Florence Schroeder, 91, resident of the Clarkfield Care Center, died at the Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital on February 17, 2012.
Funeral services were held at the Granite Falls Lutheran church on February 24 with visitation at the Wing-Bain Funeral Home on Thursday evening. Burial was in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Clara City.
Florence Agnes Schroeder was born on February 3, 1921, the oldest daughter of Agnes and John Tomes. She attended elementary school at St. Clara's Catholic School in Clara City, where she lived with the Sisters in the winter. She graduated from Sacred Heart Public School as valedictorian of her class in 1939, receiving 4-year scholarships from St. Catherine’s, the University of Minnesota, and two others, to help her fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. She attended nurses' training for her employment with the tuberculosis sanatorium along the river east of Granite Falls in 1940.
In 1942, she moved to California where she married Eilt "Bob" Schroeder. To this union, six children were born: Sandra, Kathleen, RoseMary, Leroy, Lynn, and Keith. After Bob came back from the War, they farmed near Maynard and North of Gluek. They moved to Sacred Heart in 1958. She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith in 1952, and taught Sunday School and Bible School for many years. At the age of 50, she moved to Brainerd where she received her nursing degree; she moved to Raymond shortly thereafter, after securing a position as a psychiatric technician at the Willmar State Hospital. After her retirement at the Hospital, she moved to apartment living in Granite Falls.
Her retirement was a busy one, fulfilling her dreams to travel, visiting again with siblings in Florida, as a chaperone on trips with developmentally delayed adults to such places as Branson, Missouri. Then she embarked to Russia with the Friendship Force, staying with a Russian family, and buying a Russian accordion and music. She also went to China where she left her clothes to be able to fill her suitcase with Princess Beanie Babies which were in short supply in the States, climbed the Great Wall, and saw the newly discovered Terracotta Army statues. She also travelled to Israel, visited the Wailing Wall, Jesus' tomb, and swam in the Dead Sea. During her trip to Egypt, the highlights were visiting the Pyramids and riding a camel. Now well into her 70s, she devoted her time to sewing quilts for family, lap robes for Veterans, baby quilts for Gillette Children's Hospital and hundreds of quilt tops. She collected thousands of aluminum cans with the proceeds going to an orphanage in Africa.
Her passion for staying in good health continued with daily walks, originally aiming for 10,000 steps per day, and then down to 5,000 steps. She continued her regimen in the nursing home, too. Along her journey, she taught herself to play the accordion, and formed a band that played at nursing homes "for the old people", and professionally at retail venues. She was also a published poet and non-fiction writer, crafter, artist, and active in the American Legion Auxiliary where she received many top awards for her volunteerism.
Her devotion to her Christian faith gave her strength for the many, many challenges during her life, especially when her toddler son Leroy died, and throughout her husband's struggles with alcoholism.
Florence is survived by her children; son-in-law Scott Kiesling (Lynn); grandchildren Dawn, Eric, Ivan and Wayne Odegard, Roger and Justin Skrukrud, and Adam Kiesling; 18 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren; two brothers, Ervin from Clara City, and Ernie from Florida, and one sister, Irene Peterson from Sacred Heart; many nieces and nephews; and many friends and family who have continued their kindness and graciousness to her children.
She was predeceased by her son Leroy; her parents; brothers Herbie and Joe; and sisters Maryanne and Marty.
Wing-Bain Funeral Home of Granite Falls was in charge of arrangements. Please sign the online guestbook at www.wingbain.com