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Bernita “Nita” Harriet Werner (nee Grove)

Bernita “Nita” Harriet Werner (nee Grove)

September 19, 1936 - August 2, 2017

Bernita (“Nita”) Werner passed away on August 2, 2017, at North Memorial Health Hospital, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, at the age of 80.

Bernita Harriet Grove was born on September 19, 1936, to Iver Cornelius Grove and Mae Karen (Johnson) Grove, in Madison, South Dakota. “Nita” as she was always known, is the youngest of three children. She was raised on a farm, and would consider herself having been a tomboy. She loved to be outside with her brother Lyle as a child, and she was then his biggest fan as he aspired to be a Country singer and performed for her as his adoring audience. Nita left the farm with her big sister Illa, to move into Madison and attended high school in Madison, then graduated from Howard High School in Howard, South Dakota. Illa is like a second mother to Nita and very protective of her. As a senior at Howard High school, Nita was voted by her classmates as having the “Prettiest Complexion.” The family’s rural church was Belleview Lutheran Church in Howard, SD, aka “THE Old Country Church,” which closed its doors in June 2016, and it IS church to Nita.

Nita met Marvin (“Marv”) Martin Werner in Fedora, SD, and on September 5, 1954, they were married at Norwegian Lutheran Church in Huron, SD and a reception was held at Belleview Lutheran Church in Howard, SD. The couple resided in Huron, South Dakota, for approximately two years, which was where their first two children were born, daughter Karen Lynn (Werner) Nick (John), and son Michael Ray Werner. The family then lived in Madison, South Dakota, for approximately two years, before moving to Greater Minneapolis), Minnesota, where Jay Alan Werner was born, and a stillborn son, “Mark” was lost. The family continues to reside in the Twin Cities today, except for daughter Karen and John, who reside in Phoenix, Arizona.

Nita was a homemaker until her oldest child reached junior high age, and then she began a long career as a part-time server (aka “waitress”) in fine-dining restaurants in the Twin Cities. She took pride in her work and greatly enjoyed her co-workers and her regular patrons who would request seating at her tables.

Nita loved to participate on weekly bowling teams when her children were young, and had a 166 average. She always said, jokingly(?), that when her kids were grown, she planned to go on tour in bowling tournaments—she wasn’t going to stay home and take care of grandchildren. These were famous last words, as bowling, and her children, took a back seat to her grandchildren, and, later on, her grandchildren would take a back seat to her great-grandchildren.

Marv and Nita took up golfing—or “cow-pasture pool.” And it became not unusual for the two of them to golf 9, 18, or even 36 holes together on a weekend day; they truly loved golfing together and with other family and friends.

Another family pastime when the children were young was boating and water skiing, primarily on Bass Lake and Prior Lake, with family friends.

Nita has been a selfless and giving wife, mother, and friend. She was a quiet force—not one to meddle in her children’s business. She is a peacemaker and loved harmony among her family members and never herself rocked the boat. She is remembered as the mother who prepared the foods her children requested, nursed her children when ill, humored them when they wanted special clothing/accessories popular with their peers, supported them in all endeavors, whether it be school, church, sports or performances of any sort. She often played taxi cab, getting her children the places they needed or simply wanted to go. She was “always there” for her family members’ needs, at the exclusion of her own needs. She tended grandchildren and grand-doggies alike. And

she loved receiving photos of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She has a loving heart.

Nita is survived by one sister Illa (Grove) Berg, one brother Lyle Grove (Carol Sapp), her husband, Marvin; her daughter Karen (John Thomas Nick, D.V.M.); her sons Michael and Jay Werner. She is also survived by her grandchildren and step-grandchildren: Brandon Robert Riggs (Sonja Haasch); Bridger Michael Riggs; Brittney Dawn (Riggs) Thurston (Jacob); Travis John Nick, D.V.M. (Kathryn Stafford); Tyler David Nick; Lauren Leigh (Nick) Kalna (Christopher); and Jason Michael Werner.

Surviving great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren include Gavin Brandon Riggs, Kylee Nicole Riggs, Ian David Riggs, Braeden Joshua Riggs, Porter Kody Thurston, Colt Jacob Thurston, Raven Jade Hollingshead, Skye Rose Haasch, Nathan Christopher Kalna, Austin John Kalna, Brody Scott Thomas Kalna, Autumn Leigh Kalna, Kaylee Ann Werner, Gage Michael Werner, Cody Joseph Werner, and Charlie Leroy Werner.

Surviving Werner nephews include Ralph Werner and Robert “Bob” Werner (Linda Eldridge). Surviving Berg niece and nephews include Anita “Ann” Mae Berg (Julie Roberts); Thomas Christian Berg (Pat Connolly); and Scott Eldon Berg (Teresa Stammer). Surviving Grove nieces include Janell (Grove) Milton (Terry); Debra (Grove) Roddel (Jim); Darla (Grove) Adolphsen (Arlyn); and Amy Jo (Grove) Remmele (Tom). And she is survived by many great-nieces and nephews.

Nita is also survived by former sons and daughters-in-law Robert Macdonald Riggs, Peggy (Fiedler) Stewart, and former granddaughters-in-law, Michelle Ann Nelson, and Janie Kay Hanson. She loves and accepts both current and former in-laws alike.

Nita was preceded in death by her father, Iver Cornelius Grove; her mother, Mae Karen (Johnson) Grove; her parents-in-law, John A. Werner and Florence Lydia (Carpenter) Werner; a brother-in-law, Eugene A. Werner; two sisters-in-law, Lois Mary Werner and Helen Mary Werner; one stillborn baby son she called “Mark” Werner; one great-granddaughter, Aleah Kinsie Riggs; and nieces, Lois Jean Werner, Charlene Grove, and nephew Jeffrey Grove.

Any name exclusions above are purely inadvertent, and forgiveness is sought for the oversight(s).

A casual urn Committal Service will be held from 10:05 to 10:20 a.m. Friday morning, August 11, 2017, at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, 7601 34th AVE S, Minneapolis, MN 55450. (All guests must arrive 15 minutes early at Assembly Area 1.)

A casual Celebration of Life will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Friday, August 11, 2017, Reception Room, Cremation Society of Minnesota—Brooklyn Park Chapel, 7835 Brooklyn BLVD, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445.

Memorials in Nita’s honor may be donated to American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, or National Alliance on Mental Illness.