Dorothy M Gunderson (Gracyalny) , Mrs
(1928 - 2011)

Dorothy M Gunderson Mrs (Gracyalny)
Nickname: Dottie

Boston Massachusetts, United States of America
September 5, 1928

Nashville Tennessee, United States of America
November 26, 2011

Current Events, History, The Well Being of Others, Reading, Her Husband, Family and Grandchildren. NAMI
Guest Book
Mom, its been 5 years now that we havent been together here on earth for Christmas. I loved when u wore that red sweater with the leopard collar. You looked so pretty. You have given me your strength. I am so glad you did. I remember you telling me that their is nothing to cry about. And I know that you don't want me to be sad. I Miss talking with u everyday. Thankyou for watching over me and helping me to be a good mom to my kids. I love u and miss u ! Annie
Annie Cooper (Daughter)
December 3rd, 2015
Mrs. Dorothy always showed “GRACE , KINDNESS & PATIENCE” (fruits we are told of knowing the MASTER). The WORLD is a better place having had her presents here, as one whom 30+ years ago in my awkward youth rebelled with selfishness of sex, drugs & rock n roll ( which would TEST the inner PEACE of even the most longsuffering and God reverent mothers of men), Mrs.. Dorothy offered unmerited Grace under fire….the fact that after all these years of time, I searched out this special women to see what had become of such and her beautiful family, is a testament of the lasting impact for good that she had on all around her….thanks be to GOD for her.
Russell Cain (pilgrim in progress)
April 9th, 2013
Dear Gunderson Family and Friends,

For an entire year (on the 29th), the email from Chris regarding this website to memorialize his mother’s life has been sitting in my email ‘in-box,’ but life got busy while the days slipped away and as I looked at the full moon tonight (after the year anniversary of Dorothy’s passing on the 26th), I felt compelled to finally sit down and write about a few of my encounters with her that Chris though you might enjoy. Please accept my apologies for not writing sooner.

About February of 2000, I met Dorothy for the fist time when she came to California to visit her son, Christopher. She was here for about one week; maybe longer. During her stay, she and I went on several adventures together, which I will share as follows:

One night after work, I picked her up and we went to a sign language class I was taking at Saddleback Church. We learned an entire sentence and I think a song, but I recall that we got in a little trouble for laughing too loud and being disruptive during class. How is it possible to be too loud in a sign language class? Nonetheless, we were harmless. However, that night, I learned that Dorothy enjoyed meeting new people and sought happiness through love and generosity toward others.

During that week, we drove various places, but I won’t stray too far off the beaten path with those details. However, while driving, we had very candid conversations about life, death, God, about how much she loved her family, and about how much she missed talking to one of her best friends that had passed. It was during these conversations that I discovered what an interesting, loving and caring Christian woman Dorothy was. She was so easy to be around. Dorothy told me of her life travels and was so descriptive in her story telling that I could visualize being at the scenes. It was obvious that she simply loved Jesus and strived to do the right things in life. What a wonderful supportive wife, mother, grandmother, and friend she must have been.

Additionally, Dorothy was also a retired Registered Nurse and I could tell her strengths lied in her ability to deal with people. She had the unique character of putting people at ease by relating to them as human beings. Being caring and understanding is far too often ignored in this busy world, but I could tell that Dorothy was able to recognize and provide that special touch to everyone that crossed her path. What a pleasure it must have been to have her as a nurse. She was so friendly, didn’t have a problem talking to strangers, and was so fun to be around that I’m certain she entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:1-3).

