Myrna Mel (Hoop) Conway, 85, died January 15, 2022, at Bethany on University in Fargo, ND. There is no doubt she is singing! How she loved to sing hymns, eyes closed, fist raised to heaven! She lived her life for Jesus and carried His light with her into every relationship and situation. How she has looked forward to meeting Him face to face!
Myrna Mel Gryte was born September 24, 1936, in Hoople, ND to Elmer and Muriel Gryte. For a time, the family moved to Bemidji, MN, before settling in Grand Forks, ND. Myrna graduated from Central High School in Grand Forks. In 1954 she married James Hoop. They lived in Hettinger, then Fargo, finally making Grand Forks their home.
In Grand Forks, Myrna cooked for the UND Delta Gamma house; loved cooking for large groups. She loved “her girls” and was so often an ear to those who needed someone to listen. In the early part of the 80s Mom became the secretary for the ND Highway Patrol. For twenty years she was privileged to serve; one of her joys was to bring her home made cakes in for the monthly district meetings. She retired in December 2001.
In 2002 Myrna married Chuck Conway and spent the next several years enjoying life on Big Lake, Bemidji, surrounded by the Conway family, who so beautifully embraced Myrna and her three girls, and their families. That skill of cooking for large groups came in very handy in Bemidji and was welcome by all who sat at their table.
For a couple of years Myrna lived in Alexandria with her sister June; don’t have time to even begin to go into all the joy, laughter and mishaps experienced there. If you live with June, you watch the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, and all professional golf. Myrna’s favorite was Tiger Woods. One time Myrna and daughter Nanci even attended a professional golf tournament in Texas, following Tiger around in a cart.
Finally in December of 2018 Myrna came to live in Fargo with her daughters; she was shared between Ginny’s and Liz’s homes for several months until insisting on having her own apartment at Bethany Gables. She loved it there, but as her memory and health continued to decline, she needed the services of Bethany on University; she had also become a member of the Hospice of the Red River Valley family.
Playing the game of Bridge is another detail that must be mentioned. Myrna loved (was obsessed with?) the game of Bridge, as were siblings June, Lanny and Chaucy. She enjoyed accumulating Master points at Duplicate Bridge tournaments. But even more, playing with family members: when she bid and made a Grand Slam everyone in the house knew it.
Myrna was a long-time member of Grace Baptist Church in Grand Forks, and served in prayer, choir and women’s ministries. Some of her very best friendships were made with the people of Grace Baptist Church.
The University of North Dakota Sioux basketball and hockey teams were another focus her whole life. Jim had played hockey for the Sioux when they first married; all three daughters graduated from UND; and she was the best fan ever. For every away Men’s and Women’s basketball game she baked cookies and brought many buckets to the UND fieldhouse prior to departure. She also was able to attend one of the Sioux Hockey National Championship games, which she spoke of often.
Next to Jesus, Myrna’s first love was her grandchildren! When Kaley Mel was born in Aug of 1982, we all watched her focus change to the “littles”. After Kaley, several more grandchildren came along in the following order: Brandon, Christine, Jon, Ben, Cameron, Kelsey, Kortney, Ross, Luke and last but not least Sami!
With her marriage to Chuck in 2002, the number of grandchildren and great grandchildren grew to over 70! And every one of them was her “favorite”; each one will tell you so!
Myrna is survived by daughters Ginny (Randy) Jacobson, West Fargo, ND, Elizabeth (Ron) Thompson, Fargo ND, and Nanci Jo Kistler, Devils Lake, ND; beloved siblings June Klongerbo, Burnsville, MN, Landis (Alice) Gryte, Otsego, MN, and Charlotte Kaiser, Freeport, IL; Bemidji family, Kay Juhnke, Charles (Janice) Conway, Margo (Norman) Carlson, Chris (Ken) Larson, Jean (Steve) Penoncello, numerous nephews and nieces.
Myrna was preceded in death by her parents, brother Scott Rafnson, and great granddaughter Eliana.
Immediately following Myrna’s passing was a very small private service time of prayer, attended by her children. A service is being planned for Mother’s Day weekend (tentative date of May 7) out at the Vintage Garden, Barnesville, MN.
Memorials can be sent to Hospice of the Red River Valley: 1701 38th St S, Fargo, ND 58103