Anna Karolina (Zeeb) Gries, 102, died at Springhurst Health Campus in Greenfield on Oct. 6, 2012. Anne was born in New York City on March 13, 1910. Her parents, Ludwig and Helen (Baasch) Zeeb, preceded her in death, as well as Konrad, her husband of a 66 year-long marriage.
Anne was a member of St. James Lutheran Church in Greenfield. Most of Anne Gries' artistic talents came to the fore in the later stages of her life. Taking care of her husband and raising four boys, plus foster babies from time to time, did not leave much room for anything else. Oh, there were forays into other things to augment her husband Konrad's somewhat meager professorial salary from raising chickens, selling freezers and food plans (oh, the halcyon days of Carleton Frederick!), selling encyclopedias (World Book, where are you now?), selling Flexiclogs, bronzing baby shoes, altering clothes for "large" ladies, boarding foreign visitors, and the like. And there were years of training and showing poodles and pugs. But her time was often spent in less frivolous and more remunerative activities, like walking a few miles a day to her job as a doctor's aide in order to make money to help feed all those males in her life. Probably, it was all this early commercial toil that prompted her later to express herself so artistically in lapidary, sculpting, painting, and photography. Maybe, even, it was taking blood from fingers and smearing it on slides that sparked a glowing ember that would grow so slowly but steadily into a fiery yearning to paint. It was only after the boys grew up, flew the nest one by one, and left her in peace that she turned to more artistic expression. She spent years designing and making jewelry, and all four daughters-in-law are proud to own real Anne Gries creations. Her talent prompted a request from a large N.Y. department store to make jewelry exclusively for them (she turned them down). Also, when the nest was empty, she acquired a car and a driver's license and took 6 month trips with Konrad throughout the U.S. and Europe, and she did all the driving.
From sculpting and lapidary she switched to flower photography. Out went the jewelry books and tools! In came the photography books and equipment! In came the film-development equipment! Her flower photography was exquisite, unique, and different. It almost seemed to capture the soul of the flowers. Then a friend suggested that Anne take up painting. This made instant sense to Anne: she could paint flowers as she saw them instead of as the camera saw them. Instead of sitting alone outside on the lawn in the sun waiting for a flower to smile, she could stay inside and paint her own smile on a flower. Out went the photography books and the film-development equipment! In came the art books, paints, and brushes! And she painted until she was almost 100.
Anne is survived by her brothers, Paul, Otto, and Arthur Zeeb; four sons, Christian Gries (June), twins David Gries (Elaine) and Peter Gries (Margret), and Daniel Gries; nine grandchildren, Michael Gries, Becky Peterson, Karen Bell, Paul Gries, Susan Langston, Ann Slaughter, Amy Gries, Gabe Gries, and Jesse Gries; 14 great-grandchildren, Taylor Gries, Keil Gries, Luke Gries, Elizabeth Alvarez (Austin), Melissa Peterson, Adam Peterson, Mathilda Bell, Christian Bell, Sage Hall, Zoe Hall, Toby Slaughter, Lucas Gries, Aiden Gries, and Leina Gries; and a beloved ex-daughter-in-law, Ellen Gries.
Anne, although the oldest of eight children, was preceded in death by four of her seven siblings, Martin Zeeb, Bertha Jank, Clara Logstedt, and Doris Vesel.
Anne's family and friends will always treasure her memory and the love and inspiration she gave us all. Her life will be celebrated with a Memorial Service at St. James Lutheran Church on Saturday Nov. 24, 2012.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. James Lutheran Church, 1741 South State Street, Greenfield, IN, 46140. Arrangements are entrusted to the Stillinger Family Funeral home Pasco Chapel.
Online condolences can be made at www.stillingerfamilyfuneralhome.com