Grace Evelyn Reitmeier
88 Years 8 Months 20 Days
September 25, 1916 - 2:30 June 15, 2005

Grace & Willard on Mom's 88th Birthday


We are confident in the Promise of Jesus Christ. 
(John 3:16)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Official Obituary

Grace Evelyn Reitmeier, 88, of Crookston, Minnesota, died Wednesday afternoon, June 15, 2005, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with her family at her bedside. Grace was born in Fosston, Minnesota on September 25, 1916, the daughter of Ole and Anna (Norgaard) Myklejord. She was baptized and confirmed in the Hope Lutheran Church, and was the Valedictorian of the Class of 1933 at Fosston High School. Grace attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota for a year and then enrolled at Bemidji State Teacher's College in Bemidji, Minnesota, receiving her teaching certificate in 1936.

She was a rural school teacher at Fosston for the next two years and then came to Crookston where she taught in rural schools for three years after that. On June 4, 1941 Grace was united in marriage to Willard W. Reitmeier at Hope Lutheran in Fosston. While Willard was away serving his country with the Army Air Force during WWII Grace lived in Fosston. She was employed in the offices of the Thirteen Towns newspaper in 1943 and then worked at the Gamble Store until 1945.

Upon Willard's return from the service the couple settled on their farm in Lowell Township, near Crookston, where she was a very active part of the life of the farm. They spent summers at Rocky Point on Lake of the Woods where the family enjoyed fishing and the social life that comes with lake living. Willard retired from farming in 1976, and from 1978 until 1991 he and Grace spent part of their winters in Arizona, California, Tennessee, and Texas. They were also able to enjoy bus trips to the Canadian Rockies, Washington D.C., and Florida.

Grace was a faithful member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church and a longtime Sunday School Teacher. She was also active in the Ladies Aid, and was a past president and secretary. Grace was a member of the Crookston American Legion and VFW Auxiliaries, the Homemakers' Club, and was a past vice-president of the PTA. She gave much of her time as a volunteer at the Polk County Museum, and in February of 2002 she and Willard were honored as Crookston's Experienced Americans of the Month. She enjoyed being a homemaker and gardener, and liked crocheting, painting pictures, doing puzzles, reading, and playing cards. Grace was devoted to her family and they will miss her dearly, as will her many relatives and friends.

She leaves to mourn her passing: her husband of sixty-four years, Willard; her son, John Reitmeier, of Crookston, MN; her daughter, Jane Reitmeier of Crookston; four Godchildren, Janice Beil of Bemidji, MN, Pat Schmidt of Minneapolis, MN, Connie Cooley of Crookston, and Gerald Reitmeier also of Crookston; many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, including Marvin and Aldores Reitmeier, Lloyd and Audrey Reitmeier, Erwin "Mike" Reitmeier, Millie Regeimbal, and Joyce Reitmeier, all of Crookston; as well as, many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Grace was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, Oscar Myklejord and his wife, Viola, Selmer Myklejord and his first wife, Esther, and second wife, Frances, and Albert and Harold Myklejord; a sister, Marie Flaten and her husband, Elmer; and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, including Edward and Lucille Reitmeier, Barbara Reitmeier, Ernest Reitmeier, Meda and Mike Buness, and Arnold Reitmeier.

The funeral service for Grace E. Reitmeier was held at 10:30AM, Monday, June 20, 2005, in Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Crookston with the Rev. Steve Bohler and the Rev. Scott Ramey, officiating. Visitation was at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Sunday from 5-7PM, with a 7PM prayer service, and also at the church for one hour before the funeral service. Interment was at the Oakdale Cemetery in Crookston.

We also would like to make note of the fact that Grace was a FIRST GENERATION AMERICAN!  Both her parents were immigrants from Norway.

