It’s a funny thing about life. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought you wanted them to, but instead they work out the way they were meant to.
Such is the case for Cascade resident Kevin Grogan. After graduating from St. Mary’s grade school in Cascade and Aquin High School, Grogan continued his schooling at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where he graduated in 1977 with a major in history and a minor in business. Grogan planned on becoming a teacher, but instead he left his footprints on a completely different career path.
“Shoe repair was a family business,” Grogan said. “I am a second-generation shoe repairman.” He is the son of Joe and LaVerne Grogan, and Joe owned and operated the Cascade Shoe and Harness Repair store.
His father retired around 1983 and Kevin took over the business as Cascade Shoe Repair, which was located in the back of Knepper’s Clothing (the old KC building). “The first year I ran it as a full-time business, but after the first year it turned into a part-time business,” said Grogan. “I supplemented my income by working at the Radio Shack in Dubuque.” He later became a manager and for the next seven years, worked at several Radio Shack stores in Iowa and Minnesota.
“There was a fellow Cascadian named Rodney Gavin who owned a shoe repair business in Dubuque,” Grogan recounted. “From him I became aware of a shoe repair business that was for sale. In 1976, I purchased the Shoe Hospital in Dubuque.”
He owned that business until 2000, competing against the one other such business in Dubuque. “I closed my shoe repair business to start Durable Medical Equipment under my shoe hospital name,” said Grogan. “I primarily provided diabetic shoes to Medicare patients, along with other medically related items. I temporarily fixed shoes until the new business took off and then only repaired shoes I sold.” He closed up shop in 2015 and worked at Rite Hite until retiring in 2019.
His large extended family in Cascade, and his father’s involvement in his church, the KC’s and as a founding member of the Cascade Sportsman Pond, all contributed to Grogan’s positive experiences with Cascade. “All of these things created a full and loving environment growing up, and also led me to come back to Cascade, where I was able to help my mother as she aged. I also met and married my wife.” He and Ann have been married for 33 years, and Kevin has two step-children, a daughter-in-law and four grandsons.
Being newly retired, Grogan says his free time is just that. “I take my time doing all that I do or don’t do,” he said. “I read books or work in my yard, a little at a time. Actually, retirement is still new to me and my wife, and with COVID-19 I’m still finding out what or how to do things.”
Grogan said there are few surprises to those who know him, as what you see is what you get. “My life has been an open book that people here in Cascade have seen pages of. I am a private person who likes the simple things in life.”
As examples, he sings in his church choir, is a dog-lover, and is the owner of what he describes as a “rather large” collection of comic books.
When asked how he’d most like to be remembered, Grogan’s response was simple. “I let my actions in life be the basis of people’s memories of me.”