That weekend, we went to the San Juan Capistrano Mission. There is a lovely church located at the mission. As we walked in, we applied the holy water in the name of the Father (God), the Son (Jesus Christ our Lord), and the Holy Ghost/Spirit (living in us). Obviously, Dorothy believed in the trinity where the Holy Spirit communicates our prayers like the wind (Romans 8:26), the Son intercedes those prayers (Romans 8:34), and the Father answers our prayers (John 1). She believed that regardless of the fact that we are all sinners,…our God is a forgiving God and the only way to heaven is to simply believe Jesus is the son of God (John 3:16). We counted on his forgiveness, especially after what happened next. After we applied the holy water, we lit a candle and proceeded to walk straight to the front of the church. Not many tourists were in the church at the time (maybe two), so we didn’t think it would do any harm if we ignored the ‘No talking or flash photography,’ sign. Therefore, we proceeded to take pictures and talk about how spectacular and ornate the architecture was; especially the ‘Golden Alter.’ To our surprise, a priest suddenly appeared from a secret door and asked us to be quiet. After he left, we continued to talk and take flash photography. Later, he appeared again and kicked us out for talking and laughing too loud. Okay, so we broke a few rules.

As a result, we exited the side door into a cemetery where we discussed how ridiculous we thought it was that we got kick out of a church; of all things! Were we really that loud? Then, we started reading the headstones, talked about the dead people, and laughed hysterically after we read some sign that said to ‘be quiet.’ Be quiet in a cemetery? We found that peculiar and funny (since nobody was there and we were sure the dead people didn’t mind), so we continued to laugh and talk loudly. Apparently, our voices echoed into the church, and I vaguely recall that we got kicked out of the cemetery too! Thank God that our Lord has a sense of humor because I think he got a kick out of it too. Life is just too short to be so serious all the time, so we did the next best thing and went shopping at the gift shop. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. For a visual or details about the mission, go to:

Nonetheless, Dorothy had a fabulous sense of humor and always greeted me with a smile that continued to radiate throughout each visit. We laughed a lot and I enjoyed her company. It’s not often one meets or has the privilege to spend time with someone like Dorothy. She used her gifts wisely and had such a positive attitude on life that it seemed to touch all those who were around her. One of the most precious gifts we can give is the gift of time and it was an absolute pleasure spending time with her. She knew how to have fun and enjoy life.

I was saddened when I heard she parted from us here on earth and I’m amazed it’s already been one year since she passed. However, I know without a doubt, that when she died, there was a HUGE party in heaven welcoming her to eternal life where Jesus greeted her and I’m sure he said, “Well-done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21). Dorothy did little things with great love, raised her children well, and I know her legacy will live on forever in the hearts of those who loved her. My heart goes out to her family and friends. May they find comfort in knowing that when our ancestors die, their prayers never do, so the prayers that Dorothy prayed (for her husband, children, grandchildren, her extended family and friends, etc.), are still being answered. Love never disappears (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), and she was a happy person because her cup overflowed with it. What a blessing she was. Thank you, Jesus. To Him be the glory.

To that end, I’d like to close in prayer and ask specifically for the Jesus white light to surround and protect the Gunderson family; especially during the holiday seasons. I ask for our Lord, Jesus Christ, to put the full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), on each and every one of them daily, and May the force (which is the Holy Spirit), continue to bless and be with them throughout the generations to come. I ask all these things in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Respectfully and Sincerely,
Ingrid Seiver
Ingrid Seiver (Family friend)
November 29th, 2012
You are in my thoughts today. Here is a favorite saying I am pondering:
~Every beginning comes from some other new beginnings end~
This is a cycle that seems to apply to everything in Natue and we are all part of it.
Love You, Ruth
Ruth Griffin (Daughter)
September 5th, 2012
We don't have to wait for funerals or anniversaries to say thank you to the ones closest to us. Our loved ones we so easily overlook and who mean so much too us. If I have learned anything about giving thanks ... it is this "Give it now and say it daily!" While your feeling of appreciation is alive and sincere. Saying thank you to our loved ones is such an easy way to add to our happiness here on earth. Thank you again Mom! I LOVE YOU!
Ann Marie... aka Annie
Ann Marie Cooper (Daughter)
May 28th, 2012
Mrs. Gunderson is an amazing woman whose caring and compassion touched countless people, and whose lasting legacy is her remarkable family. Colonel Gunderson must still consider himself a lucky man for captivating such a radiant woman, movie-star beautiful on the outside and glowing from the inside. I feel blessed to have been welcomed into the Gunderson orbit through Dorothy's third-born child Grace Marie in 1978; our families developed a lasting bond through shared histories and values. I will always remember Grace's mom as a true saint on earth.
Betsy Kuehner Smith (Friend thru Grace)
May 8th, 2012
My memories of Mrs. Gunderson were in my teenage age years, she was the mom
every teenager wished they had. A great person and always made you feel welcomed into her home. My thoughts are with her family.

