Janet Nielsen Gratz

Died: April 18, 2017
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Janet Nielsen Gratz, 71, passed on to the next place on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at Mountain View Care Center in Tucson, Arizona. She was born July 13, 1945, in Coffeyville, Kansas, to Howard “Hod” Nielsen and Anita O’Rielly Nielsen.

Ms. Gratz grew up in Rapid City and Yankton, South Dakota. She graduated from Yankton High School in Yankton, South Dakota, in 1963, where she was the class valedictorian. After high school, she attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and mathematics. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1966, completing her degree in just three years. In 1973, Ms. Gratz received her Master of Science degree from Minnesota State University at Mankato.

Ms. Gratz taught English and mathematics in Fairmont, Minnesota, Kodiak, Alaska, and Hastings, Minnesota. For twenty years, she was the executive director of Hastings Family Service, a private, non-profit community services agency in Hastings, Minnesota. She retired from Hastings Family Service in 2004, and moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 2005.

Janet married Loren Gratz in 1970, in Yankton, South Dakota. They were happily married for 46 years. Janet was a member of the AAUW, the Twin Cities Diabetes Association and the Marana Book Club, as well as churches in Hastings, Minnesota, and Marana, Arizona. She enjoyed baking, quilting, gardening, books, dogs, word puzzles, and travel. She also received several awards, including Businesswoman of the Year in Hastings, Minnesota, and the Helen Keller Sight Award from the Hastings Lions Club.

Janet is survived by her spouse, Loren, of Marana, Arizona; her sons, Nathan Gratz of Tucson, Arizona, Evan (JoHanna) Gratz of Marana, Arizona; her sister, Karen (Wes) Wingett, of Norfolk, Nebraska, and her brother, Richard Nielsen of Lincoln, Nebraska, along with many other relatives and friends.

Janet was preceded in death by her parents, Howard “Hod” and Anita Nielsen of Yankton, South Dakota.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at a later date. Burial will be at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Marana, Arizona.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to Hastings Family Service, 301 E. 2nd Street, Hastings, MN 55033 or to Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N Del Norte Paseo, Tucson, AZ 85704. Condolences may be left on the Marana Mortuary and Cemetery’s online guest book at www.MaranaMortuaryCemetery.com.

The family’s address in Arizona is: 8853 N Misty Brook Drive, Tucson, AZ 85743.

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Timeline for Janet Gratz

Died: April 18, 2017

Condolences for Janet Gratz

Marana Mortuary & Cemetery

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.


Greg Kuderer posted on 4/21/17

Very sorry to hear about Janet's passing. She was an extraordinary teacher who truly cared about her students. She was most memorable for her intelligence, passion for education, and both inward and outward beauty. Those of us fortunate to have her as an instructor were enriched by her ability to make our classes interesting, informative and applicable. My deepest condolences to her family.


Susan Weiger posted on 4/21/17

Sincere condolences to the Nielsen/Gratz family. It was an honor to have shared many childhood memories with her. Such as: Girl Scouts, dressing up in Bunny Costumes for Easter, marching in YHS band, and making YHS floats for homecoming parade. Special Thanks to Karen, Loren, and Bitsy for sharing Janet with her classmates at our YHS 50th Class Reunion. Wow, did stories and old memories fly and they were all great to hear. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time of loss. We will certainly miss Janet's many kind and gentle smiles. Sincerely, Susan Weiger YHS friend.


James Johnson posted on 4/22/17

I am very sorry to learn of Janet's passing. There are many memories of our time in Hastings, get togethers, sports events with the kids and Jo and Janet's relationship at Hastings Family Service. Sincere condolences to the family. Jim and Lona Johnson - Woodbury MN


David & Dottie Briggs posted on 4/22/17

We are so saddened to learn of Janet's passing. Loren, it has been a long and difficult journey for you, Janet, and your family. Find comfort is knowing that Janet is no longer suffering, and is at peace with her Lord and Savior. 46 years of marriage sounds like a ling time, but we now that with a relationship like yours and Janet's that time passed by all too quickly. Gather your family and friends around you to cherish the many happy memories in your family's life with Janet.. May God bless you, Nathan, Evan, and the rest of your extended family. With love, David and Dottie Briggs - Whitney, TX


Rick Schlander, Rachel Lee & Family posted on 4/23/17

We are so saddened to hear of Janet's passing. I we knew her through my mother (Paulette) for years in Hastings. She was such a nice lady and I am so sorry for your loss. My mother and her had many conversations over coffee at our house and I felt like she was part of the family for many years. My condolences through this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


Carl Liaupsin posted on 4/23/17

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Love, Patty and Carl Liaupsin


Henry and Mary Chun posted on 4/23/17

We are so sadden by the lost of Janet. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Our memories of us being together in San Diego after not seeing each other since 1970 will always be with us.


Diane SmIth posted on 4/24/17

Janet was such a beautiful person. I enjoyed working with her as a board member when she was director of Hastings Family Service. She had a gentle, caring spirit that touched many lives. Sincere sympathies to her family.


Ardis Koenecke posted on 4/24/17

Loren and family. So sorry to hear of your losing Janet. We know she struggled for a long time. Will always remember your family and the good times we had when you lived next door. I guess the last time I saw you was when your Mom died.Sincere sympathy to you all. Love, Ardis Koenecke.


Mark Moberg posted on 4/28/17

I am so sorry to hear this. May God bless you and your family during this time of loss. Those we love will always live on in our hearts and memories!


Karen Altpeter posted on 4/30/17

I will forever remember Janet for her warm smile, or delightful giggle, and her gentle nature. She was the perfect person to lead HFS to the next level and she did so with grace and energy. She left us way too soon, but it was our blessing to have had her touch our lives. Warmly, Karen Altpeter


Scott Marshall posted on 5/1/17

Loren and Family I am so sorry for your loss. Janet was a very wonderful and special person. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The ones we love may leave us but there never gone as long as we remember and rejoice in our memories with them. Scott Marshall Family Hastings Mn.


Mike posted on 6/12/17

I only recently heard of Janet's death. I was always impressed by her work with the Hastings Family Service. She and Loren were important leaders in Hastings and the surrounding communities. My condolences to Janet's family.