Rachel Odina Griffin-Heublein
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:34 PM
At 5:25 on the morning of March 8, 2017, the wind, blowing wildly, pushed the moon over the horizon, taking Rachel on her spirit journey.
Our matriarch – our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother was borne back into the spirit world; she is home again.
Rachel was a child of Rushford, coming into this world on Aug. 15, 1924. Odin and Ruth Griffin were her parents, and she was the first of their five children.
She grew up and went through eighth grade at Ferndale School and graduated from Rushford High School at the age of 16.
In 1942, she married Earl William Heublein and moved to the Hart area on the “home” farm, where she lived until 1982.
She and Earl had seven children: Elizabeth (Tikki) Ann, William Earl, John Charles, Karl Phillip, Joseph George, and Robert Lewis. One son, following Tikki, was stillborn.
Earl and Rachel were always deeply committed and involved in their children’s education at Considine School No. 5, the county school up the road from the farm.
Rachel’s nickname for many years was “Mama Rachel” because her home was always open to friends and family who needed a place to be accepted and loved. There was always an extra place at her table, always an attentive ear, warm hugs, sometimes tears, and a bed to rest your head.
She was known as the family and neighborhood cosmetologist, cutting and setting hundreds of heads of hair. She also loved being on the tractor in the spring; many furrowed fields she plowed.
Several years after Earl passed, Rachel married John Burns. They were later divorced.
Busy as she was, she also found time to work at Winona State University as an administrative assistant to the Dean of Education and took classes at the same time.
In her later years, when most people are retiring, she began a new career in old house and building renovation, which she loved to do. She always said it was like opening a Christmas present to see the original, beautiful wood that was under all that paint.
Recovering old usable things was a passion she carried when she went on her frequent jaunts to what she called “The Emporium” – better known as the Salvation Army.
After each of her visits to the “Emporium”, we would all groan and say, “Mom, what are you going to do with all that stuff?”
She would always say, “Well, somebody might need it. It’s still in good shape.”
Rachel was an activist as well. During the farm crisis, she worked tirelessly with family and many neighbors to avert the pillage that was done to family farms in the 1980s.
She marched, carried banners, and argued with bankers, even though she lost a portion of the farm. It was one of the heartbreaks of her life. From that time on, she rallied against the economic injustices that others suffer.
It is fitting that Rachel passed on International Women’s Day. She was a fighter to the very end. She believed that well-behaved women do not make history.
She had a deeply committed philosophy of living life, which was clearly evident in her love for and involvement with her family and her community. Her philosophy was revealed in her everyday living, which was articulated by the sayings she had posted around her house.
Rachel is survived by a sister, Judy Schultz (Don Schultz); five of her seven children, Elizabeth (Denys), Bill (Patty), John, Karl (Brigette) and Robert (Crystal); 11 grandchildren; 10 great- grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in passing by an infant son; her husband, Earl Heublein (who passed away 60 years ago to the year); her parents, Odin and Ruth Griffin; her second husband John Burns; a son, Joseph George Heublein; a brother, George Griffin; two sisters, Gladys Kohner and Hazel Krohse; and a great-grand son, Collin Jaymz Fohrman.
Greatly loved Mom, Grandma, friend! We miss you always. You are living through us.
A celebration of Rachel’s Life will be held on Saturday, June 17, from 1 –7 p.m., so mark your calendar. The location of the celebration is to be determined. An announcement will be forth coming.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, Rachel wished to support local farming programs. If you wish to commemorate Rachel, please make a donation in her name to either:
The South East Minnesota Sustainable Farming Association –
By check to SFA, 4924 Upton Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55410. Include a note that says “For Southeast Chapter Memorial Fund” or write something to that effect in the memo line.
Online to firstname.lastname@example.org Enter a note “For Southeast Chapter Memorial Fund” into the “Comment” box.
Or The Land Stewardship Project, PO Box 130, Lewiston, MN 55952.