Sonia Ann (Buerkle) Grasmon, age 68, of Olivia, MN died surrounded by loved ones March 31, 2021, after fighting cancer for three months. A private service will be held at Cross Of Calvary Lutheran Church in Olivia with Pastor Matt Hausken officiating. Burial will be at St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery in rural Gibbon. Masks and social distancing will be required.  Arrangements are with Dirks-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia.

A live stream of the service will be available on Tuesday, April 6, starting at 1 p.m.:

Sonia was born May 28, 1952, to Delmer and Lydia (Niebuhr) Buerkle. She joined three older brothers as part of a big, faith-filled, tight-knit family. She embraced life on their farm near Gibbon, both the hard work and the fun.

She attended St. Peter’s Lutheran School and graduated from Gibbon High School. She completed two years at South Dakota State University, then finished her degree at Mankato State where she met lifelong friends, was in Luther League, ran track and volunteered. During the summers, she was a cook at Camp Knutson near Cross Lake.

Sonia was a gifted and patient educator, working with people of all ages. She began her career at the Minnesota School for the Blind in Faribault. She spent 15 years teaching home economics and advising FHA at Danube/Danube-Renville-Sacred Heart Schools. She worked as activity coordinator at the Bird Island Manor, then was coordinator and teacher for the BOLD Early Childhood Family Education program. She left this role and began substitute teaching as her daughters grew older, so she would never miss one of their evening activities. She later returned as parent educator for BOLD, GFW and McLeod County West ECFE programs, taught at Tri-Valley Headstart, and continued subbing into 2018.

While teaching in Danube, Sonia met Mark Grasmon. They were married July 11, 1981, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Moltke Township, where she was also baptized and confirmed. Sonia became a stepmother to Erin, and she and Mark later welcomed daughters Karen and Sara. She loved being a mom and set an example as a strong, independent, compassionate woman. She and Mark made a great team. They faced her first battle with cancer in 1993-94, her heart issues in 2018, and many ups and downs of life. They enjoyed day trips and picnics, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, fishing, baseball games, and visiting family and friends.

It was not uncommon for Sonia to spend late nights cooking, baking or sewing. She was a talented seamstress, a skill learned from her grandmothers. She had fun sewing many projects which usually became gifts. She enjoyed tending flower gardens, growing and preserving produce, taking long walks, and reading. She was quick to make friends, lend a hand, give a hug, and share words of encouragement.

Most importantly, Sonia was a woman of deep faith. She prioritized Bible studies and daily devotions. She was an active member of Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church in Olivia since 1975, including as Sunday school and vacation Bible school teacher, altar guild member, centennial cookbook coordinator, choir member, and bulletin board decorator. In subtle, steady ways, Sonia was a witness to Christ as her Savior and helped many grow in their faith. Sonia’s warm, caring spirit radiated to others. Her light and love were cherished and will be missed by many.

Sonia is survived by her husband of nearly 40 years Mark, stepdaughter Erin (husband Jeff) Bradley of Overland Park, KS; daughter Karen Grasmon of Hutchinson; daughter Sara (partner Reid Vernon) Grasmon of Minneapolis; brothers Darwin (Sue) Buerkle of Gibbon; JeRay (Sue) Buerkle of Ramsey; Wendell (Myrna) Buerkle of Gibbon; mother-in-law Dorothy Grasmon of White Bear Lake; sister-in-law Mary Daley of White Bear Lake; aunt Melva Peterson of Bloomington; her many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; father-in-law Kermit Grasmon; sister-in-law Lenora Buerkle; brother-in-law Paul Daley; great-niece Hope Buerkle; grandparents; many aunts and uncles; cousins, and numerous dear friends.

In lieu of flowers, Sonia requested donations be made “to spread kindness and help people” through community organizations, projects or gifts directly to those who could use support. Suggestions include Gideons, Santa’s Closet, Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church, Renville County Hospice, local shelters, and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Blessed Be Her Memory