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June Greff carries on family tradition with beautiful hand-crafted creations

"June Greff carries on family tradition with beautiful hand-crafted creations." Emmons County Record, 1-2.


“Over the years, I don’t know how many of them I have made,” June Greff said.

June’s family have received beautiful crocheted Christmas trees for nearly 25 years.

June found a pattern in a magazine, and the first few years she decorated them with red pom-poms. Years later, she used tiny ornaments to alter the look. Now, she uses holiday yarn with silver sparkles and adds a string of Christmas lights.

“I have made several trees for my grandkids to give to their teachers over the years,” June said.

Her family appreciates the exquisite crafts that June has created and given to them as gifts.

They showed their appreciation for June during a special celebration on June 17, 2012, at the Community Center in Linton to commemorate her 75th birthday on June 22.

“My kids and grandkids surprised me by bringing many of the items I have made for them over the years, and they set it all up at the Center,” June said.

June has 20 grandchildren, and each one of them has received a baby quilt made by their grandmother’s hands and from her heart. The mothers of those grandchildren made sure those baby quilts were kept and brought to June’s 75th birthday celebration.

The family shared several items June has made for them in the past 30 years. Quilts, crocheted afghans, dish towels, table cloths, apparel, Christmas stockings and tree skirts, crocheted Easter baskets and eggs, cross-stitched ornaments and much more filled the Community Center.

June’s grandmother, Gottliebina Stolz Kempf, was a textile-weaver back in the late 1800s. Gottliebina Stolz, the oldest daughter of Johannes Stolz and Elizabeth Reich, was married to Johann “George” Kampf (Kempf).

George and Gottliebina Kempf immigrated to Ellis Island, New York, in 1901, from Beresina, Bessarabia.

Gottliebina was a master textile-weaver of “Kanapee” Paradise blankets. The blankets were designed and woven for her 1884 dowry. Her textile treasures have been preserved through four generations.

Many pieces of Gottliebina’s collection were featured in a special exhibition, Germans from Russia Weavers on the Dakota Prairie, in 1995, by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo. (Editor’s Note: For more information on the Kempf family, go to: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/history_culture/history/kempffamhist.)

June never knew her grandparents, but she does know that Gottliebina passed down her shawls to her daughters (June’s aunts). She is carrying on a fine family tradition with her beautiful handiwork.
“My mother did lots of mending and sewing, but she did not crochet or cross-stitch. My daughter, Susan, crochets. Susan actually learned before me,” she said.

Most of June’s daughters cross-stitch, and she hopes that some day her grandchildren will enjoy those crafts as well.

She always found plenty of time for her family though. She was married to Louis for nearly 50 years. He passed away in 2010. They had nine children, but lost one as an infant to SIDS.

June is the daughter of Gottlieb and Erma (Dye) Kempf. She grew up on a farm southeast of Forbes and attended a one-room school house. She was active in 4-H and recalls doing sewing demonstrations at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

From October 1956 to October 1957 she lived in England through the National Farmers Union Exchange Program.

June attended college at the North Dakota State Normal and Industrial School in Ellendale and finished her four-year degree at Valley City State College in 1987. She taught school three years in Regent and was a librarian aide in Linton before completing her degree. After graduating with a media credential, which assisted her in becoming a librarian, she worked as a librarian in Linton and Weslaco, Texas.

June volunteers at the Linton Library and is active in Friends of the Library.

June spends a lot of her time on family history and has a collection of family photos. These are very unique as they are original photos her family found in a trunk in the attic of her parents’, once her grandparents’, home. On the left is a wedding photo of her mother’s parents, Jacob Dye and Olivia Howey. They were married on Feb. 22, 1892. On the far right is a photo of her mother, Erma (Dye) Kempf for her high school graduation on June 2, 1916. In the center is an old photo of June’s husband’s family.
June Greff’s family and friends will be receiving a special cross-stitched Christmas card and perhaps one of these colorful Christmas ornaments.
June Greff displays one of the many beautiful afghans that she has crocheted over the past 30 years.
June has made and given her quilts and crocheted afghans to her kids and grandkids over the past 30 years.
The skirt and some of the decorations are cross-stitched, and there are also crocheted ornaments.
June’s beautiful hand-made Christmas items include a cross-stitched tree skirt, crocheted Christmas trees and ornaments and a felt Christmas snowman.
Christmas was a unique time for June to share her talents and give her family special gifts. Items were hand-made tree skirts, stockings, trees and ornaments.
June Greff’s grandson, Adam Anvarinia, has the remains of his baby quilt that his grandma made for him nearly 24 years ago. Comments were that it was loved to death and he wore it out.
June and her family have so much to celebrate on her 75th birthday.
A beautiful display of Easter baskets and eggs that June crocheted along with the cream-colored table cloth.
June has done many dish towels, sewed many outfits for her girls and made a Christmas stocking for each of the kids.
Seven of the eight children attended June’s 75th birthday celebration. Michelle (Greff) Morlock of Texas was unable to attend. Fourteen of her 20 grandchildren were present. In the picture are, back row, left to right, Brian Anvarinia, Jim Renschler, Beth Greff, Tammy Greff, Carly Augustin, Carmen Augustin, Patrick Greff, Susan Renschler, June Greff, Rachel Behm, Charlotte Opp, Francis Greff, Louise Anvarinia, Lucas Anvarinia, Curt Opp, Adam Anvarinia and Sia Anvarinia; middle, Jackson Greff, Reagan Greff, Colby Opp and Madelynn Behm; front, Tom Behm holding Abigail, Emily Greff, Sarah Greff, Zachary Greff, Samantha Behm and Peyton Opp.

Printed with permission of the Emmons County Record.

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