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Former State Rep. Barbara Gronemus Dies
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/20/2021

A longtime western Wisconsin lawmaker who became the first woman to chair the Assembly Committee on Agriculture has passed away. Barbara 'Bobby' Gronemus died Sunday at Grandview Care Center in Blair. She was 89.

The Whitehall Democrat was first elected to the State Assembly in 1982, representing the 91st district until her retirement in 2009. From 1987 to 1995, Barb served four consecutive terms as chair of the agriculture committee, and later became its ranking member.

She would often say she's proud to be a Farmer's Daughter, dedicating much of her time in public service to helping rural Wisconsinites. She was the lead author of the bill that led to the creation of Wisconsin's Livestock Premise Registration system; was among the first to back mandates requiring ethanol to be blended with gasoline; and fought against efforts to grant legal immunity to utilities from stray-voltage related lawsuits. In 2006, she pushed state officials to execute an executive emergency order to allow farmers to divert water from streams and rivers for agricultural use because of drought conditions.

Gronemus was honored by many groups for her dedication to farmers, including a VIP citation by the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service to Agriculture award in 2008. The following year, the Dairy Business Association presented her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Prior to serving in public office, Barb farmed with her husband, Lambert, and worked as a nursing home activities director. He died in 2005.

Funeral services for Bobby Gronemus will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, January 22 at St. John's Catholic Church in Whitehall. A visitation will be held at the church one hour prior to Mass.

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