Lauretta Pearl Graetz (1936 - 2011)

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  • "My sincerest sympathy is with all of you. Your loss will..."
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BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Lauretta was born Oct. 24, 1936 in Mason City to Laurence O. and Pearl M. Richey Brunsvold.
The family lived on the family farm in rural Kensett and attended Elk Creek Lutheran Church where she was baptized and confirmed. She graduated in 1953 as valedictorian of her class at Kensett High School, and at age 16, she started college at Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Music Education.
Lauretta married Jerald Maurice Graetz on June 9, 1957. Following their marriage they moved to Clarence, where they taught music in the public schools. While there, they started their family, with the birth of their daughter Pat. In 1959, the family moved to Independence, where their family grew with the birth of Kristin and Bradley and lived for the next 37 years. In 1996, Lauretta and Jere moved north, settling in Burnsville, Minn.
Lauretta shared her gift of music with thousands of people over the years. She taught vocal music in public schools for over 40 years, starting her career in Clarence and then Independence - first at St. John's Catholic Schools and then Independence Public Schools. In 1994, she coordinated a musical production commemorating 25 years of musicals at Independence High School. Upon moving to Burnsville, Lauretta joined the staff at Apple Valley High School, teaching voice and choir.
Her gifts were shared in the community as well. While in Independence, she played organ for church services and taught music at the Mental Health Institute Cromwell Children's Unit. She directed the Chancel and Handbell Choirs at First Presbyterian Church in Independence. For over 30 years she directed the Independence Ladies Musical Society choruses. While at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Lauretta directed the Peace Chimes and assisted in directing the Senior Choir.
Lauretta was committed to her profession and took a special interest in mentoring new teachers. She was a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), serving many leadership roles over the years. She was a long time member of the Iowa Choral Directors Association (ICDA), and served on the Executive Board and as President. For 13 years, she used her humor and creativity as Social Activities Chair for Summer ICDA Conferences. Lauretta's involvement extended beyond ICDA, as she was elected President of the North Central Division of ACDA, representing the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. She was also the recipient of the Robert McCowan Award, given for outstanding achievement in music in the state of Iowa.
Lauretta was surrounded by the support of her family. She is survived by her husband, Jere, her three children - Patricia Graetz Jensen, Apple Valley, Minn.; Kristin Graetz (William) Kaminski, Palos Park, Ill.; and Bradley (Kristine) Graetz, Bloomingdale, Ill. She loved spending time with her grandchildren - Andrea Berryhill (David) Ramoley of Palos Park, Ill.; Laura Jensen of Springfield, Ohio; Erik Jensen of Apple Valley, Minn.; and Emma and Natalie Graetz of Bloomingdale, Ill. She was blessed with two great grandchildren - Nolan and Carson Ramoley and a new baby due in July.
In addition to her husband and children Lauretta was loved by her extended family - sister Marlene Kruger and Bruce Gettman, Mason City; brother Loren and Kay Brunsvold, Huntsville, Ala.; nieces Lori and Mark Alitz, Jean and Royce Schultz all of Mason City. Three nephews - Grant and Samantha Brunsvold, Gavin and Kristie Brunsvold, all of Birmingham, Ala.; Ryan and Susie Brunsvold, Philadelphia, Penn.
She was preceded in death by father (1975), mother (1991), infant brother Larry in 1942, father and mother-in-law Maurice (1974) and Emma Hanson (1997) Graetz, and sister-in-law Sharon Graetz Melton (1982).
Memorials honoring Lauretta's legacy may be directed to the family for donation or to the following music organizations: Iowa Choral Directors Association Weston Noble Endowment Fund (, the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund (, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Music Ministries (13901 Fairview Drive, Burnsville Minn. 55337).
Published in Independence Bulletin-Journal from June 11 to July 11, 2011