Grace Barbara Gillette, 89, Brownsdale

Published 10:18 am Friday, February 15, 2013

Grace Barbara Gillette, 89, of Brownsdale, Minn., passed away at the Grand Meadow Health Care Center on Feb. 12, 2013.

Grace B. Gillette

Grace was born in Waltham, Minn., to her parents, Walter and Leitha (Patterson) Schnirring. She was baptized at the Hayfield Presbyterian Church where she was a lifetime member. She attended Waltham Elementary School and graduated from Hayfield High School. She also graduated from the Austin Teacher Training Department and from Winona State College with a teaching degree.

She married Robert Lowell Gillette at the Hayfield Presbyterian Church on June 14, 1944. They lived in St. Paul during World War II, where they both worked in a government plant where cannons and guns were manufactured for use in World War II.

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After the war, they moved to Waltham for several years and then moved to the Gillette family’s Century Farm (Homestead Acres) near Brownsdale. This farm has been in the family since 1833. Grace returned to her 45-year teaching career. She taught in schools in the Waltham, Sargeant, Hayfield and Brownsdale areas. After retirement, she organized the Brownsdale Schools PIE organization. Another of her achievements was the writing of the history book of Brownsdale 1856–1996. The proceeds from the sales of the books were donated to the Brownsdale School. She was instrumental in the creation of the present Brownsdale Library, which was later named The Brownsdale, Grace Gillette, Public Library.

She is survived by her son Keith and Charlotte (Wencl) Gillette, Brownsdale; grandson, Ryan and Sara (Prihoda) Gillette, Brownsdale; granddaughter Andrea and Clinton Gerner, St. Paul, Minn.; great-grandchildren William, Steven and Betsy Gillette, Brownsdale; and Elayna Gerner, St. Paul; sisters, Doris Schneider, Austin, Minn., and June Houck, Sioux Falls, S.D.; sisters-in-law Connie Schnirring, Waltham and Glenda Schnirring, Hastings, Minn.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband Robert Gillette; her parents Walter and Leitha Schnirring; her four brothers, Wayne, Dale, Walter and Erwin Schnirring; and sisters-in-law Phyllis Schnirring and Eva Schnirring.

A memorial open house will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Brownsdale Community Center. Her wish was to have her body donated to the Mayo System for Medical Research as her husband had donated his body before her. The family requests memorials to be given to The 203 Education Foundation, Brownsdale Elementary School, or the Brownsdale Grace Gillette Public Library.