Grace Louise Silkey, age 96, of Northfield, MN died peacefully at home on Saturday morning, May 6, 2023.
Grace was born on August 18, 1926, to John and Mary (Crawford) Gruber, who lived and farmed near Shieldsville. Her early education was in a one-room schoolhouse. She graduated from Faribault High School in 1944. On May 2, 1946, she married Austin Dominic Silkey at the Immaculate Conception Church in Faribault. Together Austin and Grace owned and operated a dairy farm in Bridgewater Township near Dundas, while raising their growing family. In the 1960s, Grace studied International Relations and Political Science at the University of Minnesota. The family moved to Arizona in 1969 where Austin worked as a carpenter. Eventually he and Grace started a small construction company called Grace Homes. In 2003, they returned to Minnesota. Austin died later that year.
In 2005 Grace co-founded Silkey Gardens with her son Paul. The Gardens were very special to her. She helped run the business, and also made jam from the berries and other fruit they produced. She could often be seen at the sales desk, chatting with customers and enjoying watching the very youngest customers pick berries.
Grace had many interests in addition to raising her family and farming. She was an avid reader and researcher and was passionate about politics. She enjoyed crocheting, bowling, and playing cards. She was very interested in cooking, baking, and writing. Grace loved socializing and knew many folks in the Shieldsville, Faribault, and Northfield areas. She was especially interested in family history and in encouraging newer generations to be informed of their heritage and their family connections.
Grace was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her brothers Louis, George, and Jack Gruber, and her sisters Marie McDonald, Anna Huss, and Alice Langer. She was also preceded in death by her son David and by four children who died in infancy: Colleen, Maureen, Wayne, and Joseph.
Grace is survived by one sister, Irene Green, and by ten children: Ronald, Jeannine, John, Geniece, William, Christopher, Sheldon, Nora, Paul, and Mariabeth. Also surviving are 18 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter.
Graveside services will be held at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Shieldsville on May 9th, next to her twin brother George, and near her parents and other relatives.
The family prefers that donations be directed to Ruth’s House in Faribault in memory of Grace.
There will be a celebration of life for Grace on Saturday, August 12, 2023 from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. at St. Patrick Church in Shieldsville, luncheon to be served in the social hall at 1:00 p.m.
Arrangements are being completed by the Parker Kohl Funeral Home & Crematory of Faribault.