In Memory of

Lena

Marie

Brink

(Groeber)

Obituary for Lena Marie Brink (Groeber)

Lena Marie Brink, 94, of Plankinton, SD passed away Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at Aurora-Brule Care and Rehab Center, White Lake, SD. Funeral Services are 11:00 AM Friday, June 24, 2022 at the United Methodist Church in Plankinton. A Committal Service will follow at Mizpah Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church from 6:00 – 7:00 PM Thursday, June 23, 2022 with a 7:00 PM Prayer Service. Mount Funeral Home of Plankinton is assisting with arrangements. Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through mountfuneralhome.com.

Lena Brink passed on peacefully with her daughter, Donna by her side on Flag Day, June 14, 2022 at the Aurora Brule Home in White Lake, SD. She would have liked it that way.

Lena Marie Groeber was born Jan. 16, 1928 at the family farmhouse in Artesian, SD, during a snowstorm. "Pa delivered me, when the doctor couldn't come." she said. She was named Lena, short for her mother's sister, Paulina, and Marie after her Mother. Her parents were Carl Frederich Groeber and Anna Marie Bunz, both from Germany. She and her 2 brothers, Leo and Clarence and her sister, Norma were all raised on the prairie and rode a horse to country school. They farmed the land and raised cows, horses, pigs, ducks and chickens. Ma bartered eggs and cream in town. Lena learned to work hard and enjoy music and good food and to appreciate modern conveniences, like electricity, the radio and the telephone. When their farmhouse burned to the ground, she learned a love for photos and family keepsakes. Life was sure tough through the Dirty 30's. 

She boarded in Plankinton while attending High School. She loved to learn and enjoyed English, music and cheerleading, and was nicknamed, "Leapin' Lena" by the Plankinton High School Class of 1945. She attended almost every Annual Alumni Celebration in Plankinton, including her 76th Reunion last June, 2021.

On June 7, 1946, she married Gerrit John Brink. They met when his sisters introduced them when he returned home after World War II and his service in the US Army. "He took me home last after the dance," she'd say, smiling. Together they raised 6 children, Nancy, Gary, Larry, Patricia, Donna and Debbie. Gerrit was a brick mason and became Aurora County Sheriff during the 50's and 60's. All six children grew up across the street from the old brick schoolhouse. Her parents Carl and Marie, both passed away in their early 60's. "They worked themselves so hard on the farm," she said. The Groebers were musical, after threshing and harvesting they would play and host dances. Pa played an accordion and the violin, and Aunt Ella a banjo. 

She enjoyed cooking and baking angel food cakes, pies and Christmas goodies. She enjoyed gardening and canning and sewing the kid's clothes. She and Gerrit were devoted Christians all their lives, especially, after the good Lord saved she and her firstborn, Nancy Marie, from a difficult childbirth. All the family attended the Presbyterian Church and Sunday School. She made sure the kids did their chores on Saturdays before they went to the movies. They all enjoyed boating and skiing at Fish Lake and Wilmarth Lake. She enjoyed Pinochle Club, Ladies Aid, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and Extension Club. She liked dressing up, wearing jewelry and getting her hair done by Bonnie Johnson. The family enjoyed sharing their big house with Grandma Nancy Brink living upstairs all throughout their childhoods. Family dinners and holiday celebrations, birthdays and graduations were enjoyed with all the Brinks and Groeber families, aunts, uncles and cousins from near and far.

Lena and Gerrit purchased the old DQ on old Hwy 16 and she put all 6 kids to work there along with many friends and cousins, too, at Brink's Drive Inn from 1968 -1981. They also ran Brink's Campground and  DX Service and Minimarket. They worked their way through every summer and enjoyed all their school years at PHS with sports, cheerleading, music contests and programs, recitals, plays and banquets, and Church activities and Sunday School programs.

In the summer of 1972 , Lena and her sister, Norma went to Denkendorf, Germany to get acquainted with their loved ones and parent's homeland. They so enjoyed the adventure, they returned again with their husbands, and brothers, Gerrit and Donald in 1977. Lena purchased an accordion while there and learned to play very well, like her brother, Clarence, who had played for years, she played at all the family gatherings, sharing her favorite songs and soon her sons, Gary and Larry were playing guitars and had Rock Bands of their own as teenagers. She loved animals and the kids had good dogs and lots of nice cats.

After all the kids graduated from PHS, Gerrit retired from Law Enforcement and he and Lena sold the Drive Inn to Donna and her husband, John Miller. Together they went traveling the countryside with their motor home, "the Winnie." They attended nearly every graduation, from east to west, weddings, birthdays, holidays and anniversary celebrations with each one of their 37 grandchildren, all enjoyed with live music led by Lena and her brother, Clarence on accordions and her sons playing guitars and everyone singing and visiting. 

Gary led them to the Colorado Rockies and in the 70's they with the help of their sons and many good neighbors and friends, built their log home at Steamboat Lake, Colorado. They hosted many happy gatherings there from 1989-2007. In July of 1993 they had a big Family Reunion there in the Cove. This is when their hearts truly came home, this is where Lena picked up writing her poetry, and fishing, and loving all of nature, especially birds, her favorite one, the hummingbird. She enjoyed sending cards, letters and packages faithfully to loved ones.

In 2007, they left the high elevation in CO and many dear friends of the Hahn's Peak village and moved to Dayton, WY and lived across the street from their daughter, Nancy and her husband, Howard. Here they enjoyed the view of the Big Horn Mountains and many good games of pinochle. They hosted a Celebration in Dayton on their 65th anniversary June 7, 2011, with many Brinks and Groebers in attendance. Through every day, all the years they enjoyed daily devotions, chores and games, food and music. A few weeks before their 70th anniversary, Gerrit passed away peacefully one afternoon and she said, "I couldn't be sad, he just took a nap and was gone peacefully, he would have liked it that way."

She spent the past 6 years living in Aurora County again. She lived in the house the children grew up in with Larry Dean. She came to know many of her great grandchildren with happy celebrations and music and stories. Her 90th Birthday in Plankinton was a wonderful time for all 4 generations of family!! She renewed old friendships and made new friends, especially with her helpers, Janice Burke and Elaine Schabot. Last year after her 76th Alumni Celebration she moved into the Aurora Brule Home in White Lake. It was a blessed year and she found joy in each day and found old and new friends again to make life good. 

She and Gerrit loved to get "on the road again" and she would encourage you to enjoy happy travels and always include loved ones all along the way. Make new friends and keep the old, some are silver and others gold.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerrit, her son, Gary and grandson, Brandon Lee, her son-in-law, Howard Page, her parents, and brothers, Clarence and Leo, and many beloved in-laws.

She leaves these loved ones to live on...her son, Larry Dean, daughters, Nancy Page, Patti (Knut) Finnevolden, Donna (John) Miller, and Debra (John) Moro, also 37 grandchildren and 39 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandson, her sister, Norma and sisters-in-law, Darlene Brink, Delores Brink, Judy Brink and Shirley Brink and many dear nieces and nephews.