In memoriam: Chuck Gunderson

Rev. Charles Laverne Gunderson, 88, of Northfield, MN, passed away peacefully on June 21, 2018 at the Northfield Retirement Center with loving family by his side.

Charles was born on February 15, 1930 the youngest of Elmer and Inez (Hermanson) Gunderson’s seven children.  He was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at Trinity Lutheran Church in Madison, WI.

Charles graduated from Madison East High School in 1948.  He then went on to St. Olaf College inNorthfield and graduated in 1952.  Following college Charles felt called to the ministry and enrolled at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, graduating in 1956.

While attending the seminary Charles met Marlys Ringdahl on a blind date. They were married at Boe Memorial Chapel at St. Olaf College on October 2, 1954 and shared 56 wonderful years together until Marlys passed in 2010.  To their marriage five children were born Mary, John, David, Paul and Elizabeth.

Charles was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1956 and decided his first call would be to serve both church and country.  He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served three years as a Military Chaplain at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL.

In 1959 Charles was called to Larslan, MT, where he served Our Savior’s and Grain Lutheran Churches for six years.  He then accepted a call to Oklee, MN, where he served Zion, Salem and Valle Lutheran Churches for twenty years.  His final call was to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Swift Falls, MN, where he served 10 years, retiring in 1995.

Following retirement Charles and Marlys moved to Northfield where they were active members of Bethel Lutheran Church and were involved with a variety of activities. 

Care for others and empathy were special gifts that Charles shared throughout his life.  He was a modest and humble pastor, trusted friend, devoted husband and loving father. He helped many though their most difficult and trying times with his kind and patient presence.  He loved humor and his optimism was contagious.  He especially enjoyed spending time with family, visiting with friends and neighbors, attending church functions, reading and helping others. 

Survivors include his children Mary Gunderson-Marquis of Fosston, MN, John of Los Angeles, CA, David (Jill) of Burnsville, MN, Paul (Julie) of Santa Barbara, CA, Elizabeth (Allen) Westlake of Crookston, MN; 10 grandchildren Erica (Luke) Nelson, Ethan (Sarah) Marquis, Erin (James) Kopco, Justin (Allison) Marquis, Angela (Mike) Gunderson-Torres, Tony (Stephanie) Gunderson, Leif (Melissa) Gunderson, Madeline Gunderson, Isaac Westlake, Quinn Westlake; and 16 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife Marlys, his parents, his sisters Seville Dorr, Jeanlyn Samuelson, Geraldine Vanderhoef, Mary Ellen Ayers, Lorraine Carmen, and his brother Bob.

Funeral services will be 10:30AM, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at Bethel Lutheran Church, 1321 North Ave., Northfield.  Visitation will be at the church on Monday, June 25, 2018, from 4-7PM and will continue on Tuesday one hour prior to the service.  Interment with Military Honors will take place at Oaklawn Cemetery in Northfield.  Pallbearers will be his grandchildren.

Thank you to the caregivers at the Northfield Retirement Community for your kind, patient and compassionate care.

Memorials are preferred to the Northfield Retirement Community or Bethel Lutheran Church 1321 North Ave., Northfield Minnesota 55057.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.

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