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Howard Grom

Howard Grom, age 67, of Atwater, died unexpectedly, Tuesday, December 1, at his home in Atwater.

Per Howard's request, the family will hold a private celebration of his life and his friend, Rob, will bring him back to the Aleutian Islands to help him to his final resting place.

Howard William Grom was born August 14, 1948, in Monticello, Iowa, to Donald and Ruth (Clark) Grom. He was known as a hard worker, working on his family farm as a child. He joined the Marines at age 17 and served his country in three tours in Vietnam and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After his discharge from the Marines in 1978, he drove truck and then embarked on his new career as an Assistant Engineer for U.S. Steel, sailing the Great Lakes and then for Trident out of Washington to Alaska.

Howard enjoyed the outdoors. He enjoyed gardening, fishing, collecting guns, and telling stories. He loved sharing his interests with his children and grandchildren. He was married twice and divorced. Carol Grom and Linda McCallum remained part of his life, sharing his love of their children and grandchildren. His other love was his dogs. He had a limited need for many names; if it was a Pomeranian it was Pogo, or Brandy for a Cocker Spaniel, among other dogs. The current Pogo was his companion for the last 8 years and was always by his side.

Howard is survived by his children: Shannon (and Greg) Heldt of Rochester, Shane (and Eden) Grom of St. Cloud, Sabrina Grom of Lakefield, and Jason Grom of Atwater; five grandchildren: Avery Heldt, Tearza Brewer, Matthew Heldt, Arabella Grom, and Cordelia Grom; his mother, Ruth Grom of Rock Valley, IA, formerly of Spicer; his ex-wives, Carol and Linda; a brother, Phil (and Diane) Grom of Rock Valley, IA and their children; sister-in-law, Wanda and her children; his dog, Pogo; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Grom; a brother, Mike Grom; and Mike and Wanda's children, Sonja and Jeremiah Grom.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Howard Grom, please visit our flower store.


I was lucky to see Howard this summer at his granddaughter's (Tearza) graduation. It had been probably 15 years since I had last seen him. As tough as he tried to seem, my 6 year old daughter was immediately taken with him and his dog. I don't remember if this one is still a Pogo :) I was very impressed by his patience with her and got to have a few conversations with him myself. I have been friends with Sabrina for over 24 years and met him a few times, but that time impressed me the most. He will be missed and our hearts go out to the whole family as you lay him to rest. We love you!

Leah Nelson - December 03, 2015 at 04:29 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

thank you Shannon for your encouraging words and I love you to and I send you a hug and may God Bless you also it has been very hard for me to deal with uncle Howies passing on.

michelle janke - December 04, 2015 at 05:24 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

He loved you very much too ! Always wanted the best for you!

shannon heldt - December 03, 2015 at 11:12 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Hello I knew uncle Howie for many years and I will miss him dearly I was very close to him he got me through a messy divorce of my first marriage and he was their for me when I lost my kids because of my ex husband and having diabetes and he got me through my dads passing away and when my brother Jeremiah passed away last November he always gave me a shoulder to cry on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and it was great to know how much he cared about my dad and moms kids . uncle Howie Good bye for now and I love you very much .

Michelle Janke - December 03, 2015 at 08:22 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Michelle Janke is following this tribute.

December 03, 2015 at 08:27 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Where do I begin...First off this man has been a constant in my life for many many years! He saved my dad's life when dad was pinned in a bobcat on our farm during an evening when no one was around. Howie lived across the road and could hear my dad's cries for help. Howie got him out and drove him to the hospital! No one else would have found dad in the crucial period of time. Thank you Howie! After the farm life, I was able to work with Howie at Little Crow Trucking in Spicer. I got to talk with him on the phone while he was hauling loads around the U.S. I have been able to see his son, Jason grow into a fine young man that Howie is proud of. I hadn't seen Howie for a few years when he showed up at my work to visit! What a nice surprise that was as he was now living in the area! At one point in my life, myself and three other young ladies rented the basement apartment of Howie's mom's house in Spicer. I thought I was pretty cool living on Green Lake and thought I was pretty cool living on my own for the first time ever. Unfortunately it didn't last too long as I didn't seem to know how to deal with other girls (I never grew up with any sisters). I guess the universe did not revolve around me:) I shouldn't say this but I know Howie would get a kick out of this and for that reason I will say that yes, I did skinny dip at the lake when I lived at that apartment:) Now, I would call it chunky dunking rather than skinny dipping! And most recently enjoyed Howie living a few blocks from me. He gave me a printout of a picture about Dogs and going to Heaven. I will treasure that forever! He loved his dog! Dogs truly are man's best friend! Howie has experienced a life that no one else would even come close to imagining...THANK YOU Howie for serving our country! You deserve the highest honors for what you did for us! This is how it ends...death. BUT with Christ you live forever! Your in no more pain...thank you Jesus! Your spirit will live on in us as we remember and reflect! Peace...Robin

Robin - December 04, 2015 at 12:12 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Shannon and all your family, I send my deep sympathy on the loss of your father. May faith, family, and friends be a source of comfort and support. Take care, Nancy Larson

Nancy Larson - December 04, 2015 at 05:06 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Shane and Eden, we are so sorry for your loss. We learned a lot about your Dad by reading this obituary! What an interesting life he led ! We all owe him gratitude for serving our county , not one, but three tours of duty!! You should be so proud of your Dad, Shane! We know also by the things you have said that he loved the girls so much too, some people keep their love hidden but it is still there. We wish you peace in your hearts this holiday season knowing your Dad is at peace too.

Anne and Tommy Rhodes - December 05, 2015 at 12:29 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

My dad was a tough Marine on the exterior, but a guy who had a big heart and loved his family, children and grandchildren. There is not a person he would not help, but that part of him was not shared unless you were in need. I can not imagine my life without his stories, giggle, and smile.

shannon - December 05, 2015 at 05:47 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

4 files added to the album New Album Name

shannon - January 01, 2016 at 11:04 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM