Lee Groner
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Obituary of Lee Groner

Lee Groner of Brookfield, CT died peacefully at Candlewood Valley Healthcare on Saturday, December 10, 2022, after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. 


She was born in Bay Shore, Michigan on September 3, 1942, daughter of the late Frank Burnett and the late Dorothy (Jacobs) Bandy.  After growing up on the family farm in northern Michigan, Lee moved to Chicago upon her graduation from the Cedar Lake Academy in Cedar Lake, MI.  She loved the excitement of Chicago, and it was there she met her future husband Paul James (“Jim”) Groner.    


Jim was enlisted in the United States Marines and soon after they were married, they moved to Barstow, California where Jim was stationed.   While living there Lee worked for the US military performing office and administrative duties on base.   After Jim’s discharge from the military in 1967 they settled in Marion, Illinois close to where Jim grew up.   It was there in Marion where they started and raised their family – having 2 children – a daughter Cheryl and son Todd.   Combining her skills at administration, her love for children and her desire to stay home and raise her own 2 children - Lee founded what became a very popular home-based childcare business. 


For the next 30 years “Lee’s Daycare” was a fixture in the lives of the over 100 children she cared for during that time – from newborns to teenagers.  Lee was an icon in the community for the love, care and passion she had for “her kids”.  Not one to ever sit still, Lee somehow coordinated it all – from changing babies, taking those old enough on daily outings around Marion, helping others with their homework and in most cases providing the children with 3 full, home-cooked meals a day.   Many of the children she helped raise say they use her recipes in their homes to this day.  Lee was especially proud and so honored to frequently get the chance to care for 2 generations from a single family – caring for the children of the very children she helped raised.  Many, now adults and parents themselves, have kept in touch with her ever since.


However, no matter how busy she was, Lee’s number one priority was always her friends and her family who she cherished and loved unconditionally. 


Upon their retirement, Lee & Jim moved to Brookfield, CT to be closer to their 3 beloved grandchildren BJ, Devin & Karlee.   Lovingly known to them as “Gran” - they spent countless hours after school or having sleepovers at her home overlooking Candlewood Lake.  


Lee was a lover of gardening, travel, sunny beaches, and lighthouses.  In her later years she greatly enjoyed the company of and talking about her 2 boxers, Sawyer & Skyler.  Whenever she had free time, she also loved attending concerts, visiting New York City, and attending Broadway shows with her daughter Cheryl.   


Jim passed away in 2009, but Lee is survived by and will be greatly missed by her daughter Cheryl Oberndorfer and her husband Kyle of Brookfield - who was like a son to both her and Jim, her son Todd Kopriva and his wife, Sandy of Seattle, Washington and her three cherished grandchildren BJ Oberndorfer of Santa Ana, CA, Devin Oberndorfer and Karlee Oberndorfer both of Brookfield.  Lee is also survived by her sister Mrs. Elsie Adams of Danbury, CT and by the countless friends she made wherever she lived. 


The family would like to thank the staff of Candlewood Valley Healthcare for the care and compassion they gave Lee during her time there.  


In keeping with Lee's wishes, the family will celebrate her life privately and in lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.



A Memorial Tree was planted for Lee
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cornell Memorial Home
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