Cover photo for James Gronau's Obituary
James Gronau Profile Photo
1941 James 2023

James Gronau

March 30, 1941 — May 17, 2023



James (Jim) Donald Gronau of Newton, Kansas passed away peacefully on May 17, 2023 at Halstead Health & Rehab in Halstead, Kansas at the age of 82.  James was born on March 30, 1941 in Newton, Kansas to A.M. and Agnes (Endres) Gronau.

He attended Newton High School where he met and courted the love of his life, Dennes (Dennie) Rae Grant.  They were married June 18, 1960 in Newton, Kansas for 63 wonderful, exciting, sometimes crazy years.


 A lifelong resident of Newton, Jim owned and operated various businesses in the area prior to retirement, including:  Gronau Lumber & Welding where he designed and produced cattle and hog equipment, and ran one of the few sawmills in the state.  Big Jim’s BBQ, where Jim affectionately earned the moniker “Big Jim” and a legion of customers and BBQ fanatics who would follow him anywhere to get his world-class BBQ.  Jim was also known for his antique “creations” that were displayed in the many antique mall booths they operated.  Jim had the ability to take an old, broken, throw-away object and turn it into a sought-after work of art.

Survivors include wife Dennie of Newton.  Children - Gary Gronau (Sheri) of Newton; Larry Gronau (Brenda) of Newton; Geri Schroeder (Mark) of Walton.  Grandchildren – Ashley Campbell (Shane), Cody Gronau (Jessica), Erica Stevens (Wade), Chelsea Mikulecky (Brian), and 7 great grandchildren.  Sisters Jeanie Senn and Rita Gronau, sisters-in-law Nancy Gronau and Carol Grant, brothers-in-law Joe Jessee and Bill Grant.  Several nieces and nephews.


Jim was preceded in death by his parents, son Cary Gronau, brother Robert Gronau, sister Susan Gronau, brothers-in-law Jim Senn and Jon Grant, sisters-in-law Leslie Jessee and Shari Grant.

A gathering and visitation will be 5 p.m to 9 p.m. Friday June 16th at Petersen Funeral Home. A private family inurnment will be in St. Mary Cemetery in Newton.  Memorials in Jim’s memory have been suggested to Good Shepherd Hospice and may be left with or mailed to the funeral home.  Online condolences may be left at:  Services entrusted to Petersen Family Funeral Home, 215 N. Main, Newton, Kansas 67114.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Gronau, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Private Service

St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery

1000 E 1st St, Newton, KS 67114


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Friday, June 16, 2023

5:00 - 9:00 pm (Central time)

Petersen Family Funeral Home

215 N Main St, Newton, KS 67114

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