Heroes, Heritage, and History

Rosario “IO” GroleauAge: 88 years19202008

Name
Rosario “IO” Groleau
Nickname
IO
Birth February 5, 1920
Census April 14, 1930 (Age 10 years)
Address: U.S. 2 St. Jacques, MI
Occupation
woodsman and construction worker
yes

Death March 4, 2008 (Age 88 years)
Burial March 8, 2008 (4 days after death)

Rosario H. (Io) Groleau, 1920-2008

Escanaba Daily Press, March 8, 2008

ST. JACQUES — Rosario H. (Io) Groleau, of 10570 N. Main St., Rapid River, died Tuesday morning, March 4, 2008, at his daughter’s residence in St.  Jacques surrounded by his loving family.  He was 88.

Rosario was born Feb. 5, 1920, in St. Jacques, the son of Omer and Florestine (Sabourin) Groleau.

Rosario was united in marriage to the former Myrtle Pomeroy on March 22, 1941, in Hazel Park, Mich.

Rosario honored his country by serving in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945 where he served with the 9th Armored Infantry Division in the European Theater in France and Germany.  He earned many awards including the Bronze Star for valor.

His working career encompassed many different jobs including a steel mill in Detroit, woodsman, Bay De Noc Lumber Company, construction work as a member of Local 324 Operating Engineers, and the KI Sawyer Air Force Base heating plant.  He retired from Pomeroy Forest Products in 1985.

Io was a member of the Walter W. Cole Post 301 of Rapid River, St. Andrew Parish in Nahma, until moving to Rapid River where he was a member of the St. Charles Borromeo Church for the past year.  Io called St. Jacques his home nearly all his life.

He was an avid outdoorsman and loved woodworking, gardening, nature, and his family.  He also enjoyed making maple syrup in the spring, just the exact way he was taught by his father.  He was a man of strong faith and led an exemplary life in his Christian community.  He was active in the Cursillo movement and loved to spend time at the Marygrove Retreat Center in Garden.  He also loved singing and entertaining with his guitar.

He was a member of St. Andrew’s Choir for many years.

In addition to his wife, the former Donella (Johnson) Ross, who he was united in marriage to on Jan. 14, 1995, survivors include: his son, Rodney (Yvonne) Groleau of St. Jacques; daughters, Connie (Bill) Hardwick of St. Jacques, and Myrna Sonsalla of Richfield, Minn.; stepson, Robert (Melodie) Ross of Portland, Ore.; stepdaughters, Pam (Terry) Strom of Clinton, Wis.  and Kathy Miller of Janesville, Wis.; son-in-law, Richard Segerstrom of St. Jacques; brothers, Gerald (Lorraine Thorin) Groleau of Gladstone, Gary (Sandy) Groleau of Gladstone, and R. Wade (Marlene) Groleau of St. Jacques; sisters, Rita LaBumbard of Escanaba, Rosalyn Plas of St. Jacques and Anita (Edward) Lamberg of Ensign; brother-in-law, Randy Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz.; sisters-in-law, Roberta Johnston of Rockford, Ill., and Diane (Norbert) Russell of Rockford, Ill.; 17 grandchildren; three step grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren; eight step-great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Io was preceded in death by his first wife of 51 years, Myrtle; daughter, Judy Segerstrom; brothers, Rudolph, Edward, Emil and Leo; sisters, Leila Moser, Irene Clement, and Loretta Pomeroy; and stepson, Michael Ross.

Rosario’s family will receive friends on Friday from 4 to 6:45 p.m. at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone.  Rapid River American Legion military rites will follow at 6:45 p.m.  A vigil service will follow at 7 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial services celebrating the life of Rosario H. (Io) Groleau will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the St. Andrew Catholic Church in Nahma with Rev. Fr. Tim Ekaitis and Deacon Rod Groleau officiating.  Luncheon will follow services at the Nahma Township Hall.

Burial is in the New Garden Cemetery.

Groleau is February’s Veteran of the Month

By Dorothy McKnight, Escanaba Daily Press, February 4, 2012

RAPID RIVER - World War II veteran, Rosario H. Groleau, will be honored during a Veteran of the Month ceremony Tuesday at the Walter W. Cole American Legion Post 301 of Rapid River.

Patterned after a national program established by the American Legion, a new Veteran of the Month is honored each month in a formal service at the Legion.  The program will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Born in St. Jacques on Feb. 5, 1920, Groleau was the son of Omer and Florestine (Sabourin) Groleau.  He attended school in St. Jacques and graduated from the eighth grade.

Groleau married the former Myrtle W. Pomeroy of St. Jacques on March 22, 1941.  He was employed as a lumberjack.

PFC Groleau entered military service on Jan.  22, 1944, and served with the Army's 9th Armored Infantry Division in the European Theater.  After serving as a sharpshooter and interpreter in Central Europe (France, Ardennes, and Rhinelander), he was honorably discharged on Jan. 2, 1946, at Fort Sheridan, Ill.

For his military service, Groleau was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge; Victory Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern (EAME) Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars; two Overseas Service Bars; and the Good Conduct Medal.

While Groleau served in the Army during World War II, four of his brothers, Edward, Emil, Gerald and Leo, also served simultaneously in various parts of the world.

Returning to Delta County after his discharge, Groleau worked for Pomeroy Forest Products and Snowden Inc. for 40 years until his retirement.  He was a member of St. Andrew's Parish in Nahma, Walter W. Cole American Legion Post 301 in Rapid River, Holy Name Society, and Local 324 Operating Engineers.

After his wife, Myrtle, died on Nov. 6, 1992, Groleau married Donella (LeBumbard) Ross on Jan. 12, 1994.  At the age of 88, Groleau died March 4, 2008, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Connie and William Hardwick, in St. Jacques.  He is buried in the New Garden Cemetery.

In addition to his second wife, Donella, and his daughter, Connie, the veteran is survived by one other daughter, Myrna Sonsalla, as well as a son, Rodney (Yvonne) Groleau.  Another daughter, Judy (Richard) Segerstrom, preceded her father in death on Sept. 7, 2002.