Thursday, March 1, 2007

Obituary for Louise Clousing Cragun 2006

The following is the obituary of Louise Clousing Cragun, 2006, originally published in the Star Tribune 6/27/2006, and the Pioneer Press 6/27/2006. Archived at

Louise Cragun was born November 1, 1909 to Dutch Immigrants Louis and Carrie Clousing in Minneapolis. She was the 4th of siblings, Josephine, Lawrence & Cornelia, all of whom also graduated from Minneapolis Central High School and the U of Minn. and all have predeceased her. Louise's greatest achievements and loves were at the "U", where she met her future husband, Merrill Cragun. They started attending Gopher football & basketball games in 1928 until several thousand contests later her health in 1992 required her to watch Gopher contests on TV with her son, pompoms in hand, singing "Minnesota hail to thee." While at the University she joined Delta Zeta Sorority, and also because of her many campus activities marched at the head of the senior class with Merrill. They were married in June 1931, and moved to Luverne, Minn. After the birth of her son, Merrill Jr., March 21, 1932, the Craguns moved back to Minneapolis where Louise accepted a position with the Minneapolis Department of Public Welfare. Daughter Patricia was born May 10, 1938, and lived with the Craguns at 75 Orlin Ave S. E. until she passed away in 1981. The Craguns copywrited "Paul Bunyan" and spent the years of 1934 to 1939 promoting the "Paul Bunyan Playground" with booklets, postcards, games and products, to resorts and cities in central & northern Minn. resulting in Brainerd's Paul Bunyan celebrations in 1936 & 1937. In 1940 Louise partnered with Merrill to buy property on Gull Lake near Brainerd to commence building Cragun's first 6 cabins, opening for business in 1941. World War II required Louise and father-in-law Virgil to operate the resort while her husband ran Quien Press in St. Paul, commuting weekends by bus, and train to Brainerd. After the war Louise and Merrill accelerated their commitment to Minnesota tourism, and the growth of Cragun's Resort continuing as long as health permitted. She was very active in The First Christian Church in Mpls, singing with Merrill in the choir, with Travelers Aid in Mpls, Republican Precinct Chairperson and the Minneapolis branch of the AAUW, writers group. Deeply involved in the Prospect Park Study club with her sister Cornelia, Louise led the fight to preserve the "Witches Hat" water tower in Prospect Park, bordering University Ave, S.E. from planned destruction. Visible from Louise's home, the two Dutch daughters always considered the tower a landmark for the neighborhood, and a monument to their father, Louis Clousing, Mpls Chief Building Inspector, who earlier helped with the design. Upon retirement of her husband, as Director of the Continuing Education Center at the "U" they travelled widely . After the death of her husband in January of 1986 she continued travels with her friends, and relatives, including trips to Moscow, Tokyo, Stutttgart and Berlin to enjoy ballet performances by her world famous nephew, Richard Cragun. Until age 85 she also frequently drove friends from Mpls. to enjoy her beloved Cragun's Resort. Thereafter, as her health declined, she ultimately became a resident of Woodland Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd, where she received loving care from Irma and Dutch Cragun and the dedicated staff until her passing on June 23, 2006. A celebration of her life and achievements will be held at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd commencing at 12:00 pm Friday, June 30th. The Memorial Gathering will be conducted by cousin, Reverend Rodger Cragun of Duluth with lunch following; all friends and relatives are cordially invited. In lieu of flowers, any memorial gifts should be sent to First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 2201 First Ave S. Mpls, MN 55404. Arrangements have been made by Brenny Funeral Home, Brainerd, Minn.
Published in the Star Tribune from 6/27/2006 - 6/28/2006.

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