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Pearl Adelia Gruenhagen

Pearl Adelia Gruenhagen, age 96, of Howard Lake, died Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, at the Good Samaritan Care Center surrounded by her family.

She was born April 11, 1912, to Warren and Agnes (Munson) Custer on a farm southwest of Howard Lake, the oldest of 10 children.

Pearl attended Rice Lake School and the Cokato High School.

She was married to William Gruenhagen Dec. 29, 1940. The couple lived on the Gruenhagen family homestead, north of Howard Lake, where they farmed and Pearl had her large “weedless” vegetable and flower gardens.

After retiring from Tonka Toys, Pearl pursued her many interests which included participating in the St. James Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, quilting with the Rebecca Guild, gardening, chauffeuring family and friends, and making “care packages” for her family and the pastors. That meant she made more than 100 popcorn balls every Christmas.

Pearl will be remembered for her passion for adventure, pans of brownies, rice pudding, and wearing purple on Sundays.

Pearl was preceded in death by her husband, William; son-in-law Ralph Shepperd; granddaughter Lynn Shepperd; sisters Evelyn May and Genevieve Miller; and brothers James, Milton, Amos, and Donald Custer.

She is survived by a daughter, June Shepperd of Howard Lake; a son, Warren Gruenhagen of Sparks, NV; a sister, Delores Wessman; brothers Dean (Carolyn) Custer, and Wayne (Sally) Custer; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and a host of family and friends.

The funeral service was Saturday, Jan. 3 at 11 a.m. at St. James Lutheran Church with the Revs. Michael Nirva and Martin Schoenfeld officiating. Special music was provided by the LWML and soloist Marge Stueven. The organist was Nancy Butterfass. Interment was at the St. James Cemetery on Dutch Lake.

Visitation took place Friday, Jan. 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m., and continued Saturday for one hour prior to the service at the church.

Arrangements were by the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake.