Major Erickson Funeral Home
111 N Pennsylvania Ave
Mason City, IA 50401
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Arthur L. Gratias

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Arthur L. Gratias Obituary
Arthur L. Gratias

Mason City

Arthur L. Gratias (94) of Mason City, Iowa (formerly of Nora Springs, Ia) passed away on March 6, 2015 at his winter home in Tucson, Arizona. He was born to Hugo and Katharine Gratias on May 1, 1920 and raised on a farm outside Nora Springs, Iowa. Gratias served 8 years in the Iowa Senate and was a decorated World War II veteran, farmer, former school teacher, administrator, and school Board member. Gratias graduated from Rockford High School in 1937, Wartburg College in 1970, and received a Master degree in school administration from UNI in 1972.

He was drafted into the army January of 1942. He married his wife Alice on June 6th, 1943 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin one year before the D-Day invasion. From October 1943 to October 1945, Gratias participated overseas in Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe campaigns… and was engaged in both the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach and Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded in France on August 16, 1944 for which he received the purple heart. In recognition of his World War II service, he received the Legion of Honor medal from the French government. It is the highest honor bestowed on people who have made significant contributions to that country.

Republican Gratias was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1978 and served from 1979-1987. During his legislative tenure, he was Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. He also served on the State Board of Health for 8 years. As an educator, he was both a teacher and principal at Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock school district along with being a 23 year member of the Nora Springs school board.

Gratias has also received numerous other awards through-out his life for his volunteer and community service. He served as master of Masonic Harding Lodge #649, AARP Chapter #2054 President, Co-Chair of Mason City Economic Development Committee, Good Shepherd Board Member, Cerro Gordo Fair Board, Francis Lauer Youth Home Board, Distinguished Governor of Kiwanis for Nebraska/Iowa District, Opportunity Village Board, President of Mason City Senior Center, State Commander of American Legion, and has served as elder, trustee, deacon, and Sunday school teacher in his church.

Arthur is preceded in death by his parents and 7 brothers and sisters. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife Alice. There were married for 71 years and 9 months to the day. Art was a family man and was very proud of his sons Tom (LaDonna) of Clive, Ia, Jim (Connie) of Alexandria, Minnesota, and Doug (Val) of Bradenton, Florida. He was also delighted to see his 8 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, l great-great-grandchild, and sisiter-in-law Lu Brown.

Visitation shall be held at Major Ericson funeral home in Mason City, Iowa on April 12th from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. with a Masonic Service to follow at 7:00 p.m. Memorial services shall take place at Eden Presbyterian Church located in rural Rudd, Iowa on April 13th @11:00 a.m. A full military rights ceremony shall take place at graveside thereafter.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to Mason City Senior Center, Eden Presbyterian Church, or any other .

Published in Des Moines Register on Mar. 15, 2015
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