Virginia Ann (Frei) Grundström | News, Sports, Jobs

MARQUETTE, MI – Marquette resident Virginia Ann (Frei) Grundstrom passed away peacefully at her home on January 19, 2022.

She was born on December 13, 1920 to (Gladys) Myrl Trevillion Frei and Clayton Peter Frei. Known throughout her life as “Gina”, she graduated from Graveraet High School and went on to study at Northern Michigan University, earning a bachelor of science degree in 1942. She married at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1946, when her college sweetheart , Gerald Grundstrom, has returned from India, where he served as a forecaster for the US Army during World War II. Although she moved to Ann Arbor, where she taught home economics, at what is now known as Slauson Middle School, then joined Gerry after their marriage in Lake Forest, IL, where she also taught home economics, their desire to live on the shores of Lake Superior brought them back to Marquette.

Gina’s love of sewing brought her back to NMU, for a course in clothing design and sewing, and she was hooked. A perfectionist in every way, she made most of her own suits and dresses and taught her daughters how to match plaids to yarn and how to make tied buttonholes. One class led to another, and she graduated with a Master of Arts from NMU in 1964. The invitation to teach at NMU that soon followed only increased her love of teaching and learning. apprenticeship and later earned a doctorate. in Human Ecology from Michigan State University in 1975. During her long professional career, she taught essentially every course offered in the Home Economics Department at NMU, including clothing design and tailoring, quantity of food, home design and decoration, and family relationships. – a course focusing on the changing roles of women. Her research sabbatical took her to the Middle East, where she interviewed women in Jordan, Israel and Egypt and also had the honor of interviewing Ms. Jehan Sadat, wife of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Throughout her professional career, Dr. Grundstrom was known as an exceptional teacher, both respected and loved by her students.

Besides her professional interests, Gina and Gerry have built a large camp on the shores of the small lake, ensuring that their children learn to use power tools and drive a nail. They spent every summer and many weekends throughout the year at camp, instilling in their children a love of nature, patience when it comes to thumbing with a hammer, the pride of a well-executed project and the joy of being in each other’s company. Although she was slow to learn water skiing, Gina quickly learned to jump off the beach on a single ski and looked quite airy as she slalomed in and out of the wake behind the AlumaCraft. Blueberry picking, sailing, walks “off the road” and endless crafting and building projects for busy and rewarding days.

For many years, Gina was an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, helping to organize Lenten potlucks and tying the bows that were an essential, if pesky, part of the robes worn by members of the children’s choirs. She was an avid gardener and leaves a legacy of yellow primroses in the gardens of the east side of Marquette. She was also an expert in knitting and needle pointing and left behind a valuable collection of intricately patterned children’s sweaters and Christmas stockings as well as needlework. Gina served on the board of Marquette Child and Family Services and in her later years was known throughout the community for sugar cookies, which she delivered to businesses on errands or on routine appointments. in the city.

Gina was predeceased by her husband of 55 years; Gerald Grundstrom, and by a little girl; Linda Myrl.

She is survived by three children; James Grundstrom (Pam) of Negaunee Township, Anne Nerenz (David) of Ishpeming Township and Susan Fortuna (John) of Bloomfield Hills), by five grandchildren; Jill Grundstrom of Marquette; Rob Nerenz (Claire) of West Lebanon, NH; Marquette’s Andrew Grundstrom (Jody); Annie Fortuna of Chicago; Johnny Fortuna of Davenport, IA, and by four great-grandchildren, including Kennedy Grundstrom and Saylor Grundstrom of Marquette.

A memorial service at the cemetery will be held this summer.

Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services serves the family, where condolences can be expressed online at

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