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April 11, 2021

12/10/2020 7:48:00 AM
Private family burial for Dorothy Pesek planned at Oakwood Cemetery

Dorothy E. Pesek, 97, a longtime resident of Rochester, died on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 of natural causes at the Stewartville Care Center where she had been a resident since November of 2013.
Dorothy Elaine Grabau was the oldest child and only daughter of Armie and Margaret (Hornseth) Grabau. She was born on Nov. 15, 1923 in Wykoff on the family farm, where she grew up. She was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith, attended Forestville country school and graduated from Wykoff High School in 1942. She graduated in the same class as her high school sweetheart, John E. Pesek.
They were married on April 9, 1944 (Easter Sunday) at Zion Lutheran Church. John spent three years in the U.S. Army before and after they were married. Following John's discharge from the Army, he and Dorothy had big ideas about operating a restaurant in Wykoff. They tried this venture and soon learned that there was more to this business than good home cooking. When this big "dream" failed, they were prompted to move on. The move brought them to Rochester, where John was employed for a number of years at IBM. Dorothy worked at Mayo Clinic for 37 years as a secretary to some famous doctors, among them Dr. Waltman Walters, son-in-law of Dr. Will Mayo and Dr. Alfred Uihlein, a famed pioneer neurosurgeon in the field of hypothermia. Dorothy spent the last 17 years of her Mayo career as secretary to Dr. Thoralf M. Sundt, whose contributions to the field of neurosurgery are world renown. Mr. Pesek died on June 28, 1976 and Dorothy continued to make her home in Rochester for many years. Dorothy was a longtime member of Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester. She had visited Norway twice, visiting the birthplace of her grandparents and was a member of the Sons of Norway in Rochester. Dorothy and John were not blessed with children and were able to travel and spent many happy hours on the Mississippi River in various kinds of watercraft, one of which was a homemade pontoon boat. Constructed in their backyard with the help of her brothers, there was plenty of room for lawn chairs, lunch baskets, coolers and sun umbrellas. There were always fishing poles trailing behind, as John always seemed to know where the fish were in Lake Pepin. Nieces, nephews and other family have lasting memories of their generosity and those fishing trips. Dorothy enjoyed cooking and raising flowers. She shared that joy and knowledge with her nieces and nephews and even her grandnieces use her recipes today. She loved time spent with all her brothers and their families.
Dorothy is survived by three brothers, Robert Grabau of Stewartville, John (Judy) Grabau of Rochester, and Gary Grabau of Boulder, Colorado; sister-in-law, Adeline Murtaugh of Arizona and many nieces, nephews, greatnieces and greatnephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents, and her brother, Douglas Grabau.
Due to public health concerns no services or visitation will be held at this time. A private family burial and committal service will take place at Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester. Memorials are suggested to the Stewartville Care Center or Season's Hospice.
Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville. Condolences and memories of Dorothy are welcome at

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