Gina Rhein Peters
Gina Rhein Peters (Old friend of her childre)
February 14th, 2012
In your honor we had a toast, a song, a tear and Fall River cheese and sausage. You are so very much here in Spirit and we are thankful....and that is the best present of all.
Your Family
Ruth Griffin (daughter)
December 25th, 2011
I remember so well the many visits over the years - whether in Washington State, Colorado, or Florida... with Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Mait and the many cousins! It was always so sad, when the visit would be over... but the wonderful memories, I cherish to this day! May your memories comfort you in this difficult time - she was an inspiration to us all!

Shannon Stenberg

===The Fallen Limb
A limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says, "Grieve not for me.

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.

The good life I lived while I was strong.
Continue my heritage, I'm counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.

My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.
Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.

Continue traditions, no matter how small.
Go on with your life, don't worry about falls
I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.
Until the day comes we're together again.
Author Unknown
Shannon Stenberg (Niece)
December 7th, 2011
I will truly miss her and the good times we had at family gatherings and holidays. She was always eager to know how my family and I were doing. She taught me many things through our conversations.
My wife is Blessed with her strength and I am Blessed with my Wife.
Rest In Peace my Dear Friend.
Kenny Griffin (son in law)
December 3rd, 2011
I just wanted to share this poem with everyone..

In memory of "Mother"

You were a gift from God above.

You touched our hearts in so many ways,
your smile so bright even on bad days.
You heard Gods whisper calling you home,
you didn't want to go and leave us alone.
You loved us so much, you held on tight,
till all the sregnth was gone and you could no longer fight.
He called your name twice before,
you knew you couldn't make him wait anymore.
So you gave your hand to God and slowly drifted away,
knowing that with our love we will be together again some day.

By: Mary Estelle

Lisa Loy (Kenny Griffin's Sister)
December 2nd, 2011
Mother has been an inspiration for all my years. She was a selfless caregiver with an admirable work ethic and eagerness for knowledge that taught life’s lessons by example. A woman that always put others before herself in society, faith, profession and family. From humble beginnings she built her life on the dreams of her immigrant mother and a father who lost a long battled to tuberculosis at 47 years old. Struggle and hardship enable her to share the gift of perseverance to her devoted husband, seven children and eight grandchildren. A legacy of unselfish love that will span generations, Mother will continue to be my strength for all my years to come.
Christopher Gunderson (Son)
December 2nd, 2011
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight.
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there - I do not die.

@Copyright 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Mary was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1904

