Cover photo for Harriet Ann Sunde Grosz's Obituary
Harriet Ann Sunde Grosz Profile Photo
1939 Harriet 2023

Harriet Ann Sunde Grosz

December 18, 1939 — April 24, 2023

Sioux Falls

Harriet Ann Sunde Grosz

December 18, 1939-April 24, 2023

Harriet Ann was born December 18, 1939, to Audre (Boyd) and Ralph Sunde in Sioux Falls, SD. She was an only child, named after her maternal grandfather Harry Boyd.  As a toddler, her parents separated and she grew up living with her father.  Harriet enjoyed road trips as a child, collecting antiques and visiting family with her father.  She attributed her experiences growing up to her life-long interest in travel.  

In 1945, her father joined the Navy and Harriet went to live with her grandparents; James and Anna Sunde.  After his tour ended, Harriet moved back to her father's home.  In 1953, her grandfather passed and her grandmother Anna moved in with her and her father.  She fostered a love of cooking and gardening in young Harriet.  In honor of her grandmothers love of hollyhocks, you can be sure to find some close by, either in her garden, backyard or near her mailbox.  

After graduation in 1957 from Washington High School, Harriet gained employment as an artist with a local favorite, Shriver's Department Store.  Harriet was a gifted artist and put her skills to work creating sale signs and window display advertising. Her artistic gift of drawing and an amazing sense of vision created signs with impeccable free-hand lettering, a quality inherited from her mother.  While working at Shriver's, she met and married her husband Calvin Grosz.  As a young married couple, money was tight.  They lived for a couple of years with Harriet's father and grandmother to save for their own home.  It was about that time, she began her career at the Argus Leader as a staff artist, eventually moving over to the advertising department.  Harriet excelled in sales, winning several contests including trips to Jamaica and Hawaii.  She carried a coveted top sales representative title for many years.  

The summer of 1961 brought the birth of her son Mark.  A hunter and fisherman, they shared a mutual love of the outdoors. The following year, the family built a new home on South Phillips Avenue with the construction help of her father, Ralph and her Uncle Joe Sunde.  In the late fall of 1964, her daughter Sheryl was born.  A soon-to-be partner in reading, painting, and the creative "stuff" they both loved.  Summers were spent at the family lake cabin, fishing for bass, northerns and crappies, reading books on the dock, picking strawberries, capturing lightning bugs and singing on road trips (which was undoubtedly off-key when they were all together). Harriet ignited in her kids the pride and satisfaction of growing and eating their veggies and the simple joy of digging in the dirt.  She thoroughly enjoyed eating fresh peas covered with dew, plucked out of the pod or demonstrating the fun of holding a snapdragon flower bud with both hands to make its "jaws" open and close as if it's going to bite you.  She instilled the value of hard work but made sure her kids knew you could have fun while doing it.  She was her children's best cheerleader.  

Harriet became re-acquainted with her mother when she was 29 years old.  At the encouragement of her husband, she flew to California to meet her and they became quite close, discovering a shared obsession of flower gardens.

In early 1984, Harriet made a life decision to make her health and her family a priority.  She joined AA - Alcoholics Anonymous and she never turned back.  She was an inspiration to many in and out of the program and she remained committed to her sobriety-next year would have marked her 40th year.

In 1991, Harriet began her journey into being a grandmother. It started with granddaughter Chloe, followed by 3 grandsons Nathaniel, Ethan and Grayson born in 1998.  She loved her new role as "Nana".  She nourished the enthusiasm in her grandchildren.  Most recently, in 2022, she gained a new title "Nana Great" to Chloe's first child, little James.  She loved hearing his laugh, seeing daily progress videos and his "million-dollar smile" as she put it.

