Avery Vrieze, 88, of rural Spring Valley

Avery Vrieze

Avery Donovan Vrieze, 88, of rural Spring Valley, died peacefully of natural causes on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at Mayo Clinic – Rochester – Saint Marys Campus, where he had been a patient for the past week.

He was born on Aug. 7, 1930, in Spring Valley to Harry and Winnie (Hess) Vrieze.

He grew up on the family farm in rural Racine, attended country school and began farming with his family.

He enlisted into the United States Air Force in 1952 and served overseas during the Korean Conflict as a radio operator in Korea. Following his discharge in 1956 he returned to the family farm.

He was married to Donna Mae Kleinwort on Nov. 17, 1956 at East St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Rock Dell, Minn.

Following their marriage the couple moved to rural Racine where they farmed as partners. Along with the children, they raised dairy and beef cattle, sheep and pigs. Rural Racine continues to be called home.

He was a past member of Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville and was a current member of Sumner Center United Methodist Church. He served as Sumner Township clerk for 11 years and was on the Spring Valley Mutual Insurance Board for 12 years. He was a charter member of the Racine Lions, the Racine Saddle Club and a farm advocacy group — the Southeast Minnesota Resource Center in St. Charles. He enjoyed being a 4-H leader in Sumner Center when his kids were young. He and his wife enjoyed going to Arizona in the winter for many years after they became (re)tired farmers. He also enjoyed fishing and RV camping, square dancing and playing cards. He loved time spent with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Donna; one son, Henry (Sandi) of rural Racine; three daughters, Marcella Boyer of Vancouver, Wash., Susan (Bruce) Hemphill of Apache Junction, Ariz., and Arlis (Bruce) Vrieze–Duncan of Plainview; one grandson, Carter Duncan of Millville, Minn.; five stepgrandchildren; seven stepgreat-grandchildren; two brothers, Kenneth (Joanne) Vrieze of rural Racine and Floyd Vrieze of Storm Lake, Iowa; sister-in-law, Maxine Vrieze of rural Racine; first born nephew, David (Judy) Patton and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Dave Boyer; four sisters and brothers-in-law, Harriet (Everett) Rolli, Vivian (Earl) Rodenz, Eleanor (Dean) Squire and Dorothy (Bob) Burmeister; brother and sister-in-law, William (Franklyn) and Donna Vrieze; brother, Calvin Vrieze and sister-in-law, Dianne Vrieze.

The funeral service for him was held on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the United Methodist Church in Stewartville with the Rev. Bridget Sheely officiating. Burial with military graveside honors by Stewartville American Legion Post 164 followed at Hamilton Cemetery in rural Racine.

Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville.

On-line condolences and memories of him are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com.