Gail Noreen Groth (nee Bird), of Watertown passed away on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at the age of 56.
Born in Newark, New York, Gail grew up in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. She graduated from Brookfield Central and then from UW-Madison as an Occupational Therapist. Gail met her husband, David, at Calvary Lutheran Student Chapel in Madison, and the two very quickly fell in love and were married on February 6, 1988. Weeks later they moved to St. Louis, MO, where God blessed the marriage with three children. In St. Louis Gail worked as a Certified Hand Therapist at Barnes Hospital. As a therapist, Gail loved helping patients regain the use of their hands following traumatic injuries. During this time, Gail also received a master’s degree in Health Science from Washington University in St. Louis and published many peer-reviewed articles on topics related to hand therapy.
In 2001, the family moved to Watertown. While working part-time and raising a family, Gail also returned to UW-Madison and in 2010 was awarded a Ph.D. in Kinesiology. For a time, she was adjunct faculty at UW-Madison until she began working for UW Hospitals and Clinics as a rehabilitation manager for upper extremity injuries. As a manager, Gail loved hiring newly graduated therapists and helping them launch their careers. Over the course of her 32-year career, Gail impacted untold numbers of patients and coworkers with her skills, warmth and gentle faith. She also impacted the field of hand therapy with her research and creativity.
Gail had the gift of hospitality and opened her home to many. She had an uncanny way of cultivating loving relationships with people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds. Throughout her life, Gail had a deep and abiding faith in her Savior Jesus, and had an easy, comfortable way of witnessing to His love and grace. In many and various ways Gail was a bastion of support to her husband and his work as a pastor. Gail was an accomplished musician and gardener and delighted her family with croissants she learned to bake in Paris. Mostly, however, her husband and children will cherish her unshakable love, uncommon wisdom, and beautiful smile.
Gail leaves behind her husband, David, and three children: Emily, Stephanie and Jonathan, (and also a fourth AFS daughter, Sara Fernandez of Madrid). Gail also leaves her parents (Dick and Mary Bird), sisters, Susan, Martha and MaryAnn, and many other extended family and friends.
The family wishes to thank their church family at Good Shepherd, the people of Rainbow Hospice, Dr. Michael Eastman, her co-workers at UW Hospitals and Clinics, and many others who helped Gail live with cancer for over ten years. The family also wishes to thank Pederson-Nowatka Funeral Home for its service.
A memorial service will take place at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Watertown on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 11:00 am, with Rev. Leonard Payton presiding. Visitation at the church will begin prior to the service at 9:00 am. The committal will take place at Evergreen Cemetery in Helenville. Memorials may be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, to the American Hand Therapy Foundation;https:/donations/giving/, Rainbow Hospice, or to the charity of one’s choice.