We have so many people to thank, this list is only the beginning!
First of all during the period when we were doing our best to save my Mothers life and keep her with us:
The Ambulance crew.
The Emergency room crew at Riverview Hospital in Crookston.
The Doctors who first examined and treated Mom, including the emergency room Dr.,  The admitting Doctor, Dr. Bell, and the radiologist in Bemidji.
The nursing and support staff of the 3rd floor at Riverview Hospital.
Dr.'s Hanson and Olson and Bell.
The transfer staff who took us from Crookston to ALTRU hospital in Grand Forks.
The nursing and support staff on the 3rd Floor of Altru.
Then a transfer to the 6th floor where we thank the nursing and support staff on that floor.
Dr.'s Michael Kruger, Larry Halvorson and Neurosurgeon Daniel Schmelka who worked over many days to bring Mom back to good health and then helped us through those tough decisions.
The Chaplain Services and Chaplain Helen and Chaplain Sandi.  (just a note, if you're in a tough situation as a caregiver, CALL ON THE CHAPLAIN SERVICES!  Chaplain Sandi sat with me and Mom for six hours during Mom's last night and the support and comfort went a LONG WAY in giving me the confidence and strength to make some difficult decisions and call folks with some pretty sad news.  Thank you Chaplain Sandi!)
Some un-named Dr's. who spend a long time discussion the various options ahead of us on the overnight when the tough decisions were made!
The ministry staff of my Parents Church, Our Savior's Lutheran in Crookston, including Pastors Bohler and Ramey. And Pastor Ramey's wife and children who gave great joy to Mother with their singing.
The ministry staff of my Church, St. Paul's Lutheran in Crookston, including Pastor Reck.
My friends at Mount Saint Benedict in Crookston who prayed and kept us in their hearts through this time!
ALL THE FOLKS WHO OFFERED PRAYER's for Mom and our family!
The nurses, Dr's, and staff who helped us in those last hours of Mom's life.  They were there and close by, yet gave our family and Minister every support we needed to help Mom on her journey...including time after Mom's passing to start absorbing and accepting what had just happened!
Jim Bredman and John Gilstad from Stenshol Funeral home in Crookston who so carefully came to get Mother's remains and help us through the days that followed.  Their skill and support lifted great burdens off our families shoulders!  (as an aside, my folks had made most all the end of life decisions, leaving only the actual funeral program open for our input.  What a relief is was not having to face casket, financial, and gravesite details at that time.  I highly recommend you make such arrangements for your family!)
Thanks also to the volunteers of my parents church who prepared the dining room for lunch.
To the folks at RBJ's restuarant in Crookston who prepared the main dishes.
To all the women of the Church who made the cakes that tasted so good!
To Chuck Schumacher who came from Tennessee to Play Amazing Grace on his saxophone at the Funeral. 
To my Friends from the Valley Chordsmen in Grand Forks for singing at the Funeral.  Chuck, Mark, Mark, and Kevin.  Our families heartfelt thanks!
To Mark Deirs who sang at the Prayer Serivce.
Keyboardists Johanna Unke and Rob Conwell.
And to the Pallbearers who supported us and carried Mother's remains on that last day:
Brian and Kurt Flaten (Mom's grand-nephews)
Sterrin Mylkejord (Mom's grand-nephew)
Ronald, Leroy, Michael, Everett and Paul Reitmeier (Mom's nephews)
Chris Loch (the closest person  Mother ever got to having a Grand Son!)
And Brian Doris an extended relative and neighboring farmer.
* And here we have to put a special note.  So many of the family were with us moment by moment and running errands, and seeing to food and Dad's needs and we thank them all.  There's one person we have to single out as incredible!  Cousin JoAnn was with us in Mom's last hours and provided support and comfort to Jane, Dad, and me as well as holding Mom's hand throughout and helping us say goodbye!  Thankyou Cousin Joey!


Our Plans for the Memorial Money

1. Mom's brother Selmer Myklejord was a missionary to Africa in the 50's-60's and 70's.  In the village where he did most of his work there sits a church that he physically built!  Up to recently there were no pews in the church.   When Selmer passed away his daughters took $500.00 and purchased 10 pews WITH BACKS on them for the church.  In this (and many African churches) the men and women sit on separate sides of the church.  When Marilyn and Carolyn visited Africa this spring the were happy to see the 10 pews they purchased in place in the church, but ironically, they were on the "mens" side.  We have decided to also purchase 10 pews for the Church, but will be making the stipulation that they are for the "womens" side of the church!  We fell this will give much pleasure both to Mom's departed brother Selmer, and to Mother!

2. Cousin Susie and her husband run a "feed the children" type of program in Hatie.  We will be sending a check to further their work.
3. An LCD projector for Our Savior's Lutheran Church.

Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home
615 S Minnesota St
Crookston, MN 56716

Here's some of what happened  
First of all thank you all so very much for your comforting messages and support!  Each email that's been received has been gone over carefully and shared with all our family.  The phone calls and extremely welcome and uplifting and those that able to visit, THANKS SO MUCH!   Your prayers provided wonderful support! 

