November 18, 2020
Audrey Blanche Zempel 1928 - 2020 Who was “the back-row lady” in church on Sunday mornings? Who had a special knack for finding four- leaf clovers? Who was known for beautiful calligraphy handwriting? Who loved butterflies and cardinals? Who was that sweet lady that always shared a smile? She was Audrey Blanche Zempel. Born November 4, 1928 in Willmar, MN to Grover and Selma (Nydahl) Inlay. The oldest of six children, she had three brothers and two sisters. The “three sisters” shared in a special bond throughout their lives. As little girls they would open their apartment window and “sing” for the passersby and patrons of the businesses below. They reveled in the “applause” that could be heard coming from the street. As a teenager Audrey held a job at a local grocery store. She graduated from Willmar High School in 1946 and began a career as a bookkeeper for a local business. It was through a mutual friend, that she met and in 1948 married LeRoy Zempel. They welcomed two children, Cheryl and Alan. In 1950 LeRoy and his brothers opened Zempel Brothers Painting and Decorating in down town Granite Falls and by 1959 the store on highway 212 was built. Audrey did all of the bookkeeping for the business and managed the paint store. Audrey became a member of the Granite Falls United Church of Christ in 1950. She valued her Church community greatly and served as Treasurer, a Sunday school teacher and according to the Church, “served on virtually every board and committee” over the last seventy years. Until her passing she still kept the Memorial Book up to date and would send out cards from the church during times of joy or sorrow. She, for many years, devoted herself to reading the Bible for fifteen minutes every day, which would allow her to read all sixty-six books in a calendar year. Her church family lovingly dubbed her, “the back-row lady,” due to her penchant for always sitting in the back pew. She appreciated and quietly enjoyed the attention. Many recall her smile as they walked past that pew. Audrey loved social interaction and enjoyed the company of her “Tuesday evening” lady friends, a group she would meet for over four decades. A canasta enthusiast, she loved playing cards and greatly enjoyed the company and competition at the Senior Center and at Henry Hill. She enjoyed cooking and baking for her family and friends. Her cinnamon jumbles, special Easter cookies, from scratch pies, and sweet potatoes were always hot commodities. Yet, never without determination, she was exemplary in minding her health – as demonstrated by allowing herself just one Dairy Queen Blizzard per year. She was a voracious reader and loved literature. She wrote original poetry and could recite the work of other poets, especially poems she learned as a child. As a member of a group called “The Wordos,” she of course loved a good turn of phrase, a witty pun or word joke. She was a dutiful fan of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. She loved working morning puzzles at breakfast time and enjoyed puzzling of all types saying it was, “good exercise for the brain.” Yet, perhaps her most unique hobby was as a pen pal. She shared decades long connections with multiple pen pals but shared a special bond with her pen pal from North Carolina. For seventy-nine years they faithfully exchanged letters. Faith, family, and friends were of the utmost importance to Audrey. She taught others, simply by her example, about the power of positivity and determination. It is her kindness, her gentle nature and her smile - one that even permeated her voice, that people will recall fondly. Audrey, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend passed away at Avera Hospital in Granite Falls on Wednesday, November 18, at the age of 92, from complications due to COVID-19. Audrey was preceded in death by her husband LeRoy, her parents, three brothers and one sister. She is survived by her children, Cheryl Lee Steinman (Roger) of Lake Wilson, Alan Edward (Michele) Zempel of Granite Falls, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and her sister Patricia Kallevig of Minneapolis. Arrangements are through Wing-Bain Funeral Home. A celebration of life will be held this coming spring.
Audrey Blanche Zempel 1928 - 2020 Who was “the back-row lady” in church on Sunday mornings?... View Obituary & Service Information
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Audrey Blanche Zempel 1928 - 2020
Who was “the back-row lady”...
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