Melissa D. (Voshell) Grooters, 49, of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, passed away peacefully on September 6, 2023, surrounded by family at Taylor House after a brave and courageous three-year fight with cancer.
Born April 27, 1974, in Des Moines, Melissa attended Lincoln High School, and graduated with the class of 1992.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1996. Melissa married Ross Grooters in March of 1998, and their daughter Aurora completed their family in 2006.
Melissa worked for more than a decade at CDS Global before becoming the bookkeeper and "Office Mother" at lowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a statewide non-profit focused on grass roots issues and positive policy change.
Among her many interests, Melissa loved taking pictures of her family and friends. She compiled these photos into books and gave them as cherished gifts. She valued holiday time with family and had a special place in her heart for cats. Ivan, Sasha, Bonkers, Snowflake, Phoebe, and Sebastian were all lucky to have Melissa as their human.
When Aurora got involved with Class Act Productions, a children's theatre in Altoona, Melissa jumped in to volunteer and truly found her calling. She took great pleasure and pride in volunteering her time and talents at CAP, serving several terms on the board, including as President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Over the past ten years, she also held titles of Director, Assistant Director/Stage Manager, Set Builder/Painter, Concessions, Usher, Backstage Parent, Committee Chair, Mentor, and her most treasured title: Proud Parent.
Melissa's passions favored artistic and creative endeavors: books, movies, music, LEGO, Renaissance Faires, and comedy/improv shows. She cherished attending touring Broadway shows and shows at other local community theaters, always supporting Aurora and her friends as they appeared in other productions in the area. She adored working with young actors and inspired many students to be bold and brave in life as well as onstage.
Melissa made friends easily, and accepted everyone for who they were. Even during her battle with health issues and a global pandemic, she made concentrated efforts to spend time with those she loved. She hosted Dungeons & Dragons nights, Movie Marathons, and many other fun nights for Aurora and her friends over the years. Melissa also loved to read and organized an informal book club with a few close friends.
She is survived by her husband Ross, daughter Aurora, mother Carol St. John, father Terry (Joann) Voshell, brother Shane (Angelica) Voshell, maternal grandmother Denise St. John, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The many friends she cultivated in the local theatre community will miss her impact, creativity, humor, smile, adherence to the rules, encouraging support, and her calm and logical ability to put everyone at ease, even in the midst of chaos. While our minds attempt to find comfort in the fact that Melissa is no longer in pain, our hearts know her passing leaves a vacancy only she could fill.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life on Saturday, December 2, 2023, from 2 - 5pm at CAP Theatre, 201 1st Avenue S. Altoona, Iowa 50009. There will be a few of Melissa's favorite refreshments, you can help select which type of tree to plant in her honor, and there will be time set aside to share any memories or stories you would like to share with her family. In lieu of flowers, her family has asked to have donation memorials directed to CAP Theatre to establish an endowment fund in Melissa's name to help cover the participation costs for actors in need so that more students will be able to be involved with theatre in the future.