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Gertrude “Sis” Evelyn Risnes of Pine River, MN, age 101, born April 6, 1920, in Winslow, Ill to Ben and Dorothy Kline, died November 24, 2021. The Kline family moved to Pine River in 1929 and Sis attended school there from 5th grade to graduation in 1938. Sis became interested in sewing, inspired by her mother and a Home Ec teacher, and became accomplished as an exceptional seamstress. In 1941 she married Glenn Risnes in Pequot Lakes. Three children were born to them. Glenn was in the Navy and gone much of the war. After they divorced in 1947, Sis moved back to Pine River to be near family. With the aid of both the Kline and Risnes families and by application of her skills in sewing and hair dressing, Sis worked to provide and care for her family as a single parent. She sewed or altered prom dresses, wedding dresses, Halloween costumes, dresses, pants, etc., and had a skill for creating patterns of things she saw in magazines or stores. Later, in Pine River, Sis began working at Silbaugh’s Department Store and then Carl’s Supermarket, where she became well known to many in the community. At Carl’s she enjoyed working with students from the on-the-job-training program. Many of those students became life-long friends. She retired from Carl’s in 1982 to help care for her aging mother. Sis, her sister, Mody, and brother, Bud, all shared duties, staying with their mother through her final illness until she died at age 100.
In her retirement, Sis became an active member of the Pine River Methodist Church, Heritage Group North and Pine Ridge Cemetery Association (started by her own grandmother, Nora Kline). She worked on the election board for many years, was on the Pine River Housing Authority Board, and received a volunteer award from the Cass County Lutheran Social Services Senior Nutrition Program.
Sis’ long retirement also gave her opportunity to spend more time with her grandchildren. She did many babysitting stints in her home and often traveled to the twin cities to care for grandkids while their parents were vacationing. The children preferred to spend time with their grandma rather than traveling with their parents. Sis evolved with the grandkids’ growth from childhood to adulthood, from early days picking berries and rock collecting to taking road trips with those same grandkids when they became adults and parents. She was calm and non-judgmental, welcoming to their activities and career choices, willing to give advice when asked, and sympathetic to their concerns and problems. She always sent a kind card on special occasions and continued that practice with her great grandchildren.
Beginning in 1996, Sis lived in Heartland Apartments. She enjoyed being able to visit and dine with her many friends there and to check in on friends when they needed help. Sis was fortunate to have many of her resident friends do the same for her when she needed long term help following a foot injury. She often told her children she was very happy living at Heartland, that things kept getting better and better and that she never had it so good. Sis also had a nickname change her last few years, being referred affectionately by her friends at Heartland as “Mom” instead of “Sis”.
Sis is survived by children: Phillip Risnes (Dorothy), Glenda Edgeton (Russell) and Danny Risnes(Claudia); sister-in-law, Jean Kline; grandchildren: Pamela Ramirez Graves, Stephanie Kapfer, Heather Paul, Ryan Edgeton, Chris Risnes and Matthew Risnes; 17 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by parents, Ben and Dorothy Kline; sisters, Rachel Swift (husband Bill) and Marjorie “Mody” Gardiner (husband Kenneth); brother, Donald “Bud” Kline; former husband, Glenn Risnes; infant grandson, Todd Russell Edgeton; and nephew, Scott Kline.
Services were held Saturday, December 4 at Kline Funeral Home in Pine River, MN. Burial was in Pine Ridge Cemetery, Pine River. Memorials may be made to the Pine Ridge Cemetery Association.
A recording of the service is below.
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