Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lynn Vongroven
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Live life 'Grace-fully'


A ray of sunshine left our midst early Sunday. Gracelynn Stadin, 8-year-old daughter of the Star-Gazette editor and her husband, Colette and Paul Stadin, succumbed to injuries from a traffic accident Friday, which happened not far from home, on the way to school and work. Her family’s world is reeling. Besides her parents, she leaves behind a big brother, Sam, and a little brother, Corbin, who will miss having their sister around to tease and play with — and hug — as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors and more.

Life will not be the same. At home, at school, any place Grace was known … people are struggling to understand her absence. At the Gazette office, we also feel her absence. Grace and Sam spent many hours here, hanging out after school while their mom finished her work day.

Grace loved to color pictures for each of us, carefully spelling out our names or signing her own, with more skill and precision as each month passed. We happily taped them up in our work areas and smiled when we looked at them — reminders of a little girl with a big heart.

Heidi recalls how she, Colette and Gracie shared a bond of candy, especially chocolate. Many days when Gracie would get to the office, Heidi would have candy for Gracie. Heidi says, "I'd always say to her, 'Share with your brother Sam,' and her beautiful, big blue eyes would look up at me with 'OK ... but probably not,' and smile her beautiful smile. She's our angel now! Always smiling."

Grace was very fond of the Friday popcorn at the credit union. Some days she’d wander up the block with me to make a deposit and pick up three, or maybe four, bags of popcorn to share with Sam, her mom, and the office. Or, with that big smile and thank you, she’d accept the popcorn from Cindy (and previously Judee), who regularly brought popcorn back for Grace and Sam when she took the deposit in. A recent warm Friday, Grace and I strolled along the sidewalk discussing how much she loved gymnastics and how she could do a cartwheel on the balance beam. She demonstrated to me how high off the ground the beam was and told me with pride she made one at home, too, for practicing. While waiting for the deposit to be processed I noticed how gracefully (Grace-fully) and with great care she lowered herself down to pick up a stray piece of popcorn without tipping the bags in her hands, then purposefully walked to the wastebasket to throw the fallen piece away. "She's getting so tall," I said to myself.

When Colette and I were both on staff at the Askov American, little Grace would visit occasionally. She would wander into wherever I was working and show me her newest dance, or just to say hi. She wrote “checks” often to each of us, with fantastical dollar amounts, and we’d talk about where we would spend all that “money.”

Grace was generous that way, wanting to include us in her world, wanting us to include her in ours. Sometimes with just a shy smile, not quite sure; sometimes with a big grin, her beautiful eyes sparkling. She was curious, sensitive, and a little bit feisty. She was pretty good about letting folks know if she agreed or disagreed with what was happening. She was 110 percent fully Grace in everything she did.

Oh, Miss Gracelynn Stadin, we are so glad you touched our lives. May we all honor your memory by living life "Grace-fully" — generously, with a big heart, and investing 110 percent. We miss you!


Reader Comments

JenAndCory writes:

This is a beautiful! tribute! Gracie was my great-niece, and I can't imagine how those that were really close to her are dealing with her loss. My husband and I only met a her a few times and know how special she was. We wish all the best for Colette, Paul, Sam and Corbin, and all those that love her.


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