Gloria Jean Staehnke – Obit

Gloria Jean Staehnke, age 78, of Erskine, MN, passed away Sunday, December 27, 2020, in the Medical City Alliance Hospital in Ft. Worth, TX. She had been in Texas visiting her daughter, Brenda Cole. While in ill-health for several years she never let it defeat her spirit.

Gloria was born in Forest Lake, MN on August 30, 1942, the daughter of Gustaf and Lilly (Trane) Nelson. She was baptized in the Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake and moved with her family to Karlstad, MN in 1946, where she was confirmed at the Bethel Lutheran Church. Gloria was a graduate of Karlstad High School with the Class of 1960. On October 22, 1960, she became twice blessed, not only marrying the love of her life but her best friend as well, Donald Robert Staehnke. After the ceremony at Bethel Lutheran Church, Gloria and Don made their home in Stephen, MN until moving to Crookston in 1969. Wife, mother of 4, and homemaker were the roles that kept Gloria extremely busy during those early years. She later began working fall harvest campaigns at American Crystal in Crookston with her best friend, Mona Olson. Later, and for several years, Gloria was employed with the Central High School lunch program.

Gloria and Don were members of the Trinity Lutheran Church where she taught Sunday school and participated in WELCA. Following Don’s retirement in 1995 from managing the Crookston Co-op Elevator, Don and Gloria moved to their lake home on Union Lake, near Erskine, MN, and became actively involved in Grace Lutheran Church at Erskine. As always, Gloria’s life revolved around her family and her favorite job of all was “Head Babysitter” and her favorite title, bestowed on her by her grandkids was “Best damn French toast maker!” Ever! She loved baking, cooking, and hosting family dinners, and friends and guests were always warmly welcomed to her home. Throughout her life not only was she Mom to her kids and grandkids, but to all their friends as well. Her laugh was contagious and her sense of humor a treasure. Gloria was a member of the Winger Lions Club and Crookston Eagles Aerie Auxiliary. She also volunteered her time for many years to Villa St. Vincent and the Meals on Wheels programs of Crookston and Erskine.

As the years went by Don’s health began to fail and Gloria became his main caregiver. Together they would reminisce over wonderful memories of their younger years when they danced so beautifully together, the joys (and trials) of raising their 4 kids, and the pride they shared for the wonderful families that each one of the kids gave them. Sadly, Don passed away on August 7, 2014. Gloria’s family finds comfort in the knowledge that a loving God has brought her to her heavenly home and that Mom and Dad are together again. The legacy she leaves to her children is to love each other conditionally.

Loving family includes 4 children: Robert and Denise Staehnke of Fosston, MN, Laurie and Curt Caillier of Crookston, MN, Nadine Waxler (Brian Bachman) of Champlin, MN, and Brenda and Terry Cole of Saginaw, TX; 15 grandchildren: Matt (Emily) Staehnke, Ben Staehnke, Tommy (Beth) Staehnke, Trevor (Chelsey) Staehnke, Landon (Jazmine) Staehnke, Max Staehnke, Annie (Tim) Strader, Suzanne (Drew) Hasian, Erich Waxler, Andy (Shanon) Caillier, Jake (Deena) Caillier, Lilly Caillier, Erron Caillier, Brandon Liebman, and Alex Liebman; and 18 great-grandchildren: Mya, Layla, Danika, Levon, Aubrey, Wyatt, Adley, Clara, Evy, Owen, Declan, Charlie, Jeorgia, Braxton, Carter, Kennedy, Malanni, and Frannie. Gloria also leaves a sister, Karen (Ragner) Bjornson of Middleboro, MA; 2 brothers, Clyde Nelson of Donna, TX and John (Margie) Nelson of Hoyt Lakes, MN; and from Don’s family: sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Myrtle Ellis of Crookston, Glen (Edith) Staehnke of Rogers, MN and Donald Lange of Brooklyn Park, MN; as well as, many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.


In addition to Don, her beloved husband of 54 years, Gloria is preceded in death by her parents, Gustaf and Lilly Nelson; son-in-law, Brent Waxler; 2 grandchildren; and sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Priscilla Nelson, Kathy Nelson, Elaine Lange, and Gloria and Manley “Spike” Gustafson; and Clarence Ellis. Treasured be the memory of Gloria Jean Staehnke.

A Memorial Service celebrating the life of Gloria Staehnke will be held at the Grace Lutheran Church in Erskine, MN at a later date. The service will also be live-streamed at that time. Please keep the Staehnke family in your prayers.

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