota. His family moved to Ivanhoe, MN in 1946. Bill graduated from Ivanhoe High School in 1960. He married Florence (Guza) Gropel May 4, 1963. Bill and Florence met in kindergarten.
He graduated from IBM School and worked in Omaha before moving to Sioux Falls to join Western Surety’s IBM dept. He worked at Best Business products and Sioux City Brick and Tile and then joined the sales team for Minnesota Paint Co. He was promoted to Brand Manager at Valspar Paint Company in Minneapolis in 1977, where he worked for 21 years retiring in 1998.
Bill and Florence Gropel from around the 1980’s.
Bill had many talents and interests. He had a passion for music – and was an avid music collector of 45 records, and has collected thousands. He was a talented craftsmen and was always willing to help out on family projects from finishing a basement to painting a house. Bill could fix anything, and if it wasn’t broken, he could make it even better, always reinventing or finding new uses for things and would use many of the odds and ends he collected. He always had people smiling at his Ollie and Lena jokes and of course his puns.
Bill is survived by his wife Florence of 51 years. Three children: Lance Gropel of Maplewood, Lee (Jay) Gropel Swenson of Orono and Dawn (Dave) Condon of Orono. One brother Greg (Jane) Gropel. He also is survived by four grandchildren; Claire Condon, Paige Condon and Eli Gropel and Billy Swenson. Eight step-grandchildren: Jessica Condon, Sarah Swenson, Elisa Swenson, Minnie Swenson, Noah Swenson, Natalie Swenson, Jillie Swenson and Calvin Swenson. Two step great-grandchildren: Brooklynn Condon and Carter Condon.
He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Karey, and son Mark.
Bill pictured with his wife, three children (and spouses), eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.