Dr. Seuss carried an important message to the celebration of life on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Owatonna Country Club for Wayne and Donna Grubish, longtime residents of Owatonna.
As family and friends remembered and paid tribute to Wayne and Donna, one had to realize how true Dr. Seuss' message was.
Dr. Seuss once wrote: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
The Grubishes left their mark on Owatonna and surrounding area as two citizens who were loved by many.
Wayne died Sept. 1, 2021 at age 87 and Donna died Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 at age 83.
Bingo introduced Judy and me to Wayne and Donna. Looking for something to do on a Tuesday night, soon after we moved to Blooming Prairie, Judy and I decided to go to the Owatonna Knights of Columbus Club to enjoy corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day.
After finishing our plates of corn beef and cabbage, we decided to stay for bingo. Six years later, we are still playing Bingo at the KC Club.
"Come over and sit by us," a friendly and smiling Donna beckoned. "Yeah, we have room at our table," Wayne chimed in.
This couple graciously became our friends for good. They always had a happy greeting for us and congratulated us when we Bingoed and they did not.
Wayne and Donna were well known and respected by residents of the Owatonna area. Wayne attended Owatonna Public schools where he was active in sports.
Donna was born in Owatonna and also attended Owatonna Public Schools.
Wayne was employed by several well-known companies in Owatonna, including The King Company, Owatonna Public Utilities and 23 years with Owatonna Manufacturing Company. He also worked for some other local companies.
Donna was a stay-at-home mom. She and Wayne raised six children. Donna loved to clean and cook.
Donna was best known and remembered and loved for her many years at the Village Cafe in Owatonna. After the Village closed, Donna worked many years at the Gainey Conference Center for the University of St. Thomas as a waitress and dining hostess.
Both Wayne and Donna made friends easily. Wayne loved to talk sports and Donna loved to talk anything her friends would choose.
The Grubishes were hardly ever apart. They loved one another and worked for each other, family members said at the Saturday celebration.
Children of the Grubishes said their parents brought them closer together as siblings.
It's not difficult to talk about Wayne and Donna, even though we only knew them for only seven years. They were so easy to get to know that it seems like we knew them forever.
Donna had that hardy laugh you could distinguish across a room, and Wayne had that smile with raised eyebrows that signaled he liked you.
It's with sadness that those who knew them had to say goodbye too quickly. We all feel honored, however, that we got to know them at all.
In the short time we knew them, both expressed a willingness to know us better. Both Wayne and Donna complimented me on my writing and said to keep it up even at an advanced age.
In losing son Tim, Wayne and Donna said they knew how Judy and I felt losing a child.
A few years ago, I chose this column to pay tribute to another friend we gained by playing Bingo at the KC Club in Owatonna. This friend was Bud Schiller. Bud played only one card at a time and said his odds were just as good with one card than playing many cards.
Both Wayne and Donna had their distinct manners of sounding BINGO, Donna with a coarse response and Wayne with a booming announcement.
It was so gratifying to see so many people come and share in a celebration of the Grubishes' lives. The family wrote in a glowing tribute: "Losing a loved one is heartbreaking. Losing two so close together is almost unbearable. . ."
The family asks family and friends to keep their folks alive by remembering them at Bingo.
Thank you Wayne and Donna for offering your friendship to us and for surrounding others with your love. Both of you will never be forgotten, always remembered as dear friends.