John W. Grundman

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John William Grundman was born May 17, 1954, at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in Alexandria, to Harold and Agnes (Ferrian) Grundman. Emergency Baptism occurred in the hospital as his condition was severe, requiring emergency surgery to connect his esophagus to his stomach, rather than to his lung. He survived bouts of pneumonia, asthma and other lung conditions as a result, which he championed over in his adult years by staying active, eating healthy and being in warmer climates, including Mexico, Texas and California. He then settled in Eagle Pass, Texas, for his last 18 years, where he passed away from natural causes Aug. 29, 2023.

John, affectionately known as “Johnnie”, graduated from Brooten High School in 1972, after which he spent 10 years in Minnesota doing mostly farm labor and working at vegetable processing plants. He then traveled and worked across the country to places including California, Idaho, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Texas and Mexico. His work included sales, construction labor, hotel/motel work, seasonal vegetable harvesting work, security, roofing and teaching English in various schools in Mexico. He was fluent in Spanish and loved to teach and help the underserved. He loved photography, gardening, classical music and could make beautiful pencil drawings, especially of horses and nature. 

John is survived by his daughter, Tracy (Ziad) Kallassy and granddaughter Paloma Kallassy of Arizona; siblings (all in Minnesota): Mark Grundman; Audrey (Greg) Radermacher; Julie (Merlin) Bruns; Emily (Jay) Backowski; Dan (Cindy) Grundman; Anthony (Mary) Grundman; Ann (Kenny) Proctor; sister-in-law Robin Grundman; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Steven Grundman, and nephews Luke Grundman and Andrew Backowski.

John suffered from mental illness much of his life and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006. John wrote, “The one, truly singular, most effective thing that has helped me endure this lifelong scourge, is my faith in God.” One of his favorite saints was St. Francis De Sales who wrote the book, Philothea, or “An Introduction to the Devout Life,” which he gifted many family members with in 2009. 

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was 11 a.m. May 18 at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Villard with the Rev. Joseph Vandeberg and the Rev. David Grundman officiating. Inurnment followed at Calvary Cemetery in Osakis.

“When you are at the end of your rope but keep persevering in faith, you are being filled with fortitude.” Definition of fortitude: “courage in pain or adversity.”