Saturday June 4, 2005 Mom & Dad's 64th wedding anniversary.   They shared breakfast together.

Saturday  10:30  Mom told Dad she had a bad headache and asked for an aspirin.  After a few minutes that didn't help so she went to a big chair to sit down and read the paper and wait it out.   After a few minutes she asked Dad for another aspirin.  As he was getting it she slumped over and started to loose consciousness.  When he got there with the water and aspirin she was reaching for the water glass about 2 feet away from where he was holding it.  At that point she became unconscious.   Dad called Jane and I.  Jane got there in a couple of minutes and called 911.  A passing policeman was there almost instantly.  When the ambulance got there and the EMT's assessed the situation they told Jane (who works at the hospital) to get right over to the ER and get the paperwork going to get her admitted ASAP!  That it was real serious.  On my way in I called Cousin JoAnn to get over there to see what was happening.   She was there when I arrived, helping Dad get dressed to go to the ER.   The ambulance was backed up  the drive and they were just rolling Mom into it when I arrived.

When we got to the hospital they did a cat scan and had extremely bad news!  The emergency room doctor AND the on call admitting Dr. both gave us the same news.  "Your Mother is going to die.  She has 48 hours maybe.  She has a big bleed in her skull which has smushed (their word) the right side of her brain and is now pushing across to the left side"  Later one of them gave a new expectation of 24 hours. They repeatedly told us, "YOUR MOTHER IS NOT GOING TO WAKE UP!"   They admitted her into the hospital and gave us the HOSPICE room that is a regular hospital room with an adjoining family room with a big couch, table chairs microwave TV even our own coffee pot.  A room designed for end of life family times.   Because of their findings we were giving Mom no Water- no Nutrition- no IV...nothing because we didn't want to do anything to interrupt her journey.  The Dr's checked in on us at various times and offered sympathy and comfort to Dad and us kids.  We convinced Dad that he needed to go home and get a good nights sleep, that we didn't feel anything big was going to happen overnight and so Jane and he went home to try to sleep.   I stayed the night trying to comfort Mom in any way that I could,  She was basically not with us at all but I did detect a bit of mumbling that seemed to be coming from her lips.  It seemed like a repetitious prayer.  Being the pragmatic guy I am I felt it was just a residual memory that was floating around in what was left of her brain. 

On Sunday Morning the admitting Dr.  Dr. B checked her all over, and did some physical tests.  The word was the same, but she ended our little discussion with.  "Well if your Mom starts moving her arms and her legs and looking around the room we'll change our course of action."  At that time it still seemed that she was not going to wake up and that it was indeed close to the end.  NOT 10 MINUTES LATER, her arm moved a good 45 degrees under the covers.  I was pretty excited.  I found that the Dr. was still in the hospital so got the nurses who got the Dr. down after her other visits.  By this time Mom was moving her legs a bit and her hand and sure seemed to be talking.  The Dr. asked her some questions and got some specific mono-syllabic responses.  We immediately started giving her IV fluids.  The Dr. said because of these changes they would start treating it like a stroke and start whatever therapies they could, etc.  Another CAT scan was called for.   This 2nd scan showed two things.  1. that the swelling was considerably smaller and 2. that it was not a bleed into the brain but instead outside of the brain but in side of the skull.   This meant that there was/is a chance for recovery on some level.  Through out the day many of the family who had come on Saturday nite feeling we were facing the end, returned to check in on us and we were all amazed.  By evening they actually had her sitting in a chair.

Since that time (it's now Wednesday at 6:30am) there has been a little improvement in all her functions.  Yesterday (when I was home sleeping) I'm told that she even cracked a few jokes.  She had been asking for water all day Tuesday but because she hasn't been successful in eating and swallowing, it's thickened and one spoon at a time.  

Mom had Brain Surgery on Thursday June 9 in Grand Forks.  Although she started to recover nicely, it was just too much for her frail body.   Often in the 11 days she made the comment that she wanted to go "home."  At first I thought she meant to their townhouse to again live with Dad, but as the days went on I believe more and more she wanted to go to her "Heavenly Home."  At 2:30  PM Wednesday June 15, 2005 88 years 8 months and 20 days after she was born, her wish came true!

Contact INFO:   John cell 218 280 2808   John's office/farm (pretty much manned 24 hours per day) 218 281 3276.  johnr (at) RRV (dot) net 

This is a photo of Mom and one of her God Children, Janice Reitmeier Beil taken at Dad's 90th birthday Party.