ANACONDA – Gloria was born April 7, 1924, on a farm west of Zeeland, N.D., to Pauline and Rheinhart Bauer. She had two sisters and four brothers. All but one sister preceded her in death.
She spoke German until her first days in the one-room school west of the farm where she not only became fluent in English, but because left-handedness was discouraged, learned to use her right hand skillfully.
Depression years were recalled with fondness: “We all learned to work. The boys helped with animals and fields. Being the oldest girl, I helped my mother with cooking, baking, gardening … ” And she continued to bake bread and cookies, sharing them with friends and family, until shortly before her death.
She was 18 when she left the farm to study at a beauty school in Bismarck.
Then with her degree, she set off to seek her fortune in Napoleon, N.D., and found Gideon Grenz by accident. Flirting, he bumped into the young beauty with his car.
They married on Jan. 28, 1945, and went to live on the Grenz family farm, where she raised her four children until 1951, when they moved to Napoleon where her spirited pursuit of something better led her to open her own beauty shop.
Her husband was not always able to find work near home, and in 1955 when he called from Missoula to announce that he’d found a good job, she packed her family onto a train.
In Missoula, not only did she open her own beauty shop again, but she worked as a nurse’s aide from 3 to 11 at the Community Hospital. And she baked bread, washed clothes, prepared meals, assigned chores to her children, made sure they practiced their piano, raised a big garden and canned enough food to last until the next summer. She rarely sat down.
Then in 1966, Gideon died and she got her GED and a licensed practical nurse degree. She worked as an LPN in Missoula until she met Ralph Buchanan. On May 31, 1969, she married Ralph and moved to “the ranch” near Philipsburg. During their 35 years of marriage, she was a diligent homemaker, faithful church member, cordial hostess – inviting many friends to dinner and she generously gave of herself to her children and to her three stepchildren. Though outside employment was no longer necessary, she insisted on earning some of her own money by working at the Granite County Medical Center and cooking for a local café.
After Ralph died in 2004, she moved to Eugene, Ore., where she made many friends.
Her faith in God mingled with her passion for choosing her own path and led her to the Hearthstone in Anaconda, and for a brief stay at the Pioneer Courts in Philipsburg. She spent her last days in the Community Nursing Home of Anaconda. Surrounded by her children, she breathed her last breath and entered into her heavenly home, where she was eager to see her Savior.
She leaves behind her four children: Dean Grenz in Boulder, Mont., Dawne Schmautz in Rochester, Wash., Merle Grenz in Vine Grove, Ky., and Marji Scott in Leaburg, Ore.; and three stepchildren: Joanne Husbyn (Bruce) in Philipsburg, Judy Carpenter in Missoula, and Chuck Houtz in Philipsburg. She also has 19 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
Celebration of life services will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at the Philipsburg Community Church. Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Napoleon Cemetery, Napoleon, N.D.
Longfellow-Finnegan-Riddle Funeral Home is entrusted with Gloria’s funeral arrangements.