Robert E. Gramzow, age 84, passed away on December 12, 2020 at the Morton County Nursing Home in Elkhart, Kansas. He was born at his parents home in rural Norton County northwest of Almena, Kansas on June 22, 1936. He was the first child of Ernest F. and Louise (Holiday) Gramzow. He was known as Bobby the good big brother of his fraternal twin sisters who were born four years later.
He received his elementary education at a rural school located near his family’s farmstead. His Aunt Marie Van de Wege was one of his first teachers. He graduated from Almena High School in 1954. Bob earned a B.S degree in Ag Education at Kansas State College. He lettered in gymnastics and received the award for high point gymnast his senior year. Following graduation in 1958 he taught Vocational Ag at Beaver City, Nebraska High School. Having met his wife to be at an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Picnic at K-State, Bob and Norma Duell of Ruleton, Kansas were married at the United Methodist Church in Goodland June 21, 1959. She was working as an Extension Agent in Leoti at the time so he joined her in Leoti to teach Vo Ag at Wichita County High School for three years. He had signed a contract to teach Vo Ag in Flagler, Colorado but a decision to drop the program led to the decision to take more classes to certify teaching at the elementary level. He enjoyed teaching the 5th grade for USD 352 in Goodland for 12 years. Bob helped his father-in-law, Carl Duell, during the summers until his untimely death on January 1, 1975. He went into full time farming at the end of that school year.
The Gramzow’s were blessed with two daughters. Judy was born while they were in Leoti in December, 1960 and Jana was born in Goodland in November, 1963. The family was active in the First Baptist Church where Bob taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, served as deacon, and ushered. Bob was active in The Gideons International organization, helping with their jail ministry until his memory began to fail.
He retired from farming at the end of 2010. Unfortunately, his short-term memory problems increased and the failure to remember he was retired was his biggest problem. On Memorial Day, May 26, 2013, not finding his pickup keys, he took his van to check the irrigation. He hadn’t been feeling well so it was assumed he was coughing, sneezing or reaching for a Kleenex when the car left the road, hitting a concrete culvert. He suffered two broken vertebra, 4 broken ribs, a small brain bleed, other cuts and bruises. Remarkably, he was able to return home on October 3 after spending 2 months in Denver and 2 months in Good Samaritan Home in Goodland.
His family is grateful for all his caregivers, friends, neighbors and family who lifted him in prayer in the prior event and since he had a stroke in September.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles, and two brothers-in-law, Jim Williams and Marvin Duell.
He is survived by his wife, Norma, of Goodland; his daughters Judy (Mark) Pitnick and step-son, Justin, of Lenexa KS and Jana (Rob) Lehman of Meridian, ID; his two grandchildren, Gage and Brooke Lehman of Meridian, ID. He is also survived by his sisters, Virjean Williams of Hermitage, TN and Virginia (Bernard) Kinnick of Greeley, CO; brothers and sisters-in-laws: Don (Eloise) Duell, Lone Tree. CO, Bonnie Duell of Goodland, Elaine (Emery) Pankratz of Hawthorne, CA, Dennis (Orpha) Duell of Wichita, KS, many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
One of his favorite Bible verses was Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” As one Christian author puts it for the Christian “Retirement is out of this world!”
Friends and family are invited to share pictures and stories by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to put together a “Book about Bob” for a memorial service in the future due to Covid-19 restrictions. Pictures will be available at visitation for former 5th grade students to identify themselves. Memorial Contributions may be designated to the First Baptist Church of Goodland, The Gideons International or the Alzheimer’s Association and left at the visitation or mailed in care of Bateman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 278. Goodland, KS 67735. For information and online condolences visit www.batemanfuneral.com
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