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1913 Wilma 2017

Wilma Grenier

August 19, 1913 — October 31, 2017

Wilma Grenier of Breckenridge, formerly Kent, was called to her heavenly home on October 31, 2017, at the age of 104. We can only imagine that she is busy catching up with all the friends and relatives that went before her. Visitation will be on Monday, November 6, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Catholic Church, Kent, MN, with burial at St. Thomas Cemetery. Father Joseph Backowski will be the Celebrant.

Wilma Evelyn Warner was born in Breckenridge, MN, on August 19, 1913, to Charles and Eva (Johnson) Warner, who lived on a farm in Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, MN.  She was the first of five girls in her family. She attended school through eighth grade at the District 20 Schoolhouse and briefly attended Breckenridge High School before leaving to help her dad on the farm.

Wilma worked on the farm for a few years and then traveled to California with her sister, Doris, to visit their sister Beatrice and to look for work.  Jobs were scarce, so finding none, they returned to Minnesota.  Wilma continued working on the farm, going to dances, and attending the picture shows in Kent.  One day a young man named, Milton Grenier, came to paint the barn. After an eight year courtship, they were married on March 12, 1942, at the St. Thomas Chapel in Kent.

Ten days later, Milton was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Camp Maxy, Paris, Texas.  After a year, Wilma joined him in Texas.  She worked in the Camp Maxy kitchen and also in a turkey factory.  After Milton was discharged from the Army, they made their home in Kent where they lived for 62 years. Those years were filled with work, children, and entertaining. Wilma worked as a janitor at the Kent School, the U.S. Postal Service (hanging the mail in the afternoon) and for the Great Northern RR (meeting the train in the wee hours of the morning to put the mail in the freight room of the Kent Depot) making a $1 a day. She was always an independent, hardworking, and resourceful woman who was in many ways ahead of her time.

Wilma was a member of the Kent Homemakers Club, St. Thomas Mission Circle, Abercrombie Senior Center, “Big” Birthday Club and “Small” Birthday Club.  She enjoyed sewing (sometimes making 30 dresses in a winter), cooking, traveling, entertaining at the lake, and especially having coffee with her friends in Kent.

Milton died on February 7, 2008. Wilma left her home in Kent the following September and became a resident of St. Francis Nursing Home living there until the time of her death.

Wilma is survived by her daughters: Margie (Dale) Basehore, Kent, MN; Diane K. Nelson, Morris, MN; sons: Curtis (Diane) Grenier, Perham, MN; Gerald Grenier, Alexandria, MN.  Grandchildren:  Rozzie Beltz, Blaine (Teresa) Basehore, Roxsann Basehore, Christopher Grenier, Jon (Cari) Grenier, Jason (Bridget) Grenier, Jessica B. Nelson, Jennifer B. Nelson. 4 great grandchildren and 4 step-great grandchildren and her youngest sister, Doris (Eugene) Leinen, Breckenridge, MN. She was preceded in death by her husband, Milton, a son, Mark, her parents, her sisters, Beatrice, Avis and Florence, and grandson-in-law Dallas.


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