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Ivan's Story

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ATKINSON, NH - Ivan Merle Grotenhuis, 85, passed away peacefully March 3, 2018, at home with his wife Gwen by his side. Ivan was blessed to live a long and extraordinary life and his passing will be felt by many.
Ivan was born March 14, 1932, in Albert Lea, Minnesota, son of the late Marion (Spike) and Ida (Enstad) Grotenhuis. He attended Albert Lea High School where he excelled academically, and served as president of the student council. Upon graduation, Ivan joined the Army and was stationed in Germany for three years.
Ivan received a B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Minnesota and a M.S. in Radiological Physics from the University of Rochester. After graduation, Ivan taught Physics at Minnesota State and established the college's first Nuclear Physics program. After three years in academia, Ian left to pursue a career in nuclear pharmaceuticals at 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota. While at 3M, Ivan developed radioactive pharmaceuticals, receiving three U.S. patents and a national award. In 1956 he met and married Gwen Chafee and they had four children, son Neal, daughter Sue, daughter Pamela, and son Dirk. In 1973, Ivan accepted a position with New England Nuclear in Billerica, Massachusetts, and bought an old farmhouse in Atkinson, New Hampshire. When he retired, Ivan and Gwen bought a second home on Lake Clitherall near Battle Lake, Minnesota. The lake house became a haven to enjoy frequent visits from family and friends, and spend peaceful days listening to the loons. For them, the lake house was an infinitely special place, where endless memories were made and where Ivan felt truly at home.
Ivan could build anything, fix anything and was extremely generous with his talents. When Gwen needed a table to fit the whole family for Thanksgiving, Ivan built it. When the Atkinson Congregational Church needed a new cross to hang behind the altar, Ivan built it. Whenever anyone needed anything, Ivan was there. While his mind was that of a brilliant scientist, his hands were those of a carpenter, rough and capable.
He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Gwen; his sons Neal and Dirk; daughters Sue and Pam; brothers Paul and Steve; six grandsons; four granddaughters; and two great-granddaughters. He is predeceased by his parents Spike and Ida (Enstad) Grotenhuisl twin sister Ila (Grotenhuis) Buss; and granddaughter Lara Grotenhuis.
Friends and relatives are invited to attend a memorial service to be held Saturday, March 17, at 11 a.m. at the Atkinson Congregational Church, Atkinson, N.H., followed by a reception immediately afterward in the church hall. There will be a private interment at a later date.
In lieu of flowers or donations, we ask that you take a moment to hug your loved ones, listen to the loons, and appreciate the miracles of life, big and small.
Published on March 10, 2018
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