Elizabeth Grulke

Obituary of Elizabeth Grulke

Elizabeth Anne (Solberg) Grulke, 89, of Winthrop Harbor, IL, passed away after a short illness on February 6, 2024, surrounded by her family.

Elizabeth was born June 25, 1934, in Waukegan, IL, to Anzonetta and William Solberg. She graduated from Zion-Benton High School, class of 1952, and attended College of Lake County, taking classes that interested her over the years. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert “Bob” Grulke, on August 22, 1953, at Memorial United Methodist Church in Zion, IL.

A lifelong member of the United Methodist Churches in Zion and Winthrop Harbor, “Liz” served the church and members of the local community in numerous ways. Most of her working years were devoted to Windy Tots Playschool and Day Care Center which she co-founded with Mary Lynn Fry at the Winthrop Harbor church in 1970, retiring after 32 years in 2002. Liz and Bob were known for their volunteer work with the AFS (American Field Service) and Rotary student exchange programs. They personally hosted over 30 students and served in multiple roles for the organizations. They kept in touch with many of the students they had become close to and enjoyed trips to visit them and their families. Liz LOVED to travel, in the U.S. and worldwide, and continued to plan trips well into her eighties. The last trip being a train ride to Colorado in October 2023 to visit friends and see the mountains one more time.

Liz was an avid reader, enjoyed being outdoors tending to her flower gardens, walking, snow skiing, and golfing. “Club” and playing cards with high school friends and Sunday Scrabble games with family were highlights of her life. She was a member of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary, Illinois Dunesland Garden Club, United Methodist Women, and local golfing and bowling leagues. She lived in the same house for over 50 years and her door was always open for a visit or a longer stay. Liz had an easy smile. Her favorite word was JOY and she faithfully served the Lord and those around her with many acts of caring and kindness over the years.

She is survived by four daughters, Terryl (Joe) Rajcevich of Waukegan, IL; Mollie Grulke Mercado of Winthrop Harbor, IL; Tracey Nixon (James Foreman) of McHenry, IL; Meganne (Tom) Pierson of Bristol, WI; 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren; and four siblings, Joan Anderson of Zion, IL; Shirlee Pierson of Zion, IL; James Solberg of Ingleside, IL; and Evelyn Matson of Zion, IL. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Robert Grulke, and an infant granddaughter, Sarah Pierson.

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, March 9, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at Memorial United Methodist Church, 2935 Sheridan Road, Zion, IL. In lieu of flowers, donations to Memorial United Methodist Church (M.U.M.C.), the Zion Benton Public Library, or a local food bank are appreciated. 

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