By Tim Krohn
---- — MANKATO — Like most of the 12 DeGrood kids, Joe DeGrood worked at his dad's appliance store during high school.
"We all did a stint when we needed some extra money," said his brother John DeGrood.
But Joe, along with brother Steve, became more active in the store after high school and in 1995 bought the business from their dad, John, who had started DeGrood's Appliance on Front Street in 1952. In 2005, the brothers moved DeGrood's Home Store to a new building on St. Andrews Drive, near Drummers Garden Center and Floral.
Joe DeGgrood, who was diagnosed with esophagus cancer in 2012, died Monday morning at age 56. He had undergone surgery in late 2012 and the cancer was in remission until reappearing in September of last year.
"I saw him last week and he was very much at peace," said his brother-in-law Lee Carlstrom. "He was a great guy, a good father and grandfather."
John DeGrood said his brother's personality worked well in the retail world.
"He was very easygoing. I don't think he had an enemy in the world. He was very kind and patient with people and loved his kids and grandkids."
Joe DeGrood was an accomplished downhill skier, competing in the Mount Kato seniors league until recently, and was passionate about fishing, golf and motorcycle trips.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Kay, and five children and step-children.