Cover photo for Rachel F. Kroontje's Obituary
Rachel F. Kroontje Profile Photo
1944 Rachel 2019

Rachel F. Kroontje

September 16, 1944 — September 6, 2019

Memorials may be directed to the Southwest Minnesota Christian High School Tuition Assistance Fund.

RACHEL FAYE KROONTJE was born on Sept. 16, 1944, to Peter and Jennie (Bakker) Baker, and she grew up on the family farm east of Edgerton. She attended Edgerton Christian grade school and graduated from Southwest Christian High School in 1962. She then furthered her education at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, to be a teacher.

She married John C. Kroontje on Dec. 22, 1964, at Edgerton Christian Reformed Church, just before John returned to the military service during the Vietnam War.

Rachel taught for three years at Prinsburg Christian Grade School in Prinsburg, Minnesota before starting a family. While her classroom career was short, her teaching spirit continued throughout her life in church, at work, and at the piano where she instilled her love of music in the many piano lesson students she taught through the years.

She and John spent the first few years of their marriage farming by Magnolia before putting down roots in a farming operation near Kenneth. She maintained a large garden and took pride in a well-stocked root cellar that fed the family year-round.

In 1984 Rachel took a job at Fey Industries in Edgerton where she started on the factory floor and later transferred to company’s customer service department. She wrote the training manual for new employees and for many years her voice greeted callers on the company’s phone greeting directory. She retired in 2010.

Rachel was a member of Leota Bethel Reformed Church where she loved the youth and was actively involved with them for many years. She was a Sunday school teacher for over 50 years, starting at the age of 15 at her home church in Edgerton. She and John served nearly 10 years as youth group leaders in their early years of marriage.

Rachel was always physically active and greatly enjoyed walking and bicycling. She many times completed the 19-mile Sioux Falls bike trail, and on her 60th birthday pedaled a 32-mile trail of “moderate” difficulty during a vacation in Wisconsin.

In May of 2015 she was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer, which has an average survival rate of 13 months. After surgeons removed the tumor, she went on to enjoy four more years of vibrant health (amid two treatable recurrences) and many priceless moments with her loved ones who realized every day is a gift.

This summer, the cancer showed up in her spinal column, causing debilitating pain and paralysis. After a not-so successful surgery and a series of high-dose radiation treatments, she said, “No more,” and turned her attention to meeting Jesus.

Rachel is lovingly remembered by her husband of 54 years, John Kroontje, five daughters, Lisa and Byron Pals, Pipestone; Lori and Matthew Sorenson, rural Garretson; Linda and Eric Rice, Sioux Falls; Lana and Glen Grabill, Jackson; and Lavelle and Dave Bobrowsky, Cass Lake; 13 grandchildren, Cassandra Pals, Taylor and Brittany Pals, Sawyer Pals, Jonathan Ehde, Carson Ehde, Alexx Sorenson, Timothy Cordell, Ashley Rice, Gary Grabill, Leslie (Grabill) and Sean Willaby, Katie (Grabill) Clark, Cody Grabill, and David Bobrowsky; a sister-in-law, Esther Baker, Rock Valley, Iowa; 23 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and many other relatives and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Virgil Baker.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Rachel F. Kroontje, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, September 9, 2019

4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

Bethel Reformed Church - Leota

11632 110th St, Leota, MN 56153

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Starts at 10:30am (Central time)

Bethel Reformed Church - Leota

11632 110th St, Leota, MN 56153

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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