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Obituary for Sigrid Gronning

Sigrid Gronning, age 79, of Northfield, passed away Saturday, May 9, 2020, at Kenyon Sunset Home of natural causes following long-term Parkinson’s Disease and a series of strokes. Sigrid was born the daughter of Wilhelm and Elfriede (Harwart) Stephan on January 10, 1941, in the city-state of Danzig, Germany – now Gdańsk, Poland. Following World War II, she, her parents, and younger brother found themselves in a British occupation zone in Büsum, Germany, an area on the North Sea. There, as a family, they occupied a modest single bedroom in a farmhouse for four years. They later settled in Stuttgart, […]

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Sigrid Gronning, age 79, of Northfield, passed away Saturday, May 9, 2020, at Kenyon Sunset Home of natural causes following long-term Parkinson’s Disease and a series of strokes.

Sigrid was born the daughter of Wilhelm and Elfriede (Harwart) Stephan on January 10, 1941, in the city-state of Danzig, Germany – now Gdańsk, Poland. Following World War II, she, her parents, and younger brother found themselves in a British occupation zone in Büsum, Germany, an area on the North Sea. There, as a family, they occupied a modest single bedroom in a farmhouse for four years. They later settled in Stuttgart, in Southern Germany.

In her late-adolescence Sigrid felt compelled to leave Germany out of remorse for her country’s horrors committed during the war and to address her emerging Christian beliefs. Sigrid left on an ocean-liner for America in June of 1962. She worked in Racine, Wisconsin, and met her future husband, Richard Gronning, in a Lutheran church there. They married in 1963.

Sigrid and Richard enjoyed many years of travel, starting in Abilene, Texas on an Air Force base where Richard flew cargo planes. There she had a tight-knit group of friends from all over the world. She and Richard later visited Thailand, Japan, Costa Rica, and France, among many other places. They had no end of stories, from eating mussels as newlyweds in Brittany to walking through the Springtime parks of Narita, Japan. As Richard delivered the mesmerizing, mirthful anecdotes, Sigrid served as the occasional fact-checker with a smile on her face.

Sigrid was an ardent book-lover, and even completed a formal apprenticeship in a publishing house before emigrating from Germany. She could usually be found at home, mid-article or book in hand, and a glass of lemonade and black bread thick with butter and brie. She instilled in her children a love of reading. She could converse on any topic and connected warmly with just about everyone she met, always leaving an impression. She will, in fact, most be remembered for this all-encompassing kindness and conscience, with a deep foundation in her Christian faith.

She had a diverse taste in the arts, reveling in pop culture as well as canonical works of art. She a was master of the “quip”; after a celebratory feast she liked to remark “anyone can cook, but not everyone can clean.” Those who were lucky enough to know her well were also treated to her sharp sense of humor and intellect. She loved The Blues Brothers as much as Thackeray. Sigrid also found much joy and meaning in helping and caring for others. She was generous to a fault and dedicated substantial time and funds to causes and people she supported including churches, Native American colleges and outreach programs, and children around the world in need.

She spent much of her later life in Northfield, with friendly neighbors on Plum Street where she helped raise her three kids and later near Dundas, where she focused on her faith while concurrently doting on and worrying about her family, lavishing extra care toward her grandchild, Siri Rafaela.

Sigrid is survived by her sons Dan (Maria) of San Antonio, TX, Ari of Loveland, CO, daughter Bettina (Sawad) of Brooklyn, NY; granddaughter Siri; and brother Frank (Renate) Stephan of Stuttgart, Germany. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard (2019); daughter-in-law, Sun Wells-Gronning (2018); mother Elfriede (2001), and father Wilhelm (1951).

A memorial service will be held Thursday, July 23 at 10:30 a.m. at Bierman Funeral Home. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Bierman Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. Arrangements by Bierman Funeral Home and Crematory. biermanfuneralhome.com.

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Funeral

10:30 AM - July 23, 2020


Visitation One Hour Before Service
Bierman Funeral Home
1316 Division St S Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

Visitation

4:00 PM - July 22, 2020 - 7:00 PM

Bierman Funeral Home
1316 Division St S Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

Burial

Burial

Fort Snelling National Cemetery
7601 34th Ave S Minneapolis, 55450 Get Directions

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