Frances Gruwell


Mary Frances Loftin Gruwell died peacefully at her home in Castle Rock, Colorado on January 14, 2022 at the age of 94.

Frances is survived by three sons, Larry (Fran) Gruwell of LeClaire, IA, Denny (Mary) Gruwell of Gainesville, GA, Les (Roxanne) Gruwell of Litchfield, MN, and a daughter, Destria (Jeff) Bennis of Castle Rock, CO, nine grandchildren, several step grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, and several dearly loved nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband Leo Keith Gruwell, a beloved daughter in law, Jayne Barnhill Gruwell, a sister Carlynn L. Buice, and many other family and friends.

Frances was born on September 7, 1927 to Charles Leslie Loftin and Lottie Clara Willmon Loftin in Pecan Gap, Texas. She was raised by her grandparents, Thomas and Janie Willmon, and an aunt, Fannie Mae Muncy. Frances attended East Texas State Teachers College in Commerce TX. It was here she met her husband, Leo Keith Gruwell. They were married on November 3, 1946 and then made their home in Ottumwa, IA. While raising her family, Frances held several parttime jobs as well as helping to manage the family farm. She worked with the Ottumwa Public School System for many years, retiring in 1986. Frances was an active community volunteer and enjoyed spending time on the farm with her grandchildren. She was a Charter Member of Bethany Baptist Church in Ottumwa and faithfully served in numerous capacities including Sunday School Teacher, Youth Leader, White Cross Coordinator, and historian. Frances moved to Castle Rock, CO in 2016 to be close to family.

Burial will be at Shaul Cemetery in Ottumwa, IA with a family graveside service. A celebration of Frances’s life will be held at a later date. Contributions in her memory can be made to Agape Healthcare in Denver, CO who provided loving and compassionate care to her and her family.

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