(This beautiful poem was found in mom's papers)
Ruth Griffin (Daughter)
December 2nd, 2011
To hear Mother speak of her childhood was to channel the Legendary Tia - a woman from the "old country" Portugal - a distant Aunt on the family tree.
Tia lived on a farm in Swansea in southeastern Massachusetts. Mother and her brother James would visit in the summer months (the remainder of the year was spent at the orphanage). Tia nurtured them with homemade soups, blood sausage and Querida (darling) hugs. By the time we were brought to the farm as kids Tia was well into her twilight years. I remember each night before bedtime Tia would sit before her armoir and let down her very long white hair. She would spend devoted time brushing it out and secure it in her night cap. The stories of life on the farm were many and frequent around our house.
If mom ever needed a safe place to go, she would "travel" back to the farm, run through the corn fields back to those Tia Querida Hugs!
Ruth Griffin (daughter)
December 1st, 2011
I remember first meeting Dorothy when she and Maitland visited me at Vint Hill Farm Station in Warrenton, VA. That must have been in 1955. I was very impressed with my bothers new wife. They again showed up in Ada, MN. with a VW bus full of young girls! I had other opportunities to visit in Homestead and Nashville. Dorothy was always so interested in what was going on in my life and what I was up to next although she never wanted to get on my Harley Davidson with me when I offered her a ride. I'll miss her dearly...Peace, Eric
Eric Gunderson (brother in law)
November 30th, 2011
Praying for peace and comfort for all the family. I only met her once but I know she was a very special woman, mother and wife. I know she was very muched loved and will be truly missed. What a great way to honor and remember her wonderful life.
Lisa Loy (Ruth's sister-in-law)
November 29th, 2011
Sending you all love and prayers......really enjoying looking at the pix and showing my family! Lots of love, Michelle (Gunderson) Bahr
Michelle Bahr (niece)
November 29th, 2011
To Aunt Dorothy,

You were an amazing and wonderful woman! I didn't know you for very long, but you made me feel right at home and reminded me so much of my grandfather. I love you so much and you will be dearly missed!


P.s. Say hi to my grandfather for me! ♥

Corinne Gracyalny (Great Niece)
November 29th, 2011
What wonderful pictures of your family and especially your mom, Dorothy! I never had the priviledge of meeting her, or most of your family. However, I did have the honor of working with Christine when she and Pete were in Austin and know what a wonderful matriarch your mom was. Pictures are worth a million words and Dorothy depicts complete and utter joy, with much love and smiles abounding. What a wonderful joy she must have added to your lives and hearts. No doubt she will be greatly missed. My heart, thoughts and prayers that God will wrap you all in His loving arms and ease your pain through this part of the journey of life.
Much love,
Sharon and Karen
Sharon May (friend of Christine's)
November 29th, 2011
This is such a beautiful way to honor a loved one. Thank you for sharing. Although I never met her, I know she was a very special lady who will be truly missed.

Love and prayers to all her family.
Joanne Flatt
November 29th, 2011
In Memory of My Beautiful Aunt.
In June 2009, there was a crash on the Washington Metro. Aunt Dorothy called to make sure that all of the Gracyalnys were alright. In August 2011, there was an earthquake and another call. No matter the distance, I could always feel her love.
with condolences, Patricia
Patricia Gracyalny (Niece)
November 29th, 2011
My wonderful, loving mother-in-law was one of the most compassionate, sweetest women I have known. For 41 years she has been a part of my live. She will truly be missed. Good Bye my friend.."
Pete C.
Pete Carpenter (son-in-law)
November 29th, 2011
Dearest One,
I am honored to call you Mom. I have cherished these last 7 years you have been up here in Nashville. You never failed to amuse, educate and enlighten my life. You will always wear the Tiara. Love, Ruth
Ruth Griffin (daughter)
November 28th, 2011
This is the memorial I set up for Dorothy Gunderson. To sign the guest book, click on the "Sign Guest Book" button below.
Ruth Griffin
November 28th, 2011
24 entries
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"Mom, this was my/our first Mother's Day without you here on earth. But like Dad said...."You hit your target." You were/are the best mother any daughter could of asked for. I miss you so much! I LOVE YOU! Ann Marie aka... Annie May 28, 2012"
Ann Marie Cooper
May 28th, 2012
"Mrs. Gunderson was a beautiful woman whos dainty feet I once massaged. Now she can run free with new feet. Tears and prayers for her loved ones."
Bonnie Dawson
November 29th, 2011
"My wonderful, loving mother-in-law was one of the most compassionate, sweetest women I have known. For 41 years she has been a part of my live. She will truly be missed. Good Bye my friend.."
Pete Carpenter
November 29th, 2011
"Thank you for teaching compassion!"
Ruth Griffin
November 28th, 2011


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