BARAGA – Anni Christine Gregor, 77, of Baraga passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 18, 2021 in Oakland, Calif., with family nearby.
Anni was born on January 27, 1944, in Dresden, Germany, and lived nearby in the small town of Dippoldiswalde.
World War II had a huge impact on Anni and her family. They lived just outside Dresden when it was bombed, and they continued to live in East Germany after the war when it was under Russian occupation. Her father escaped across the border to West Germany when she was 6, which allowed the family to move to West Germany in the Black Forest near the French border. She lived in West Germany until she was 13 and spent several summers with a host family in Norway, where she learned to knit intricate Norwegian sweaters. During these years, she learned to speak Russian, French and Norwegian in addition to her native German.
When she was 13, her family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she skipped a grade and went to Robbinsdale High School in Minneapolis before going to the University of Minnesota and graduating. a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the age of 21.
At 22, she married her first husband, Charles Norman, and started a family. She had three children during this marriage; Naomi, Aaron, and Zack also helped raise her stepson, John. She earned a certificate to work with chemically dependent teens and worked at a group home for teens in St. Paul.
She moved to Baraga, Michigan in 1979 at age 35 and married Peter Hoheisel and had her fourth child, Christina.
It was there that she earned a master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University, driving four hours in Sault Ste. Marie every week to attend classes and form lasting friendships with her classmates in the MSW program. She went on to earn a doctorate in education from Western Michigan University, again taking advantage of distance learning courses offered in the Upper Peninsula.
She worked for 30 years as a juvenile court counselor for Baraga County Court, retiring in 2014 at the age of 70. She loved her job and cared deeply about serving the children and families she worked with. During her career, she was appointed as a member of the Michigan Committee of Juvenile Justice for several years, which provided advice, suggestions, and solutions to the Governor of Michigan on matters relating to the juvenile justice system. She initiated a community attitude survey for Baraga County when a paper mill, casino, and maximum-security prison planned to come into the community to gauge sentiment about it before and after they were built. She conducted this survey every four years for 20 years. She served on the school board for Baraga area schools from 1996 to 2012. In the mid-1990s, she started a private therapy practice, Superior Counseling, where she saw couples and adults. She was a board member of the Barbara Kettle Gundlach shelter for abused women in Calumet from 1979 to 2011 and has held several leadership positions, including president.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Anni was a member of Michigan State University’s teaching faculty, School of Social Work, Distance Education Program. She has fulfilled roles as a field instructor, field liaison, and co-taught practice courses. She was instrumental in the success of the first MSW program at the UP Copper Country site, 500 miles from the MSU campus.
She loved Baraga County and the land she lived on. She often spoke of how lucky she was to live in such a beautiful place.
She never gave up her love of art and transferred her artistic talent to photography later in life. She played an active role in Gallery 325 where she contributed photographs and organized exhibitions and events.
Her many friends meant a lot to her. She camped and hiked regularly with many dear friends in and around Baraga County. She also had friends all over the country and in Germany that she connected with and visited. She enjoyed traveling around the world with her children, her sister and her friends.
After retiring, she moved to California to be closer to her daughter, son and grandchildren and was able to be a part of their lives for seven years before she died.
Surviving are her children Naomi (Graeme) Norman of Ann Arbor, MI; Aaron Norman of Ann Arbor, MI; Zack (Susan) Norman of San Francisco, California; Christina (Alex) Hoheisel of Oakland, CA; and her stepson John (Juliette) Norman of St. Paul, MN; siblings Maria (David) Dickhausen of Minneapolis, MN; George (Linda) Gregor of Minneapolis, MN; Eva (Tom) Peterson of Las Vegas, NV; Leni (Peter) Heinen of Minneapolis, MN; and Charles (Beth) Gregor of Minneapolis, MN; grandchildren Aidan, Quinn, Audrey, Nathalie, Victoria, Nicola, Ellie; nieces and nephews and many dear friends. Anni is predeceased by her parents Erwin and Johanna Gregor of Minneapolis, MN and her sister Edith Harris of Los Angeles, CA.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on July 23, 2022 at L’Anse Waterfront Park in L’Anse, Michigan. In her memory, please consider making a donation to the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter in Calumet or Baraga Area Schools (210 Lyons St, Baraga, MI 49908).