Frances Joseph Gritz Sr., “Fritz,” age 89, of Waverly, died Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at his home.
He was born Sept. 25, 1920, at home on the family farm in Waverly, to Martin Joseph and Anna (Marsolek) Gritz.
Fritz served in the US Army during WWII, from Sept. 10, 1942, to Dec. 27, 1945. He served in Company B, 742 MP Battalion in Fort Snelling, Minneapolis; New Guinea, and Michigan.
During the early 1940s, Fritz met Ellen Mayme Karvonen at the New Brighton Arms Arsenal. They were united in marriage Feb. 24, 1944. in Minneapolis.
After his return from duty, Fritz and Ellen made their home on the family farm in Waverly.
Fritz also attended agriculture school at the University of Minnesota.
Ellen passed away Dec. 14, 1995. Fritz continued living on the farm, where he enjoyed visiting and helping his neighbors. He also liked collecting toy tractors, and playing baseball in Waverly, where he enjoyed being the catcher.
Fritz will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
In addition to his wife, Ellen, Fritz was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Barney and Betty Gritz; Luella and Elmer Eckelberry; Ray Gritz; Billie Ruzicka; George and Vickie Gritz; Anastia “Dude” and Ed Schermann; and Frances “Babe” Gritz; and daughter-in-law, Beverly Gritz.
Fritz is survived by his daughter, Susan (Jerald) Vail of Montrose; sons Francis “Joe” Gritz Jr. of Maplewood, John Gritz of Waverly, Jeffrey (Debbie) Gritz of St. Michael, and James Gritz of Waverly; six grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; a brother, LeRoy “Hans” (Joan) Gritz of San Diego, CA; many other relatives; and a host of friends.
The funeral service took place Thursday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Howard Lake with Pastor Al Jones officiating. Hymns were sung by the congregation, accompanied by Dennis Entinger. Interment was in Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Visitation was Wednesday, Oct. 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Howard Lake.
The pallbearers were Dean Shermann, Bill Krause, Ray Bayerl, Jim Groskrentz, Keith Duske, and Cliff Duske. Honorary pallbearers were Pat Krause and Fred Krause and all of Fritz’s grandchildren: Jennifer Houge, Melissa Williams, Richard Gritz, Tamera Loper, Phillip Gritz, Joseph Vail and Teasha Vail.
Arrangements were provided by the Karvonen & Son Funeral Home in New York Mills, MN, hosted with the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake. Online condolences may be sent to www.karvonenfuneralhome.com.