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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Grans named Ma and Pa Kettle


August 10, 2017

Lois E. Johnson

John and Janice Gran are being recognized as Ma and Pa Kettle in the Ma & Pa Kettle Days parade on Saturday.

Janice and John Gran are following in his parents' footsteps as Ma and Pa Kettle in the Ma & Pa Kettle Days parade on Saturday.

"My parents, Harriet and Walter Gran, were Ma and Pa Kettle in 1992," said John in a recent interview in their home.

The couple still lives on a portion of his parents' farm, said John.

"We bought 20 acres from them and I built a new house on the property," John said.

The home features a covered porch on two sides and Janice has pots of flowers hanging from the roof or set on the sides of the steps.

John isn't the only descendant of royalty. Janice said her parents, Irvin and Carrie Longhenry of Moose Lake, were the king and queen of Midsummer's Day when that was still celebrated.

John and Janice will celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary in September. They have three children and four grandchildren.

"This is the first summer that we haven't had Isaac's kids here," said Janice. "They are 12 and 14 now and are off on their own."

Their other son, John William or Billy, lives in Champlin with his wife and two sons. Daughter Mary is single and lives and works in Duluth, said Janice.

John said he started his working career by taking a course in auto body at a vocational school.

"I worked with that for five or six years in the Twin Cities and Duluth," he said. "I have used those skills the rest of my life. I have painted lawnmowers, a car, a couple of tractors and a few other things."

John spent the rest of his working career as a carpenter, remodeling houses and garages, he said.

"I worked on a lot of schools doing remodeling," he added.

John has also taken part in the community over the years.

"I have been a member of the Kettle River Snowmobile Club for 27 years," he said, "and I have been on the Kalevala Township Board for 25 years. I am on the Kettle River Fire Commission and on the Cromwell Ambulance District Board."

Janice has acted in several plays for the Kalevala Theater Society in the past and is president for the Carlton County Extension Home Study Groups.

"We still meet every other month and tour something," she said. "In January and February we sew pillowcases to bring to the shelters."

Janice has also served on the Kalevala Township Board and on the Mercy Hospital Board, she said.

The couple is retired now and enjoy camping and working with their hobbies at home.

"I like any craft," said Janice, "and I love taking care of my flowers."

The yard at their home has many flowerbeds, with a piece of brightly painted antique machinery perched on a rock in a flowerbed next to the driveway. The couple enjoys sitting in a gazebo in a shady area behind the home next to a peaceful pond.

John said he likes doing things for fun.

"I buy lawnmowers and fix them up," he said. "I just do them for myself; I don't do them for other people. That would be work. And I like woodworking as a hobby."

"It's strange that we like camping when we live in the woods," said Janice. "But when we get away from home, we don't see the things that need to be done."

"We are honored to be chosen as Ma and Pa Kettle," she added. "It will be fun."


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