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Yrjo "Charlie" Gronquist

Yrjo "Charlie" Gronquist

Yrjo Kaarlo Johannes Gronquist, 94, better known as Charlie, of Cloquet, Minnesota died on March 10, 2018 at The Pines assisted living facility in Richfield, Minnesota.

Born in Jyvskyl, Finland in 1923, he was lovingly raised by his Uncle Einar and Aunt Signe in Kemi, after his mother passed away. He served in the Finnish army for three years during the Continuation War, when Finland was fighting for her survival against Stalin's Soviet Union, "the Evil Empire". He was wounded once in the summer of 1943, fortunately not seriously. Near the end of the war he was sent to reserve officers' school, and ended the war as a second lieutenant. Charlie considered himself very fortunate, since many of his close friends did not survive.

After the war he completed his undergraduate studies and medical school at the University of Helsinki. In 1951, he received a scholarship to study in the United States at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. While there he studied anesthesiology and surgery, and met his wife. In 1954, he married Jeanne D'Wolf, a Mayo Clinic physical therapist.

At Mayo he became good friends with Dr. Reino Puumala, who invited him to become a staff member at the newly built Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital. In 1958 after serving two years in the US Army Medical Corps the Gronquist family moved to Northern Minnesota. Dr. Gronquist served as Chief of Surgery, and had a private practice in Cloquet from 1958 to 1985. After retiring he worked for the State of Minnesota at the Moose Lake Regional Treatment Center from 1986 to 1994, as a Senior Staff Physician.

Charlie enjoyed hiking and cross country skiing in Jay Cooke State Park, photographing nature and family, and traveling with Jeanne. They fondly looked back on trips to the Kona Coast of Hawaii, Australia and many enjoyable cruises. Together they visited every state.

A lifelong learner, Charlie could always be found with the New England Journal of Medicine close at hand, even in his final days.

He is lovingly remembered by his four children, Anne Carlson (Gary), Judy Grant (Tom), Carl Gronquist (Beth) and Jim Gronquist; six grandchildren; three great grandchildren; and those who knew him and worked with him. He was preceded in death by his wife Jeanne, his Uncle and Aunt, Einar and Signe Oksa, and his father and mother, Yrj and Toini Grnqvist.

A separate announcement will be provided for the graveside service, to be held at a later date when the weather is warm and the ground is not frozen. See the family online guest book at www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.

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