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1111 4 th St NE
Watertown, SD 57201
(605) 886-5876
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Grace Turbak


1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Grace Turbak Obituary
Grace Turbak

Grace Turbak, 92, of Watertown (formerly of Kranzburg), died Tues., Sept. 6, 2016 at Prairie Lakes Hospital. Funeral mass will be 11:00 a.m., Sat., Sept. 10, 2016 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kranzburg, SD. Visitation will be at the church at 7:00 p.m. Friday, with a rosary at 8:00 p.m. Grace Rozalia Turbak, the daughter of Joseph A. and Ada (Chapin) Sherman, was born November 30, 1923 on the family farm in Deuel County, South Dakota. She attended school in Goodwin, SD from first grade in 1929 until high school graduation in 1941. From early childhood, Grace loved books and was a voracious reader. She attended General Beadle College in Madison, South Dakota and earned a Teaching Certificate in 1942. Grace taught in Deuel and Hamlin County country schools from 1943 through 1945. In high school, Grace fell in love with a young man from Kranzburg, Melvin Albert Turbak. For years, as Grace taught school and Melvin served in the Army Air Corps, their romance was carried on through occasional visits and frequent letters. Throughout her life, Grace was an extraordinary letter writer. First her sweetheart and later her children, grandchildren, and others were the beneficiaries of frequent cards, notes, or letters. They usually relayed stories of daily life told with cheer and good humor, sometimes included a joke, and always conveyed boundless love. Ever young at heart, she eventually learned to use email, but she preferred pen and paper. Her loved ones easily recognized mail from Grace by the graceful longhand that was her trademark. Until the week she died, she wrote almost daily to someone she loved. Grace and Melvin were married at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kranzburg on October 5, 1944. They shared nearly 72 years of married life, and Grace was forever in love with her husband. For nearly all their years together, they lived in Kranzburg, where they raised their seven children. When most of the children were grown, Grace went to work in Watertown, first in daycare and then for years at Midtex. She treasured the many friendships she made with women she met at her jobs. Recently Grace and Melvin moved to 200 Maple Place in Watertown, a home they occupied only briefly but Grace enjoyed greatly. Though her formal teaching career was brief, Grace was forever a teacher, whether she was teaching her grandchildren to bake cookies or to play penny-ante poker. One of the primary life lessons she conveyed was the importance of having fun. She loved to be among people, enjoyed playing games, and especially loved pinochle, which she played with great skill and good-humored, exaggerated competitiveness. She was energetic, creative, and fun. She went to unusual lengths to entertain and amuse others, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She had a quick wit and an unfailing sense of humor, even in the toughest of times. She survived the broken heart of losing her two oldest children, Gary and Douglas. Grace was an unpretentious and generous woman who was intelligent, decisive, and opinionated, yet slow to judge and quick to forgive. She was always selfless, uncomplaining, and tough. She was fiercely loyal and dedicated to family, but her notion of family was very broad and she warmly embraced anyone who happened to come into her fold, whether by marriage, casual circumstances, or otherwise. She was tolerant, open minded, and compassionate toward others, especially those who were struggling or marginalized. She always advocated for children, whether or not they were her own, and one of her final instructions was an emphatic order that her survivors be sure to take care of "the little ones." Grace is survived by her husband, Melvin; her children, Marlene (Bill) Fullerton of Huron, SD, Nancy (David) Berry of Watertown, SD, Tad Turbak (Julie Cole, life partner) of Watertown, SD, Tracy (Annemarie) of Sioux Falls, SD, and Jill (Willie) Janvrin of Eagan, MN; her daughter-in-law, Janette Turbak (widow of Gary) of Missoula, MT; 16 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; her siblings, Ruth (Ralph) Winter, Robert (Mary Ann) Sherman, Eileen Smunk, Janice Bren, and Carolyn (Marty) Howard; and a host of other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her sons, Gary and Douglas; and her brothers, Lloyd, Raymond, and Harold. The family requests that any memorials in Grace's honor be directed to the Make-A-Wish Foundation or to the Friends of the Watertown Public Library. Arrangements by Wight & Comes Funeral Chapel in Watertown. www.wightandcomes.com.
Published in The Argus Leader on Sept. 9, 2016
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