Jackie Gruending: a memorial tribute

We lost our dear brother Jackie Gruending to the ravages of multiple sclerosis in August 2021 at age 57. My sister Charlene Dobmeier and I have produced a memorial booklet released through her publishing company Kingsley. It briefly combines Jackie’s personal history along with that of our family and community, complete with a good sampling of photos.

Jackie’s was in many ways an ordinary life, but one suffused with quiet courage and decency. This is our way of saying a loving farewell to our younger brother while cherishing his memory.

4 thoughts on “Jackie Gruending: a memorial tribute

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  1. It’s moving to see your comment at your brother’s passing. MS is a complex and difficult disease and to know that he dealt with it with ”quiet courage and dignity” is a tribute to his accepting his realty.

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  2. Hello Dennis,

    I read your amazing tribute to your brother Jackie earlier this evening. I learned a lot about you and your family and the struggles you encountered as a group with ailing parents and MS. In many ways, the story of your brother is heartbreaking and must have been so hard to write. I hope you and your sister were able to find some closure or peace through the exercise.

    I played for the Melfort TM’s in 1979-80 and then the Nipawin Hawks in 1981-82. We used to play the Saskatoon Quakers and Wesley’s throughout the season. I just missed playing against Jackie by one or two years. I even checked some of the old hockey programs I have and Jackie does not show up on any of the Quaker Rosters during my time in the SJHL. It’s too bad we did not share the same ice.

    The rink in St. Benedict looks exactly the same as the one in Tisdale I played in as a child. That must have been a popular design that was shared with communities across the country. How convenient to have it right across the street from your house.

    With the financial challenges your family had to deal with, how did you ever manage to get through St. Peter’s College and later the University of Saskatchewan? Being the son of a farmer myself, I know it was impossible for me to get a student loan because my father owned farm land and that was deemed as a disqualifier for loans. There were no RESP plans back then, so my brothers and I had to find good paying summer jobs to get us through most of the academic year. Our parents provided some financial help and a lot of groceries over the years. I eventually went to St. Pius X Seminary in Saskatoon and had my tuition, room and board paid for. That took some pressure off of my parents and they could focus their resources on my siblings. Like you, I was the oldest in my family.

    It is amazing how your sister Charlene included Jackie when she was dating and later making room for him in her home in Saskatoon. That is remarkable and speaks to her love for Jackie. I know you also took care of Jackie for a few years as well which must have been difficult while trying to establish yourself in a new career as a Journalist.

    This Tribute to your brother is also one to the Gruending family. We really have no control over what life hands us, but what we make of is a testament to love, commitment and resiliency. You and your family have all three in spades!

    Thanks for writing this and sharing it with people like me.

    Sincerely,
    Sheldon Oleksyn Spruce Grove, AB

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