Grace Sonstegard Obituary
Grace Margaret Wilson was born on February 6, 1942 in Roseau, MN to Leon and Elvira (Hartnell) Wilson. She was the second of five daughters born to the family. Grace grew up in Williams, MN, where she attended the Williams School and was the salutatorian of the graduating class of 1960.
A true tomboy at heart, she loved spending time with her daddy in the woods, hunting partridge and deer, as well as fishing with the large extended Wilson family on Lake of the Woods. These were hobbies that she continued to enjoy throughout much of her adult life. Additionally, she was a very talented artist, whose acrylic painted cabin scenes in various seasons are still treasured belongings to many throughout Lake of the Woods County.
In 1961, Grace married Edward Sonstegard of Baudette, and in September of 1962, the couple celebrated the birth of their only child, Lynn Margaret. While raising Lynn, Grace worked for Lake of the Woods County in the social services office briefly, and then became everyone’s favorite bartender at Moose Lodge #742 in Baudette, where she was employed until the early 1990’s. Talking bartender speak came with great ease, and she truly enjoyed the witty banter she often exchanged with patrons while slinging their favorite drinks for them. Many a bar stories she had to tell, and finding a local without a Gracie story to share is also few and far between. Following her work at the Moose Lodge she was employed at the Holiday Station Store in Baudette as the food service manager, until her retirement in the early 2000’s.
Grace enjoyed spending as much time as she could with her 2 grandchildren, Jamie and Joshua. She was often seen walking around town with the kids, taking them swimming at Peace Park, and even made time for annual summer camping trips at Zippel Bay with them. Family was everything to Grace.
Following her retirement, she kept herself young by helping watch her first great-grandchild, Sydney Lynn several days a week. She loved teaching her to bake, make mudpies, and fostered a real love for watching movies in the theater. Grace’s grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren of the next generation were her pride and joy. She always made sure to carry pictures of them with her, and along with the pictures, she shared even more stories about each of them to anyone who would listen.
As her great-grandchildren grew and entered school, she shifted her caregiving to her own father and stepmother, making them lunch nearly every day of the week. Following the passing of her stepmother, she continued to care for her father until his passing in 2012. Grace was an avid family historian, she loved genealogy and connecting all the dots to her ancestors. The county fair was always one of her favorite events of the year, and she enjoyed not only entering her own art pieces, but making projects for the fair with her grandchildren, and later great-grandchildren to enter in open class exhibit categories. In more recent years, although her mobility was becoming impaired, she was still often seen “walking uptown” to the Moose Lodge where she would visit with friends, play pull tabs, and enjoy being out and about. The winter months were more difficult for her to navigate out of her home, but she kept herself busy with crossword puzzles, and bird watching from her windows. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary-Eric Olson Unit 442. For many years she made nearly 100 tray favors, as she called them, EVERY month for residents of LakeWood Care Center, Parker’s ARC, and patients at Lakewood Health Center. The favors were always festively-themed for each month, and given on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary she was so proud to be a member of.
Grace passed away on Sunday, November 26, 2023 surrounded by her family, at the age of 81, following a short illness.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Lynn Furbish; stepson, Mark Sonstegard; stepmother, Mae (McKinnon-Olson) Wilson; infant sister Adelaide Wilson; stepbrother, Melford Olson; and very special nephew, Jackie Senkyr
. Grace is survived by her grandchildren, Jamie (Robbie) Johnson of Baudette and Josh (Mindy) Furbish of Plymouth, MN; great-grandchildren, Sydney Hufnagle, Jackson and Eva Johnson, all of Baudette, Maizley and Juno Furbish of Plymouth, MN; son-in-law, Ted Furbish of Baudette; step-daughter, Deb Criscione of Seattle, WA; sisters Daisy Westover of Baudette, Judith (Don) Senkyr of Williams, Jane (Roger) Anderson of Isanti, MN, and Mary (Gary) Bagne of Williams; very special cousins Bill Wilson of Baudette, MN, Larry Wilson of Isle, MN, and Steve Wilson of St. Croix Falls, WI; and many other family members and friends.
A Memorial Service for Grace Sonstegard will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Williams at 2:00pm. Interment will take place at Pine Hill Cemetery.
# Grace Margaret (Wilson) Sonstegard#
Helgeson Funeral Home