Cover photo for Grace M. Riepen's Obituary
Grace M. Riepen Profile Photo

Grace M. Riepen

November 8, 1919 — October 20, 2017

Grace Marie (Poell) Riepen 97, passed away on October 20, 2017 at the Blue Valley Senior Living in Blue Rapids, Kansas. Grace was born November 8th, 1919, at Hanover, Kansas, Daughter of Joseph and Ida Catherine (Schwartz) Poell. She grew up in Hanover and graduated from Hanover High School with the Class of 1938. Following high school, Grace was a secretary in the Hanover High School office, and also was a local and social news reporter for the Hanover Democrat Newspaper. She had lend a hand in helping Grandpa William Schwartz at Schwartz’s Department Store along with pitching in with her brothers, Wilfred and Joe, at Poell Brothers Variety Store. On September 4th 1941, Grace married William Henry Riepen at Saint John’s Catholic Church in Hanover, with Father Henry Gesenhues officiating. A wedding breakfast followed in the home of Joseph and Ida, filled with flowers from her mother’s flower gardens. Due to World War II, William enlisted in the United States Army in 1942 in the Railroad Battalion. Grace accompanied him stateside to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, for training before shipping out overseas. While there Grace had a job in the fabric department in a local JC Penney’s store in Alexandria. William landed on Omaha Beach on June 8th. He was in many battles in Normandy, The Rhine, Belgium, and Northern France, where he received a Western Union telegram in Amyapa London. It was Ida Poell notifying him of Barbara’s birth. “Daughter Born. Family doing well. Love” It’s a service that we don’t appreciate enough. We are able to feel free and secure in our country, because of our Armed Forces who have dedicated in the past, and those who dedicate their lives to keep us that way. GOD BLESS THEM ALL! After the war in 1945, William returned home to Hanover. He was a Conductor on the Union Pacific Railroad. They owned and operated the “The Snack Shop”, home of the famous fried glazed donuts served with ice cream on top. Later she also worked for her brother, Gilbert (Box) in his grocery store, Box’s Market. Grace is the last of her generation. Grace was the fourth of eight children. Out of the eight siblings it was Grace who accepted the responsibility of becoming the primary caregiver of sister, Eulalia, and both parents in their final years. William, Barbara, and Kathy had to share Grace. On a visit, Cousin Chester Poell had given Grace a packet of yarrow seed for her to plant as a release from caretaking. After the first summer of beautiful blooms, Grace was hooked. Grace caught the fever of growing more striking flowers for her creative use in flower arranging and decorating. Year round Holidays were full of tradition. “Over the River and Through the Woods” was hummed throughout the house during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons. Barbara and I both inherited a generation full of traditional customs. Family members especially remember the delicious Holiday meals, of turkey and dressing using Grandma Ida’s secret ingredient, the creamiest mashed potatoes, and the silky gravy. Grace made the best gravy. Nobody could get enough of her irresistible Christmas cookies-Date & Nut – Cherry Winks – Sugar –Divinity and melt in your mouth butter cookies. They were Grandma Ida’s recipes with Grace’s extra touch. She was a member of the Saint John’s Catholic Church, Hanover, Saint John’s Altar Society, a Life member of the American Legion Auxiliary, and the Kansas Gamma Gamma, Marysville Beta Phi Sorority where she was the Valentine Girl for 1949. Grace loved and enjoyed her life, from playing basketball in High School when the team took first in the 7th annual North Central Kansas Girls Basketball Tournament in 1938, when out on the golf course with Bill, the Big Band dancing at the Play-Mor Ballroom in Lincoln Nebraska dancing and listening to many of the Big Band legends. Grace’s real passion was making beautiful flower arrangements, and hand gathering flowers and herbs, for one of a kind, seasonal bouquets. She loved being included in family weddings receptions, and bridal showers to celebrate with her festive touches and eye catching arrangements. Grace loved to decorate the home adding her own special touch. Scouting out new tearooms and enjoyed trying out the menus, loved vintage fabric and was skillful and creative making anything by hand. Adored Martha Stewart and Julia Childs, she loved her westerns and never missed Gunsmoke and John Wayne, while working feverishly on her crossword puzzles. Drives in the countryside, riding the three wheeler, watching Union Pacific trains that come up the hill near Hanover, making chokecherry wine and was still able to tap dance to the “Military American Patrol”. GRACE LOVED LIFE She was preceded in death by her husband, William Henry Riepen on July 10th, 1986, her daughter Barbara Ann Bruna on May 28th, 2014, her mother, Ida Catherine, her father Joseph Poell, sisters Wilhelmina (Sissy) Johnson on May 20th, 2014, Eulalia Poell, Irene (Ed) Lang, brothers Wilfred, Gilbert (Box), Joseph, and William. Grace is survived by a daughter, Kathy and husband Tim Gastmann of Hanover and Barbara’s husband Stanley Bruna, Mrs William Poell (Norma) of Wichita KS, nine grandchildren, twenty-one great grandchildren and six great great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Just because the aged person lives a long life, it doesn’t mean their death is any less meaningful. Losing a Loved one stays with us forever no matter how aged they are or what illness or hardship they’ve suffered. Like All of us, life for them, they’ve had to pick themselves up too-they had faced numerous difficulties, disappointments, tests, sacrifices and setbacks in their lifetime. Knowing that moving forward in our lives, we are not forgetting our Loved ones, or the bond we had. Even though, Grace was advanced in years, the last of her family, and the last of her Generation when she died. I know she lived a good, long life, but I’m still heartbroken to have lost her. I WILL FOREVER LOVE AND MISS YOU! Thank you, Tim, for all your care and help. Viewing and visitation will be Wednesday October 25th, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Hanover Mortuary. A rosary service will be held at 10:15 a.m., Thursday, October 26th at St. John’s Catholic Church in Hanover. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials on behalf of Grace may be left in care of or mailed to the Hanover Mortuary, 110 S. Hollenberg, Hanover, KS 66945 To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Grace M. Riepen, please visit our flower store.


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