Rachel Kroontje, 74, of rural Kenneth, died Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at the Sanford Luverne Hospice Cottage as a result of glioblastoma brain cancer. A funeral service was Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Bethel Reformed Church in Leota. Burial of cremains will be at a later date.
Rachel Faye Baker was born on Sept. 16, 1944, to Peter and Jennie (Bakker) Baker and grew up on the family farm east of Edgerton. She attended Edgerton Christian grade school, graduated from Southwest Christian High School in 1962 and studied 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. They spent their first few years near Magnolia before putting down roots on a farm near Kenneth.
Rachel taught fifth grade at Prinsburg Christian Grade School in Prinsburg, Minnesota, before starting a family. She later worked for Fey Industries in Edgerton from 1984 to 2010, primarily in customer service.
She was a member of Leota Bethel Reformed Church where she was a youth group leader with John for nearly 10 years and a Sunday school teacher for over 40 years.
Rachel enjoyed music, reading, 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.
Rachel is survived 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; 23 great-grandchildren; and a sister-in-law, Esther Baker, Rock Valley, Iowa. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Virgil Baker. Arrangements by Hartquist Funeral Home - Luverne, MN