Cover photo for Forrest "Woody" Joel Grugan's Obituary
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1945 Forrest "Woody" 2020

Forrest "Woody" Joel Grugan

December 29, 1945 — June 1, 2020

Forrest “Woody” Joel Grugan, the son of Bertrum “Bud” C. and Joyce (Smith) Grugan, was born on December 29, 1945 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and died peacefully in his home on June 1, 2020 after a long battle with leukemia, at the age of 74 years, 6 months, and 2 days.

Forrest was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran Church while living in Pennsylvania. Growing up, he and his family moved frequently, which allowed him to see many areas of the country – creating a love for adventure and travel he would carry through his entire life. He attended school at the Loyalsock Junior and Senior High School in Loyalsock, Pennsylvania, graduating with the Class of 1964.

Within months of graduation, Forrest enlisted in the U.S Army on June 19, 1964, receiving his basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. Not long after completing basic training, Forrest was deployed to Vietnam, where he served for one year in a ground infantry unit. Upon returning home, he helped train troops for personnel carriers. Forrest was extremely proud to have stood in the honor guard at Arlington National Cemetery, where he assisted with burials, stood guard, and marched at John F. Kennedy’s grave. In fact, he even served as President security at the Presidential Inaugural Ball for Lyndon B. Johnson. Being a patriotic man, these were significant honors for Forrest. He was honorably discharged on June 16, 1967, after three years of service.

Forrest held a variety of jobs that allowed him to see more of the country, including being a bank loan officer in Virginia. In the early 1970s, he moved to Colorado where he drove truck, Trailways bus nationwide, and RTD city bus. Forrest worked for Century 21 All Services, Inc. for five years buying and selling real estate and rental properties. One day Forrest stopped in a park in Golden, Colorado to do some paperwork for his job and spotted a picnic table with a lovely girl sitting alone. Forrest asked if he could share her picnic table and the rest is history. He and Eunice Hansen traveled back to Exira, Iowa, to be married on June 16, 1977 at the Exira Lutheran Church.

Forrest and Eunice lived in Colorado until 1985 when they moved to northern California, near Sacramento, where he continued driving bus for the city. Then he started working at McClellan Air Force Base as a civilian material expediter in the Department of Defense. During this time, the family moved to Roseville. California, where on July 13, 1988, their son Bradford was born. Forrest and Brad enjoyed a very special, close relationship. Brad was his pride and joy his entire life. They loved spending time outdoors at their mountain home in Forest Hill, California and later enjoyed hikes along the creek after moving to Rockland, California.

Forrest enjoyed a lifelong love of reading and learning – a perpetual student. He was always taking night classes while working full-time, and eventually he earned three years’ worth of college credit. He went on to earn an Associate of Arts from American River College in 1991 and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree from California State University in 1997. After teaching in California for one year, Forrest and Eunice moved to Iowa in 2000, he obtained his Iowa Teachers’ License and began teaching 7th grade science in Atlantic in August 2000. He was known for not just teaching the required subjects, but also teaching the ways of the world through his life stories. Many former students would talk about how he inspired them to be a teacher or go into a science career. As his son Brad said, he always gave good advice but allowed people to make their own decisions. Forrest never had a negative thing to say about anyone. He was always positive.

Forrest and Eunice bought their home in Brayton, Iowa in 2001 where he resided until his death. Following his “first” retirement from teaching in 2009, Forrest continued working as a truck driver for several companies over the years, and frequently substitute taught for all grades in Atlantic and Exira-Elk Horn school districts, which he continued until his health required him to retire for good.

Forrest also loved sports, especially the Boston Celtics and the Denver Broncos. The Little League Baseball World Series, played each summer in his hometown of Williamsport, held a special place in his heart. He loved learning, reading, and watching television especially Fox News. Forrest very much enjoyed fishing and boating. His adventurous spirit shown through when traveling and exploring, always asking “Can we go over just one more hill, one more hill and see what’s there?”

Preceding Forrest in death were his parents: Bertrum and Joyce Grugan; his sister, Gwen Eck; his parents-in-law, Darlene and Russell Hansen; and his brother-in-law, Richard Lee Hansen.

Survivors include his wife, Eunice Grugan of Brayton; his son, Bradford Grugan of Newell, Iowa; his siblings: Priscilla Grugan-Hall of Williamsport; Kirk Grugan of Muncy, Pennsylvania; and Farren “Joe” Grugan of Center Point, Alabama; his brothers- and sisters-in-law: Janet and husband Paul David Blumenstein of Conifer, Colorado; Lois Vargas of North Platte, Nebraska; Patti and husband Jim Frederiksen of Atlantic, Iowa; and Claire Hansen of Lakeville, MN; as well as many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

A graveside service will be held at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery on Monday, June 15, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. with Pastor Alan Seehusen presiding. Military honors will be provided by the Van Meter American Legion, Post #403 with the Army flag detail provided by Camp Dodge. A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held July 11, 2020, at 11:00 A.M. at the Bethany Evangelical Free Church, 2144 310th Stree,t in rural Brayton, Iowa.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, June 15, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at a later date.

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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Bethany Evangelical Free Church

2144 310th Street, Brayton, IA 50042

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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