Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


March 28, 2014

Mary Ann Gruber

Mary Ann Gruber, age 83 of Knoxville, passed away at her daughters home in Knoxville on Saturday March 22, 2014.

Mary Ann was born Aug. 20, 1930, in Leighton, the daughter of Dannie and Lena (De Hamer) Sytsma. Mary Ann went to country school near Tracy and graduated from Knoxville High School.

After high school she worked at the Van Ginkel Egg & Produce Hatchery of Knoxville. At the hatchery Mary Ann met Peter Gruber and on Sept. 25, 1956, in Knoxville they were united in marriage. They were blessed with 56 years of marriage and four children; Danny, Dianne, Rosemary and Nancy.

Mary Ann was a homemaker, raising her family, for many years before she began to clean house around Knoxville. Later she became a certified CNA and worked at the local care centers in Knoxville. She retired from the West Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Mary Ann was a dedicated stay at home mom, raising her four children. She took a job at one of Knoxville’s nursing homes when her children were older. She worked as a certified nurse’s aide until she retired. After she retired Mary Ann and Peter spent many years selling produce and baked goods at the Knoxville Farmers’ Market. Together they enjoyed Christ’s Church and the special friends that they made there. Some of Mary Ann’s favorite pastimes were fishing, sewing, gardening, garage sales, time with friends at Coffee Connection and her Goodwill tours in Des Moines. After Peter passed away, Mary Ann moved to Prairie Village Apartments where she made many friends. She loved spending time with her children and grandchildren and all of her wonderful friends.

Mary Ann is survived by her children, Danny Gruber of Knoxville, Dianne Holst and husband Gary of Oskaloosa, Rosemary Simmons and husband Richard of Ankeny, and Nancy VanderVeer and husband Joe of Knoxville; eight grandchildren, Kristopher and Tommy Watson, Cole, Kallie and Devin Simmons, Stephanie, Craig and Bennett VanderVeer. Mary Ann is also survived by two sisters, Marjorie Vander Werff of Pella and Audrey Kennedy of Knoxville; and one brother Kenneth Sytsma of Knoxville. She was preceded by her parents, Dannie and Lena Sytsma; her husband, Peter Gruber; and one brother Leo Sytsma.

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