In Memoriam: David Groethe

In memoriam: David Groethe, former FFRF Chair

1926 – 2016

Freethought Today is very sad to report that David Groethe, 90, who was chair of FFRF’s Executive Board for more than two decades, died of cancer on March 30 at his home in Pine Island, Minn.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, also a longtime FFRF member and former FFRF state representative. David and Mary were very early members, joining FFRF in 1978, the year it went national. David retired from the board in 2013.

Born on Jan. 1, 1926, in Rapid City, S.D., David studied for two years at Black Hills State, then had a diverse career, most recently running a photo finishing lab in Sioux Falls, S.D. The couple remained active and traveled around the country in retirement.

He and Mary married on Feb. 5, 1971, a second marriage for both. They had six children or stepchildren, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren between them.

“He loved FFRF. It was a big part of his life,” Mary told FFRF. “Religion was one of the things that always bothered him. He needed the scientific method, not a belief system.”

David and Mary were cheerful fixtures at annual FFRF conventions for three decades, often volunteering to staff FFRF book tables. David and Mary attended one convention with custom-made caps embroidered with “Out of the Closet Atheist.” The caps were so popular that FFRF asked permission to use the idea for its sales catalog, where they are a staple.

“We’ll miss David’s enthusiasm, his chuckle and his practical good sense,” said Dan Barker, FFRF co-president.

Freedom From Religion Foundation