Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Stanley Grinde

Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Stanley Grinde, 80, of Eden Prairie, MN, died peacefully on March 30, 2024, at Eden Prairie Senior Living. A gathering of family and friends will be held at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (Westby Observatory) in Spicer, MN on Thursday, May 23, from 1 to 4 p.m., with a tribute to Jerry at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Visit https://www.michaeljfox.org to learn more. Arrangements are by Dirks-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia.

Jerry was born September 4, 1943, in Sioux Falls, SD, the only son of Guy and Jensina (Aarbo) Grinde. His early years were spent in Colton, SD, where they farmed and owned the Aarbo & Grinde Grocery Store. In 1956, the Grinde family moved to Battle Lake, MN, where they continued to farm and owned another Aarbo & Grinde Grocery Store. Jerry graduated from Battle Lake High School in 1961. During high school, Jerry played baritone in the band, sang in choir, and played football, basketball and baseball. He was also a member of the student government, the lettermen’s club, involved in many class plays, and was voted “friendliest” (of course!) by his classmates. Jerry attended the University of Minnesota Duluth and was a member of Phi Alpha Theta fraternity.

During a trip home his sophomore year of college, he met the love of his life, Linda “Lin” Dufty, at a dance in the lower level of the library at Fergus Falls Community College. It was love at first sight. In short order, they were sweethearts, partners, parents and best friends. On September 1, 1963, Jerry and Lin were married at Hedemarken Lutheran Church in Rothsay, MN. In 1965, Jerry graduated Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota Duluth, with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters degree in History with minors in Political Science and Philosophy. After graduating, Jerry taught Political Science at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The next adventure was a move to Vienna, VA, as Jerry accepted a position as a regional analyst for the CIA. We still wonder exactly what he did… always a mystery! However, he decided that teaching was his calling. In 1970, the family moved to Illinois, and Jerry began teaching at Richland Community College while pursuing his Doctorate degree at the University of Illinois. In 1977, Dr. Grinde received his PhD in History from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He was a Professor of History and Political Science at Richland Community College and at Millikin University, both in Decatur, IL. Jerry was a member of several academic organizations, published in professional literature and also a consultant for the restoration of Civil War naval installations in Illinois. In 1980, the Grinde family moved to Willmar, MN. Jerry worked for the Regional Development Commission as an Economic Development Planner, then shifted his focus again to teach Political Science and History at Ridgewater College (Willmar and Hutchinson campuses) until he retired in 2014. Jerry was highly respected by his faculty peers and students. He kept in touch with many and was instrumental in furthering their academic careers. Jerry was an active member of Vinje Lutheran Church, where he and Lin were charter members of Vinje Folkedanselag, a Norwegian folk dancing group. Jerry and Lin loved lake life together at Eagle Lake and enjoyed gardening, canoeing, cooking, and planting a tree to mark the birth of each grandchild. After Lin’s death in 2003, Jerry moved to Hutchinson and enjoyed river life until he moved to Eden Prairie in 2019.

Jerry was a lifelong learner and an avid reader, always surrounded by a mountain of books, spending hours at the local library. During retirement, he served on the Hutchinson Library board. His love of nature and environmental conservation were a constant throughout his life, leading him on many hiking trips to the North Shore and joining the board at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer, MN. Jerry was always involved in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He could be found cheering on the sidelines at various sporting events, or enjoying their music concerts or plays. He was affectionately called, for obvious reasons, “Papa Hoho.”

Jerry’s absolute favorite place to be was at Wilderness Hideaway, his property on Stocking Lake in Park Rapids, MN. Being surrounded by the towering pines, family and the call of the loon was Jerry’s idea of paradise. He would entertain us around the campfire with his late night loon call impressions, endless stories and punny Dad jokes. Jerry was a kind, thoughtful and gentle soul, generous with his time, always willing to lend a listening ear and offer guidance. He was humble and incredibly intelligent. You were always lucky to be on his Trivial Pursuit team, as being his partner was a guaranteed victory. He was famous for his quick wit, sense of humor and his mischievous grin.

When you remember Jerry, picture him as we do, sitting by the lake with a thick book in his lap, a cold drink on one side and binoculars on the other. When you yell “hello” to him, he simply does a full arm wave from the shoulder very slowly. During Jerry’s final days, he was surrounded by family, love, and laughter. He knew he was loved by so many, and that Lin was waiting for him.

Jerry will be deeply missed by his children: Steven Jay (and Carole) Grinde of Deephaven, Kathleen Joy (and Brandt) Colville of Chanhassen, Alison Marie (and Greg) Westendorf of Bloomington, Susan Christine (and Andrew) Lang of Olivia, Kimberly Anne (and fiancé, Ryan Deaner) of Shakopee; Ten grandchildren: Angela Rose Crego, Andrew Guy Grinde, Robert William Grinde, Thomas Steven Colville, Rachel Kathleen Colville, Jennifer Lin Colville, Claire Alexandra Marie Westendorf, Elliot Andrew Lang, Jonas Stephen Lang, and Ella KiAnn Van Engen. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Guy and Jensina Grinde; his wife, Lin; and many dear extended family members.

Jerry’s family would like to express our sincere thanks to Summit Place and Eden Prairie Senior Living for their care and support. A special, heartfelt thank you to Shelly Carroll, for being Jerry’s advocate, caregiver, and friend.