Harriet had many activities that brought happiness to her life, and she wasn't afraid to try new things.  Once, at the request of grandsons Nathaniel and Grayson, she made a small flame in a pan on the floor in her kitchen to roast marshmallows.  While it elevated her status to "Coolest Nana EVER", her son and daughter-in-law were not so impressed.  She justified her decision by stating "Well Mark, it was just a SMALL fire!"  She enjoyed watching movies with her grandson Ethan-especially historical films and the latest "The Last of Us", her favorite TV series Yellowstone, painting and pottery, book club with her dear friends, becoming a member of the DAR, antiquing and estate sales with her daughter, family reunions with the raffle prizes, soaking up the morning sunshine, reading the newespaper, daily crossword puzzles and time spent with her beloved dog "Sooner".  She later enjoyed visits from her "rental puppy Maggie" whom she took everywhere, from Ace Hardware to HyVee. She proudly explained with a sly smile "nobody stops a grandma carrying a cute puppy".  Scrabble brought out her competitive side and she was ruthless. Card games like "Golf" and board games like "Qwirkle" and "Rummicube" created laughter.  Harriet was known to take extra turns and acquire extra cards followed by modest surprise when she won.  She never cheated but a momentary lull in a game would invariably prompt her to draw a card and take another turn.  She always assumed it was her turn, but it rarely was.  Needless to say, we had to watch her like a hawk.

As a mother, she would leave chore lists for her kids, especially during the summer.  It would not be unusual to find her assigning tasks to their friends as well.  An example: Mark was mowing the lawn, his friends arrived early for a scheduled card game. Rather than be allowed to wait for Mark to finish, she would hand Dave or one of the Brian's (there were 2 of them) - the garbage to take out or a vacuum to run through the house.  Harriet had an unapologetic way of getting things done, and sometimes it didn't matter who did what.  It should be noted that no one ever turned her down, especially when she'd smile and ask so sweetly.

Her sense of humor was quick and she never failed to make us laugh.  She delighted in creating new names for popular places or things.  For example, Walmart was Walco, Applebees became Apple Annies, Sonic morphed into Sonic Boom and the board game Qwirkle was rechristened Farkel. No matter how many times you corrected her, eventually you found yourself calling those places/things the same name.  She enjoyed Snapchat sessions with her daughter and grandson Grayson.  The face morphing and voice changes brought laughter and tears to her eyes.  The videos are comedic gold.

The garden was Harriet's oasis and her dedication to it showed.  Visitors were dazzled by the vibrant colors, fragrances, and varieties of flower she could grow. It seemed effortless for her, but her kids knew how much hard work she put into it.  Over the years, Grayson spent many hours in the garden tilling and digging, cutting and picking.  We secretly thought of her as the "Plant Whisperer".  Even if you had only a basic understanding of plants, you would gain passive knowledge led by her zest and enthusiasm. No one left her home without a fresh bouquet and plenty of fixin's for a fresh salad.  

December of 2022 brought the crushing weight of a lung cancer diagnosis.  Harriet faced cancer head-on immediately implementing a new diet to include her "power smoothies" and agreeing to undergo immunotherapy.  After two treatments, her results were astonishing enough to give Harriet a new lease on life.  She took a cruise to Mexico in February, managed a mini-remodel of her home, and began planning for her spring garden.  The annual veggie growing competition was to continue.  The "Biggest Peas" contest with Mark and the "Biggest Tomato" contest with son-in-law Norm.  Needless to say, her green thumb and several doses of "Miracle Grow" assured her an easy win against both every single year, winning her bragging rights and sound dialogue about their future crops and techniques.

Harriet was happy and feeling great but life has a way of abruptly changing plans.  With no warning, she was taken from us.

Harriet leaves behind her son Mark (Kathy) Grosz, and their sons Nathaniel and Grayson Grosz, all of Sioux Falls.  Daughter Sheryl (Norm) Hillberg, their son Ethan Hillberg, their daughter Chloe and her fiancee James Sweetwood and their son James (Harriet's 1st great grandchild) all of Sioux Falls.  A host of close family and dear friends are included.  She is preceded in death by her father Ralph Sunde and her mother Audre Johnson.


"Forever in My Heart"

The moment you left me, my heart was split in two.

One side was filled with memories, the other side died with you.

I often lay awake at night when the world is fast asleep,

and take a walk down memory lane

with tears upon my cheek.

Remembering you is easy, I do it every day,

but missing you is a heartache that never goes away.

I hold you tightly within my heart and there you will remain.

You see life has gone on without you,

but will never be the same.

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Thursday, May 4, 2023

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Friday, May 5, 2023

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