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Published: Tuesday, 6/5/2001

Instructor had joy for people, reading

ARCHBOLD - Juanita M. DeGroff, who taught for more than 40 years in the Angola, Ind., school system and was an active member at her church in Stryker, died Saturday at the Fairlawn Haven Nursing Home here. She was 89.

Mrs. DeGroff was born near Hamilton, Ind. She received her bachelor's degree from Manchester College in Indiana and her master's degree from Eastern Michigan University. She taught elementary school for 44 years before retiring in 1976.

“She loved children,” said Doris Beck, a longtime friend of Mrs. DeGroff. “She enjoyed watching the process of them growing up to become productive citizens. She retired simply because she thought it was time, but she never lost her joy for it.”

The Rev. Nick Woodall, of Stryker United Brethren Church, said Mrs. DeGroff received great fulfillment as a teacher and through her involvement in the church. She was active in the women's missionary association.

“I really enjoyed her a great deal,” Mr. Woodall said. “When we talked, she made you feel important. I'd imagine that was the way she was with the kids she taught. She had that way to make you feel you were the most important person in the world during that conversation.”

Mrs. Beck said reading was one of Mrs. DeGroff's passions.

“She was very talkative and very happy,” Mrs. Beck said. “When I think about her, I think about how much she enjoyed people. I will remember her for her outgoing [personality] and cheerfulness.”

Mrs. DeGroff married Clark DeGroff in 1988. Mr. Woodall said Mrs. DeGroff and her husband enjoyed sitting on their porch and just being together. Mr. DeGroff died in 1995.

Mrs. DeGroff was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma.

She is survived by a stepson, Dee J. DeGroff; two step-grandsons, and four step-great-grandsons.

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. until noon today at Short Funeral Home, 500 North Defiance St., in Archbold. Services will begin at noon. Interment will be in the Lockport Cemetery near Stryker.

The family requests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.

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