Renée Marigayle Pieper, of Prior Lake, MN (formerly of Bloomington and Minneapolis) passed away on the morning of March 22, 2021 at age 87.
A child of the Great Depression, Renée grew up in working class South Minneapolis. Born on October 16, 1933 to Italian immigrant Giocondo “Joe” Grazzini and American Luella Mildred Johnston, “Marigayle” oscillated between deep Tuscan roots and Minnesota Nice.
The youngest of three children, she and her brothers helped their dad in his second job maintaining the Church. She and brother Ron typed and printed the church bulletin. An aspiring soprano, she sang in the church choir and fed on Handel and Mendelssohn oratorios and gospel hymns.
As pictures reveal Renee grew into a beautiful young lady, full of life and spirit she was often referred to as “Mardi Gras” in her Roosevelt high school yearbook. After graduation in 1951, she took on a bella figura appearance, dressing smart and acting it too. Renee as a young lady traveled to New York with her best friends and also Trips to Chicago with sister in-law Gerry Grazzini.
Social to the bone, Renée worked at the University of Minnesota. She faced tragedy during this time, as both parents passed away in an 11-month span: mother in February 1953 followed by father. Cupid struck soon after. Bill Pieper, a family friend just finished serving in the U.S. Air Force swept Marigayle off her feet. The young Minneapolitans married in summer 1955.
Armed with some savings, a grain of hope and baby boy Matthew in tow, they built their first and only home in Bloomington, MN. Blessed with four sons and a perfectionist streak, she focused on household life – spotless floors and incredible cooking—Her Swedish meatballs were our favorite. She reveled in all things Christmas: Santa cookies, strawberry punch (a recipe that has been hard to recreate) and especially all the children opening gifts–Renee loved to entertain with all her family especially at all the Holidays.
Things were looking up when Bill’s retirement came in 1995. They took every chance to visit grandkids or inviting them to the family Camper at Kamp Dells. The post-retirement renaissance proved short-lived when he passed in 2000.
After health scares and growing social isolation without Bill, she moved to Keystone Communities/New Perspective Senior Living in Prior Lake. Closer to son John and his extended family, Renée’s life flipped from sad to glad. Staff at her new home became second family, giving her a rhythm, coffee and dinner with new friends as well as “peecha peecha”– Renée-speak for chitchat. She even was granted to be the“Queen of Keystone with all its rights and privileges and wearing her crown. She even mustered courage to visit her son living in France and her relatives in Florence, Italy.
Renee was a fighter to the day she passed, 2 hip replacements, beating breast cancer, navigating through life with challenging emotional issues and the last 3 years her memory had slowly faded but through these challenge’s Renée always kept her wit and sense of humor. All those she touched will never forget we will miss her deeply.
A special THANK YOU to all those who cared and touched our mothers’ heart at Keystone/New Perspective for over 16 years…. Also, a special thank you to Brighton Hospice who cared for mother this past Covid year. We will miss our facetime conversations or in Renee’s words “peecha peecha”.
Brother Ronald Grazzini and sister-in-law Gerri Grazzini survives. So too her four sons, Mathew (Deb), John (Katie), James (Blandine) and David; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She joins in death loved ones already mentioned as well as brother Roger Grazzini and sisters-in-law, Myrna Grazzini and Diana Pieper.
A reviewal will occur on Monday, March 29 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation (4565 Pleasant Street SE) in Prior Lake. A funeral will be held Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM with visitation one-hour prior at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Prior Lake. Family or friends who cannot attend in-person are invited to stream the service via Mass can be streamed by visiting St. Michael’s website: https://stmichael-pl.org/. Renée will be laid to rest at Dawn Valley Memorial Park in Bloomington. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to be distributed to charities in Renée’s name.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation proudly serves the Pieper family.Print Obituary & Condolences