Gretta Van Horn

Gretta Lynn Van Horn, 31, of Grand Rapids, Minn. and formerly Nevis, Minn., passed Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at Oak Hills Assisted Living in Grand Rapids.

Gretta was born in 1990 to Kent and Joni (Johnson) Hjelseth in Grand Forks, N.D. In 1997, she and her family moved to Nevis. Gretta was a high achieving student and athlete. She participated in volleyball, track and field, golf, and most notably, basketball. Gretta scored 2,033 points during her high school basketball career, still holding the woman’s record for all-time leading scorer in Nevis basketball history. Gretta graduated from NHS in 2008.

Gretta was recruited to play basketball at the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, N.D. After her freshman year, she transferred to the Minnesota State University-Moorhead, graduating magna cum laude and earning her bachelor’s and eventually master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She was a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

In 2014, Gretta moved to Grand Rapids with her high school sweetheart, Jake Van Horn, where she was employed as a speech language pathologist in area nursing homes and schools. In June of that same year, Gretta was diagnosed with pineal cancer, a form of brain cancer. She battled courageously for eight years. In July 2016, Jake proposed to Gretta and they were married Dec. 17, 2016.

Everyone who knew Gretta knew that she was a huge fan of Duke Men’s Basketball. She wrote to “Coach K” and much to her surprise, he replied, receiving several phone calls and a special invite to a Duke vs. UNC game. He also supported her fundraiser by sending gifts. Gretta never lost her competitive edge — she enjoyed playing and winning, at any game. Gretta also loved going to the casino, making jokes, and hanging out with family, friends and “fur babies.” Her smile brightened every room she walked in. She was unwavering in her support for her family and never complained throughout her entire treatment and cancer journey. She will be remembered as the “chosen one” in their family — an inside joke that she was everyone’s favorite. She will be deeply missed by all.

Gretta was preceded in death by her grandparents, Maynard and DeLores Hjelseth and LaVerne and Loris Johnson; uncle, Bruce Johnson; and her beloved dog, Jerzie.

Gretta is survived by her husband, Jake Van Horn; parents, Kent and Joni Hjelseth; sisters, Bettsy and Mattie Hjelseth; parents-in-law, Jeff and Jody Van Horn; and her cherished companion, Simba, the dog.

Visitation will be April 30 at 12:30 p.m. at the Nevis Public School gymnasium followed by a memorial service at 1:30 with Pastor Ron Weller officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Headwaters Animal Shelter, 901 Western Ave S. Park Rapids, MN 56470 or Marshmallow Animal Shelter, 1478 Mallard St. Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.

To sign the online guestbook or send condolences visit

Arrangements are with the Rowe Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids, Minn.


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