Grace Andrew (Akerberg)
Grace Anne Andrew died peacefully on Monday, August 20, 2018 at the age of 97,with all five of her precious children near or at her side, and dozens of other loved ones, relatives, neighbors, and friends with her in spirit.
Grace was born Grace Anne Akerberg in Minneapolis on March 12, 1921, to Algot E. and Stiena Akerberg. She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Lt. Col. Robert Carl Akerberg, and her husband, Charles F. Andrew.
As a child of the Great Depression there were many hardships. When the family ran out of money, they moved in with two aunts into a home in south Minneapolis where Grace enjoyed a childhood of thousands of happy hours at Powderhorn Park sledding, roller and ice skating, and playing with her many neighborhood friends.
Grace’s mother secured work at the original Investors Diversified Service and struggled for several years to save the $250 down payment for a modest house near Lake Nokomis where she moved Grace and her brother.
Grace loved her school years, attending Bryant Junior High and Central High School in Minneapolis, where she met the only true love of her life, Chuck Andrew, a popular Roosevelt High student.
The couple was married the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked, and they heard President Roosevelt’s infamous speech by radio the next day as they celebrated their marriage at the small Port Arthur Café on Lake and Hennepin, with their best friends.
Chuck joined the Army in 1942 and served several years in Europe. While stationed in Oregon, Grace served as an army wife and civilian employee of the Army Corps of Engineers. She returned to Minneapolis when allied forces were landing at Normandy.
Grace also loved her church life where, in 1956, she and Chuck joined Asbury Methodist Church in South Minneapolis(later renamed Living Spirit) and enrolled all their children in Sunday school, confirmation, and, for some, choir, while insisting that each be baptized and confirmed there. Grace was devoted to her spiritual life and led many activities at church, including serving on church committees and several decades singing in the choir and playing piano.
Grace never had a piano lesson but was blessed with an amazing talent for playing piano “by ear.” She often accompanied and played piano for her husband, Chuck, as he sang in hundreds of rehearsals and performances at public events, radio and television, places of worship, weddings, funerals, national anthems, and recordings.
She worked as a full-time legal secretary from 1970 until her retirement at the age of 75.
At age 78, she enrolled for the first time as a college student and graduated at 82 with high honors from Normandale Community College in 2002, with a focus on her academic loves of history and English. She was a strict grammarian and lovingly corrected her children’s grammar right up until her last days.
For many decades, Grace was deeply involved local and state politics. She was a reliable and tireless volunteer for progressive candidates, having been elected local and state DFL party delegate several times.
She was an avid reader and read the Bible in its entirety three times, and she particularly enjoyed books on historical and world events. She loved progressive political talk shows and remained well-versed in local, state, and national news.
As of her passing, Grace had five children, five grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, all of whom she cherished with equal and continuing adoration.
Grace Anne Andrew is survived by her sons Michael (Jeanne Pickering), Mark (Connie), daughters Mary, Maureen (Jay Hanson), and Michelle (Bruce Quarry); grandchildren Paul Anderson, Kyle Andrew, Ralph (“Tony”)Wright, Samantha Andrew, and John Andrew; great grandchildren, Natallya Anderson and Tyler Anderson.
The family is grateful to Breck Homes in Bloomington, MN, for the tender and loving care the staff provided to Grace. These “workers” and their executives astonished us with their humanity and kindness to all. Memorials should be sent to Planned Parenthood of Minnesota.
A memorial service will be on Friday, September 7, 2018. 10:00 a.m. visitation, 11:00 a.m. service; reception to follow. Living Spirit Church, 4501 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407.