Robert E. Grassmann, age 89, of New Prague, died peacefully, surrounded by his family on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee.

Funeral Services will be held Sunday, September 4, 2016, at 2:30 PM at Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lanesburgh (28983 181st Ave., New Prague) with Reverend Henry Koch officiating.  Visitation will take place at church from 12:00 - 2:30 PM.  Burial, with military honors, will occur in the church cemetery followed by lunch in the church social hall.

On August 20, 1927, Robert (Bob) Ervin Grassmann was born in Helena Township, rural New Prague, on his parents' farm.  He was the eldest son of Ervin and Alice (Meyer) Grassmann.  He was later joined by two brothers, Dick and Jerry.

He grew up learning hard work.  Horses were used in the fields and cows were milked by hand.  Social life revolved around family and church.  He attended District 61 School, right around the corner from Friedens, and of course had to walk there two miles, uphill both ways.  He told many fun stories of shenanigans on the farm and on the school yard, with many who remained his life-long friends. Bob finished the eighth grade, and after two weeks of high school stayed home to help on the family farm.

Once he turned 18, he was drafted into the US Army.  He served for 19 months from 1945 to 1947.  Bob was a cook in the Army, and was able to travel to Missouri, Louisiana, New Jersey, and his favorite base in San Francisco.  He would tell of his buddies and him buying a case of beer on a Sunday, sitting on the hillside in view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and really feeling like "big shots".

After his honorable discharge, he came back to New Prague and went to agricultural school locally on weekends to learn farming.  Bob knew this made his dad very proud!

About the same time, he began venturing with his trombone to Jordan, to play in the Community Band.  He met a town girl from Jordan who played tenor sax, Mary Jean Mertens.  It didn't take long before they fell in love and eloped to Minneapolis to get married on July 2, 1951.  Bob and Mary Jean bought the Scharf farm, right across the road from Bob's "home place".  The house was quite primitive with no plumbing when they moved in.  Over the years, they did many remodeling jobs to their home to make it comfortable for their growing family. 

Two boys and two girls were born...John, Gary, Judy and Lori.  Bob was busy milking cows, and raising chickens, pigs, and beef cattle.  He owned 160 acres and grew alfalfa, wheat, corn, and soybeans.  In his mid 40s, Bob sold his cows, and had begun selling insurance for what is now New Prague-Ceska-Louisville (NPCL) Mutual Insurance Company, an occupation that was handed down from his grandfather and father.  He loved traveling the countryside visiting farmers he knew and meeting new ones.  Many times Mary Jean went with him, and enjoyed the socializing, too, and helped him with bookwork.  After the cows and the kids were gone, there was more time for traveling, which took them to many places around the world.  New friends were made, along with great memories.  Bob enjoyed playing cards, black licorice and cashews, watching the Twins and Vikings, and old time music.  He was an avid fisherman and hunter, and traveled to places like Wyoming and Canada to enjoy these hobbies.

After 57 years on the farm, it was time to move to town.  They bought a town home in New Prague with wonderful, helpful neighbors, and lived there 6 years.  Bob and Mary Jean were becoming less mobile and needed extra care, so they ventured to Oak Terrace Assisted Living in Jordan in June 2014.  Mary Jean passed away November 2015, after 64 years of marriage, creating quite a void in Bob's life.

Bob made many friends at Oak Terrace, both staff and residents, who showed him great love and kindness.  He was confined to his wheelchair/chair, and was reliant on others for all his care  He faced his disability with dignity and optimism.  "Tomorrow will be a better day".  His sense of humor never failed him.  Over his last 9 months he needed two major surgeries, and chose to go ahead, knowing the risks.  The second surgery done one day after his 89th birthday, kept him in the hospital for 12 days.  He was not strong enough to fight the last complication, which took his life peacefully the morning of August 31, with his family by his side.

Bob is survived by his 4 children, John (Monica) of Maple Grove, Gary of Cleveland, Judy (John) Slavik of Jordan, Lori (Scott) Grimmer of Eden Prairie, five grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, along with many dear relatives and friends.  He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mary Jean, on November 7, 2015, an infant daughter, and his two brothers, Richard and Gerald.  He will be dearly missed.  The family wishes to thank the staff at Oak Terrace for their kindness and compassion.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Friedens Church.