Grace Ernestine Fenske
Grace Ernestine Fenske, 94, died Saturday, September 29, 2012 at Alpine Way Retirement Center in Shelton, WA. She was born April 19, 1918 in Marshfield, WI to Clyde and Orilla (Michaelis) Leonhardt. Grace received her education in the Wood County Public School; Marshfield’s McKinley High School and Wood County Teachers College in Wisconsin Rapids. She taught rural one room schools for six years. Grace married Marvin Fenske in Vesper, WI on June 3, 1929. When Grace was two months old she went to Bismark, ND with her parents where they worked for a wheat and cattle rancher. In the following December of 1918 during the height of the World War I influenza epidemic, both parents died, Orillia’s sister, Cora took charge of returning the eight month old Grace and the bodies of her parents to their home city. Grace was cared for by her mother’s sister, Elsie Poppy and her family.
At Elsie’s death three years later her daughter Irene, continued her care. At five years of age Grace was taken to Grandmother Michaelis to be cared for. She began school in Bakerville and in the middle of grade two, Cora and her new husband, Bernard McTavish became her legal guardians. She lived with them until her marriage.
Grace and her husband Marvin were dairy farmers until 1962 when they moved to Washington State. After settling in Shelton she worked at the nursing home for six years and at Mason General Hospital for 15 years. She helped her husband develop a U-Cut Christmas Tree operation on their Cloquallum Road farm which they ran for about 20 years and used draft horses to give rides. At the on-set of Marvin’s illness, they moved to a retirement village in Shelton; the farm was sold after his death.
Grace was a member of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church. She had a passion for gardening and shared the bounty of her garden. Her hobby was making quilts for charities. Grace also enjoyed wagon trains, camping, traveling in their motorhome and volunteering at Son Rise Outreach for years.
Grace is survived by her grandchildren, Rob Daley of Shelton, WA, Steven Tomfohrde of Duluth, MN , Richard Tomfohrde (Karen) of Minneapolis, MN, Sharon Pearson (Roger) of Shelton, WA and six great grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Clyde and Orillia Leonhardt, husband, Marvin Fenske and daughter, Mary Hoepfner. Memorial contributions may be sent to Son Rise Outreach, PO box 661, Shelton, WA 98584.
An inurnment service will be held at Shelton Memorial Park on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 11:00am. The family was served by McComb Funeral Home, Shelton, WA.