Rachel Kroontje, 74, of rural Kenneth, died Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at the Sanford Luverne Hospice Cottage as a result of glioblastoma brain cancer.
A funeral service was Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Bethel Reformed Church in Leota. Burial of cremains will be at a later date.
Rachel Faye Baker was born on Sept. 16, 1944, to Peter and Jennie (Bakker) Baker and grew up on the family farm east of Edgerton. She attended Edgerton Christian grade school, graduated from Southwest Christian High School in 1962, and studied at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, to be a teacher.
She married John C. Kroontje on Dec. 22, 1964, at Edgerton Christian Reformed Church, just before John returned to the military service during the Vietnam War.
Rachel taught for three years at Prinsburg Christian Grade School in Prinsburg before starting a family. While her classroom career was short, her teaching spirit continued throughout her life in church, at work, and at the piano where she instilled her love of music to many piano students.
She and John spent the first few years of their marriage near Magnolia before putting down roots in a farming operation near Kenneth. She maintained a large garden and took pride in a well-stocked root cellar that fed the family year-round.
In 1984 Rachel took a job at Fey Industries in Edgerton where she started on the factory floor and later transferred to the company’s customer service department. She wrote the training manual for new employees, and for many years her voice greeted callers on the company’s phone greeting directory. She retired in 2010.
Rachel was a member of Leota Bethel Reformed Church where she was actively involved with youth for many years. She was a Sunday school teacher for over 50 years, starting at the age of 15 at her home church in Edgerton. She and John served nearly 10 years as youth group leaders in their early years of marriage.
Rachel enjoyed walking and bicycling. She many times completed the 19-mile Sioux Falls bike trail, and on her 60th birthday pedaled a 32-mile trail of “moderate” difficulty during a vacation in Wisconsin.
Rachel is survived by her husband, John Kroontje; five daughters, Lisa and Byron Pals, Pipestone, Lori and Matthew Sorenson, rural Garretson, Linda and Eric Rice, Sioux Falls, Lana and Glen Grabill, Jackson, and Lavelle and Dave Bobrowsky, Cass Lake; 13 grandchildren, Cassandra Pals, Taylor and Brittany Pals, Sawyer Pals, Jonathan Ehde, Carson Ehde, Alexx Sorenson, Timothy Cordell, Ashley Rice, Gary Grabill, Leslie (Grabill) and Sean Willaby, Katie (Grabill) Clark, Cody Grabill, and David Bobrowsky; a sister-in-law, Esther Baker, Rock Valley, Iowa; 23 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Virgil Baker.
Arrangements were provided by Hartquist Funeral Home of Luverne, www.hartquistfuneral.com.