Gwenna Appel


Gwenna May Appel was born Sept. 16, 1932 and went to her heavenly home Dec. 26, 2022.
Born to Max and Helen Grossnickle in Laurens IA, Gwenna was raised on a farm and went on to marry a farmer herself on June 7, 1950. Hans Appel was a handsome, yet stubborn Dane with whom she had five children. Colleen (Tim), Gayle (Rick), Mark, Bruce (Joelle) and Lori (David). Gwenna wore many hats, besides wife, mom and Gran/Great Gran. Gardener (she could grow beautiful plants and flowers), lay person/preacher, singer and member of Sweet Adelines, grocery store operator, master baker, church piano player, cow and pig chaser (and even once, pig rider) and dear friend to many. Gwenna was a leader in the United Methodist Women organization in Iowa for many years. She made birthdays and holidays special, endured “let’s scare mom” moments from her kids (well, from some of us anyway), and had the patience of a saint to put up with all of us. Coffee, God and naps may have been part of her secret.
Gwenna loved to laugh and, almost up to the time she left us, was making jokes. Many hours were spent at a card table, laughing until we cried. Her faith and love for the Lord were strong. Certainly, many of us were blessed by and benefitted from her prayers.
Hans and Gwenna eventually moved from the farm home in Curlew IA nearby to their beautiful, peaceful home by the pond. They stayed there for many years before they had to move to an apartment in Emmetsburg after flooding did major damage to the home. After Hans passed in 2016, Gwenna moved to Denver, CO to be closer to Bruce and family to be taken care of in an assisted living apartment. She was adored by staff there and they provided the best of care to her.
Gwenna was preceded in death by her parents, Hans, sister Ruth Ann Miller, brother Wayne Grossnickle, granddaughter Gretchen Schaefer. and daughter in law Kathy Burkholder. She is survived by her children, nine grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren and brother Max Grossnickle.
A celebration of life will be held at the Emmetsburg, Iowa United Methodist Church at 10:30 a.m. on June 15. Memorials can be made to the Lost Island Nature Center or the Spirit of Harmony Sweet Adelines.