Donald R. Groenleer, 70, Rochester, passed away at 2:57 a.m. Sunday, March 3, 2019, at his residence.
He was born on Sept. 1, 1948, in Grand Rapids, Mich. the son of George and Dorothy (Palma) Groenleer. He graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School in 1966, where he was an accomplished swimmer, winning all-city honors three times and becoming Michigan State Champ in the butterfly. After high school he attended and graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a bachelors degree in accounting. On Sept. 6, 1975, at the Kanley Chapel of Western Michigan University, he married Lynn Ann Hillman and she survives.
He started his professional career as a Certified Public Accountant with Cooper & Lybrand Consulting. While living in Niles, Mich. he served as President for the Jaycees and served on the Board of Directors for the Niles- Buchanan Y.M.C.A. In 1979, Don and his family moved to Rochester, where he began his banking career with First Federal Savings Bank. He has served as Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Treasurer of First Federal Savings Bank since 1985. He also served as Executive Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Director of American Midwest Financial Corporation since its inception in 1995.
Mr. Groenleer dedicated his life to community service. He was the recipient of the Rochester/Lake Manitou Chamber of Commerce 2011 Community Service Award. He has worked with the youth as a coach for the Rochester Royals swim team, was an active member and President of the Riddle Association of Parents and was an educator in Junior Achievement. He was an adjunct professor of both IVY Tech Community College and Ancilla Domini College, currently serving on the Board of Directors at Ancilla. He had been a member of the Rochester Optimist Club, Indiana Bankers Association, president of the Fulton County Library, appointed to the Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau Board. He was the President of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, often lending his voice to the Valentine’s Day radio fundraising program. He served for ten years on the Fulton County Community Foundation Board, and the Northern Indiana Community Foundation Board. Don had also served on the Board of Directors for the Rochester/Lake Manitou Chamber of Commerce. He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Governor Robert Orr in 1988.
He was a member of First Baptist Church, Rochester, where he had served as a Sunday school teacher for over twenty years and attended the Evergreen Covenant Church, in Branch, Mich., where he was recently elected treasurer. He enjoyed cooking, often teaching cooking classes from his home as well as performing magic tricks for parties and friends. Known for his wit and humor, he was often asked to perform master of ceremonies duties for various functions, he especially enjoyed hosting First Federal Savings Bank annual Christmas party.
His greatest joy in life was his time spent with his granddaughters.
Survivors include his wife, Lynn Groenleer, Rochester; son, Nicholas (Kae) Groenleer, Grand Rapids, Mich.; granddaughters: Gillian Groenleer and Natalie Groenleer, both of Grand Rapids, Mich.; brother, Alan and wife Linda Groenleer, Spring Lake, Mich.; sister, Doris and husband John Post, Aurora, Ill.; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and mother and father-in law, Doris and Lyle Hillman.
A church service in Don’s memory will be conducted at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 9, at the First Baptist Church, Rochester. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Friday, March 8, at Zimmerman Bros. Funeral Home, Rochester.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Rochester Community Schools Academic Fund through the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, Rochester/Fulton County Public Library or the First Baptist Church.