Eloise Beth Grassle
Eloise Beth Grassle
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Eloise Beth Grassle, 94, a long-time Rochester resident, passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at Madonna Summit in Byron.

Eloise was born July 26, 1926 in Galesville, WI, the 5th of six children to George and Judith (Larson) Williamson. After graduating from High School in Winona, Minnesota, she headed to Washington DC with a group of young women to assist in the War effort, helping a congressman with healthcare related matters. At war end, she returned to Winona, entering the working world as a dental assistant.

"Ellie" married Wallace Grassle in 1951 and moved to Rochester. After raising seven children, Ellie began working outside the home as a bookkeeper. She enjoyed her work with several businesses, including Stevenson's and Masseys, and especially her last position with O&B Shoes, continuing to work to the age of 74!

She was a long-time member of Zumbro Lutheran Church. Ellie and Wally took all of their kids in tow for weekly worship and pastors became not only faith mentors but trusted family friends.

In her spare time Ellie enjoyed baking, especially around the holidays, and was known for her Swedish meatballs, sandbakkels, and peanut clusters. Her children fought over her famous cream puffs. Though Thanksgiving dinner was a big family tradition, Ellie took pride in never cooking the turkey, as she always found someone else to prepare it! Memories of Ellie's famous fried chicken and Boston cream pie prompted her adult children to plan Bake-Offs of Mom's recipes as celebrations of her birthday.

Ellie and Wally's travels always included family, making memorable trips west with a carload of kids; taking kids as well as Ellie's parents to visit her sister Verna in Michigan; and, after Wally's retirement, driving with both sisters Elaine and Verna to Montana. Following Wally's death, Ellie made trips to Germany and Denmark, with opportunities to see her oldest grandchild living in Germany.

Ellie enjoyed crocheting afghans and scarves for others and made special Christmas tree skirts and tablecloths for family. She was a wizard at solitaire and could be enticed to play the nickel slots on occasion. She also enjoyed listening and dancing to her favorite music. Above all, she loved spending time with her family. After 51 years of marriage, her soul mate, Wally, passed away in 2002.

December 2016, she married Merlin Christenson of Ostrander. They enjoyed a new companionship and time together until Merlin's passing in 2020. Ellie was also preceded in death by her parents, 3 brothers and 2 sisters.

Ellie will be remembered as always putting family first in a life well-lived. We cherish her love for each of us. Her beautiful smile and great sense of humor, her support and understanding, and her amazing resilience are family treasures. We carry these memories in our hearts. We are forever grateful to her for the best gift, the gift of our family. She will be missed.

Ellie is survived by her children, Karen (Klaus) Sitte of Missoula, MT, Michael (Cheryl) Miller of Woodbury, MN, Greg (Lynn) Grassle of Fort Myers, FL, Ginger (Bill) Carroll of Clermont, FL, Geoff (June) Grassle of Savage, MN, Gary (Tracy) Grassle of Lakeville, MN and Grant Grassle of Rochester, MN. Also Linda Grassle of St. Louis Park, MN and Jenele Crone-Grassle of Wayzata, MN; 19 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren; special niece Sharon Hunter of Austin, MN; 6 stepchildren and several step grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The entire Grassle family extends a heartfelt thanks to Madonna Summit and the palliative care team at Mayo for all the wonderful and loving care provided to Ellie.

A private family inurnment will take place at Oakwood Cemetery at a later date. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Grassle family; to share a special memory or condolence, please visit The family suggests memorial gifts to the Madonna Living Community Foundation of Rochester via designated for the Benedictine Care Fund; or to Zumbro Lutheran Church of Rochester; or to another charity of your choice.


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J John Whelan on Mar 15, 2021

Such great memories of a great lady!
I was honored to know her and work with her and her beautiful family.
My heartfelt sympathy to the entire Grassle family.
John Whelan

C Cindy Wojtkiewicz on Mar 8, 2021

So sorry to hear of Ellie’s passing! She was a beautiful lady inside and out! I worked with Ellie at Massey’s and was fortunate to do her hair when she had time from the office work she did! Also I had moved and went to another shop Fashion Aire she came there for hair do’s too! Then due to closing of the Fashion Aire I went to another shop The Hair Artist Salon! In walks Ellie out of the blue, and and says”Cindy-I didn’t know you were here!” So then Merlin waited every week while Ellie would get her hair styled! The shop was close to where they lived! I really thought so much of Ellie and Merlin, and god bless the family!! Cindy Wojtkiewicz

B Bill&Vicki Pavlish on Mar 8, 2021

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. We have fond memories of Ellie, she was a very gracious lady. Our condolences to the family. Bill & Vicki Pavlish

S Sandy J. Molenda on Mar 5, 2021

Dear Grassle Family,
Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful mom with us at Madonna Summit/Madonna Living Community/Benedictine Living - Rochester/Byron.
Sandy J. Molenda; Foundation

T Tobin Tomshine on Mar 4, 2021

CandleI want to say hello to the Grassle family, and extend my deepest condolences for your loss. Your mom was a very special lady. Some of my fondest memories of growing up in northwest Rochester come from having you guys as next door neighbors. I spent a great deal of time with Greg growing up. Those memories are especially important to me. Boy did we have fun, and occasionally get into a little bit of trouble. But it usually all worked out. So many memories come to mind. My deepest sympathy to the entire Grassle family for the loss of your mom.

Toby Tomshine

G Grant on Mar 3, 2021

G Grant on Mar 3, 2021

G Grant on Mar 3, 2021

G Grant on Mar 3, 2021

G Grant on Mar 3, 2021

G Grant on Mar 3, 2021

D Darwin & Louann Fieck on Mar 3, 2021

Dear Ginger,
So sorry for your loss.
Mothers are our heart and soul.
Prayers & Rainbows,
Darwin & Louann (Wilkus) Fieck



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