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Esther S. Gruneich

1916 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Esther S. Gruneich Obituary
Esther S. Gruneich

Sioux Falls - Esther S. Gruneich, 99, of Sioux Falls, SD, died peacefully November 3, 2016 at Sanford Hospice Foundation Cottage.

Esther was born December 19, 1916 to Jacob and Susanna (Schmidt) Schindler on the family farm near McClusky, ND. She graduated from McClusky High School in 1934 and earned an elementary education certificate from Ellendale Teachers College. On May 26, 1940, she was united in marriage to Rev. Solomon G. Gruneich of Kulm, ND. They were married for 69 years. In 1942, Esther and Solomon entered Evangelical (Garrett) Theological Seminary in Naperville, IL where Esther earned a Christian Education Certificate, at a time when it was unusual for women to attend seminary. During WWII, Esther worked in the Buick defense plant testing airplane engines.

They served together in church parishes in Hebron, Hazen, Beulah, and Bismarck, ND; Sioux Falls, Wolsey/Bonilla, and Flandreau, SD; and Luverne, MN. She was a Sunday School teacher, youth leader, women's circle leader and church musician. An avid student of the Bible and Christian faith and a gifted writer, Esther developed numerous Bible studies and special services of worship for the churches they served. She worked with the Presbyterian Mission Board at Flandreau Indian School for seven years. In 1968, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sioux Falls, fulfilling a life-long goal. She taught and substituted in various schools for many years. Esther enjoyed crafts, reading, and music, especially playing stringed instruments and handbells.

Retirement in 1981 brought Sol and Esther back to Sioux Falls, and allowed time to enjoy the close family ties they cherished, with many travels to visit their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Grateful for having shared the gift of Esther's life are her daughter Marilyn (Tom) Gannon of Sioux Falls, son Rev. Stanley (Lonnie) Gruneich of Dell Rapids, daughter Margaret (Jim) Erick of Sioux Falls; grandchildren Jason (Mae) Gruneich, Sioux Falls, Joel (Pheonix) Gruneich, Gardnerville, NV, Nick (Kelley) Gruneich, Dell Rapids, Dan Erick and Jorina (Jason) Kruse, all of Sioux Falls; great-grandchildren Alison Rolof, Richmond, TX, Dominick Gruneich, Gardnerville, NV, Olivia, Emma, and Evan Gruneich, Dell Rapids, and Owen and Jake Kruse, Sioux Falls; many other relatives and a host of dear friends.

Esther was preceded in death by her husband, Solomon, in 2009, her parents, three brothers, five sisters, and three grandchildren.

A Service of Celebration and Witness to the Resurrection will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 7, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church, Sioux Falls, SD with a private family committal service at Hills of Rest Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Esther's family would appreciate memorials to "Living Waters for the World" ministry,, or a local ministry of your choice.

For complete obituary and on-line registry, please visit
Published in The Argus Leader on Nov. 6, 2016
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