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Ella Elsie Viola Graupmann

Ella Graupmann, age 71, of Plato, entered her eternal rest at her residence at the age of 71 years, seven months, and 16 days, after being afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

Ella Elsie Viola (Benkowski) Graupmann was born the daughter of Ewald and August (Klaustermeier) Benkowski March 26, 1931, in Bergen Township, McLeod County.

She was baptized into the Christian faith at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie by the Rev. J. A. Schert. She spent her early childhood on her parent's farm west of Lester Prairie. One of her memories of those days is a chore that she enjoyed. She was in charge of cleaning up the yard of chicken feathers, so to keep the yard neat for visitors.

She and her sisters would walk the two miles to school in Lester Prairie. During those travels, many youthful adventures took place. Following the early death of her father, the family moved into Lester Prairie.

Ella was confirmed in her Christian faith on Palm Sunday, March 25, 1945, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie by Rev. Ritz. Her confirmation verse was Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Ella attended Lester Prairie schools and also worked at Weise and Kuhlmann Hardware Store in Lester Prairie. She enjoyed her work there and she spoke often of the people she met and became friends with through the store.

Ella was united in marriage with Orlin Graupmann Nov. 16, 1951, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie by Rev. Ritz.

While Orlin was in Korea, they made their home in Lester Prairie, and following his return, they moved to rural Plato. They also lived on the Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota for a few years before returning to Plato. The couple was blessed with three boys: Gary, Doug, and John.

Ella was a member of the St. Paul's UCC Women's Guild, and was always willing to help with any church activity. Her main love was for her husband and children.

Following a construction accident, which left Orlin unable to work for four years, Ella took great care of her family. She loved entertaining and cooking for others.

She had a quiet and subtle pride with her baking and canning. Chocolate chip cookies that were always soft and all identical in size, and dill pickles that her children fought over. There was more than one occasion when her children heard her say, "I'm a fussy baker," and then she would laugh.

Ella also enjoyed watching the high school basketball tournaments. After her children were of school age, she began employment with Plato Woodwork. She worked in the wrapping and inspection area. She had many friends at Plato Woodwork and often talked fondly of those friends and the Pinske family.

Ella is preceded in death by her parents, step-father August Kruschke, two infant brothers: Wilmer and Maynard Benkowski; brothers-in-law Virgil Fruetel, Wilmer Dammann, and Hillard Bandemer; step-brothers Erwin Kruschke and Gilbert Kruschke; and three nephews.

She is survived by her husband of 51 years Orlin Graupmann of Plato; son Gary (Dale) Graupmann and children Sarah and Andrew of rural Glencoe; son Doug (Shannon) Graupmann and children Shawn, Mariah, Alisha, and Cody of rural Deer River; and son John (Ann) Graupmann and daughters Elsie and Emily of rural Plato.

She is further survived by her sisters Vera Fruetel of Lester Prairie, Dorothy (Edwin) LaMott of Silver Lake, and Lily Dammann of Lester Prairie; brothers and sisters-in-laws Earl (Darlene) Graupmann of Babbitt, Norma Bandemer of Glencoe, Ruth (Duane) Miller of Rochester, Elmer (Beverly) Graupmann of Plato, and Sharon (Gene) Mackenthun of Plato;

step-brothers and sisters Marvin (Lynda) Kruschke of Glencoe, Arlaine (Loren) Schiebe of Greenfield, Germaine (Alvin) Beaudry of Elk River, and Ethel Kruschke of Virginia; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Funeral services celebrating the life of Ella were Friday, Nov. 15, at 11 a.m., at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Plato. Officiating was the Rev. Grant Groves-Speece.

The organist was Diane Anderson and the soloist was Bob Becker, who sang "The Lords Prayer."

The congregational hymns were "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art."

Serving as casketbearers were Ella's nephews Daniel Dammann, Michael Fruetel, Tom Dammann, Bruce LaMott, Steve Graupmann, Michael Miller, Ron Bandemer, Scott Graupmann, Todd Mackenthun, and Rick Bandemer.

Interment was in St. Paul's United Church of Christ Cemetery south of Plato. Visitation was Thursday evening at the Johnson-McBride Funeral Chapel in Glencoe.

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