Leora M. Krause (Graunke)
October 25, 2020
Leora Mae Krause (nee Graunke), age 86, passed away on October 25, 2020. She was
born on the family farm in New Germany, MN on November 6th, 1933, to Albert and
Emma (Rolf) Graunke. Leora was baptized at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in New
Germany, MN on November 19, 1933. She was confirmed at St. Mark’s on May 18,
1947. She attended school through eighth grade.
Leora was one of twelve children, the first girl born after six boys. She learned the
meaning of hard work on the family farm. She would trap minnows and dig worms
for the local resort to earn her own money on the side.
Leora met Eldon on that family farm when Eldon did milk pickup for the local farmers.
Leora loved to dance and Eldon made his ‘smooth’ move by offering to take her home
from a dance in Montrose one weekend. That was the official start of their 68+ year
relationship. Leora married Eldon just seven months later, on September 26, 1952.
They had 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Leora was a strong German with an even stronger work ethic and faith in God. Those
who really knew her, would say she was tough, direct and stubborn, but that she
would also be the first person to open her home and to be there to help anyone in
She worked alongside Eldon on their farm in Montrose and through the years she
concurrently worked in the canning factory, cut meat at Ittel’s Meats in Howard Lake,
and drove her own meat delivery truck. However, one of Leora’s favorite roles was
driving school bus for Stahlke Bus Service in Delano. She loved “her kids”.
When she and Eldon relocated to Park Rapids, MN she again started cutting meat, this
time at Meyer’s meats. Never to sit still, she and Eldon would make trips to Montrose
to work at the Flower Farm each spring – they enjoyed seeing all the locals they had
grown up with as much as the work they did.
They spent 19 years traveling to Apache Junction, Arizona from October through
Easter. They welcomed visits from friends and family over those years, enjoying the
time before they’d head back in time for fishing opener.
After moving back to Delano, Leora suffered a stroke in April of 2016. It changed her
life, taking away the mobility in her left side. Those initial months were filled with
intense therapy sessions. Eldon made the trip every day to Courage Kenny. It was a
blessing that the Legacy in Delano accepted them both into their facility in September
of 2016. Mom could receive the help needed and Eldon and she could stay together.
Anyone who knew Leora knew she loved fishing and playing cards, but only if she outfished
or beat Eldon. The first gift every grandchild received was a fishing pole. If she
wasn’t on the lake, she was always one for a card party. Even the stroke couldn’t stop
Leora from getting in on the action. With the inability to hold cards in her left hand,
her son-in-law, Dave, rigged up a card holder for her and she could be seen calling out
her suit for trump once again.
Even with everything she did over the years, her greatest joys were always her
grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren. She was so proud of every one of
them. Leora has left a beautiful legacy, building a family filled with love, caring and
laughter – and the world is a better place for the lineage she has left.
Over the past couple of months as Leora’s health struggles grew greater, Eldon
continued to be her unfailing supporter. He’d bring her a sip of coffee each morning
in bed, before the staff got her up for breakfast. He watched over her needs and
coaxed her to eat and take her meds. One day about a week ago, when asked if she
knew who that man was in the chair next to hers, she looked for a moment, smiled
and said “he’s the best thing I ever did.”
Leora was preceded in death by parents, Albert and Emma (Rolf) Graunke, brothers
Wilber Graunke, Delphon Graunke, and Merlin Graunke brothers and sister-in laws,
Willard and Charlotte Graunke, Orville and Verna Graunke; sisters Ethyl Graunke and
Myra Kusha, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Gary Braussen, Gary Wright, Marvin and
Virginia Krause, Ione and Elmer Kespohl, Eldoris and Wally Jaunich, Vernon Yager, Roy
Dalchow; and son-in-law Dale Beastrom.
Leora is survived by her husband Eldon and six children, Jim (Sue), Peggy (Pat)
Zumbusch, Mark (Vicky), Vicki (Bob) DeVore, Gyen (Dave) Wilson and Glen (Tammy)
and ‘bonus daughter’ Lori (Mark) Sawatzke; 20 Grandchildren, Stacy (Tom) Haag,
Becky (Eric) Hudrlik, Sandy Neis, Kara (Steve) Haren, Taylor (Jake) Zumbusch,
Fletcher Zumbusch, Mark, Jr. (Wendy) Krause, Matt Krause, Katie (Ryan) Crawford,
Sarah (Kevin) Schnese, Emily DeVore, Megan (Luke) Breyer, Shayla (Nick) Anderson,
Lauren (Paul) Olsem, Spencer (Kaitlyn) Wilson, Aaron Krause, Lindsey Krause, Maddie
Krause, Brittany, (Dave) Keltgen and Brooke Sawatzke; 22 Great Grandchildren, and 2
Great, Great Grandchildren.
She is also survived by sisters, Donna Brown, Carol Brausen, sister and brother-in-law
Janice (Norris) Hirsch; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Dorothy (Wilber) Graunke,
Joyce (Delphon) Graunke, Madelene (Merlin) Graunke, Gene (Myra) Kusha, Mildred
(Vernon) Yager, Robert and Donna Krause, Lou (Roy) Dalchow.
The funeral service was held at Noon at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Delano, MN on Friday,
October 30, 2020. Visitation was from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Interment was in
St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Montrose.
A video of the funeral service can be found on the Iten Funeral Home YouTube page, or through the link provided below: