Joseph Marvin Gunderson, 89, died on his birthday, June 15, 2017, at Bradley Terrace Nursing Home, Milwaukee, due to cardiac problems.
He was born to Martin Gunderson II and Stella Matilda Gu(aa)skjolen (Gusk) Gunderson (Harry Addison) Clemons, June 15, 1928, in Strum, Wis. Joe delivered newspapers and set pins. A tall guy, he enjoyed playing varsity basketball and graduated from Strum High School. He kept a collection of marbles, probably winnings, from those Strum days, selling most of them in his later years, but keeping just a few.
Joe was a waiter before he became an Army infantry soldier, serving in the Pacific Theater from 1946-1948, and was discharged as a Corporal. He was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal. He worked as a trimmer at Nash-Kelvinator in Milwaukee, where many other Strum-Osseo area men worked, for two years, when Oct. 10, 1950, he was recalled from inactive duty. Now PFC, Joe was sent to Korea in an ERC-SIG corp as a telephone lineman, to the Fifth Army area. His most significant duty assignment was as a 2nd engineer, 287th Signal Company Special Brigade. His back was seriously injured, when as a passenger in a Jeep moving to the front, overturned. He spent several months in a hospital in Japan, before being discharged Aug. 30, 1951. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars and the Overseas Medal. Joe was a member of American Legion Shorewood Post and Strum VFW and was chosen for the November 2012, Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
Joe retired after many years from Continental Can, formerly, American Can, in Milwaukee. He kept a collection of bottle caps from his assembly line, which is unfortunately gone, except for one. Always a sharp dresser, he enjoyed his bachelor life; being 6 ft., with blonde hair and hazel eyes didn’t hurt. But then in later years, he met Norma Mansfield. From then on they were a couple, going out often to eat and to church at Salem Lutheran. They traveled together, especially to his yearly birthday trip north, visiting old friends in Strum and relatives in the area and attending his all-school reunions. He loved watching the Milwaukee Braves, and later, the Brewers play, either on TV or in person.
He is survived by his nine nephews and nieces; and many great and great-great-nieces and nephews: Dennis Merlin Gunderson, New Hope, Minn.; Muriel Julianna Gunderson, Dakota, Minn.; Gary Allen (Sandy McCallen) Gunderson, Blaine, Minn., two children, Jacob “Jake” Allen (Kate “Katie”), Chisago City, MN, children, Eli and Amelia; and Kelly Lee Gunderson (Craig) Rusch, children, Alysia Lee and Ryker; Robert James (Teresa “Teri” Jean Cleary) Gunderson, Jacksonville, Fla., three children, Emily Ann (Shawn) McGinty, Hugo, Minn. (Jase and Drew), Crystal Lea (Jonathan) Jenkins, Atlanta, Ga., and Adam James, San Diego; Linda Sue (George Irwin Jr.) Nielsen, Forest Lake, Minn., their three children, Rhonda Sue Carr (Paul) Olson, Ham Lake, Minn., Samantha (Justin), Cambridge, Minn., Richard Charles Jr., and Sophia Rose Olson (son, Joseph “Joey” Douglas Olson) stepdaughter, Danielle (Jonathan) Voss, their three sons, Vincent, Xavier and Evander Voss and Ann Marie (Daniel John) Sagndorf, Chisago City, Minn., four children, Daniel John Jr. “DJ “(Justyne [Mabel Faye and Walter Wayne), Emma Grace, Alexander James and Anthony Ayers; Scot Jeffrey (Alysia “Lisi”) Nielsen, North Branch, Minn., (her daughter, Breanna (Jesse) Costello and daughter, Aria); and Gabriel Scot Nielsen; Keith Wayne (Sonja) Gunderson, Vadnis Heights, Minn., and their children, Joshua Brian and daughter, Madison, and Justin Wayne, and daughters, Ava and Paula. Pamela Kay (Gunem) Frank, Hasting, Minn., and her son, Patrick James (Wendy) Frank, Burnsville, Minn., and his daughter, Lydia Marie, and their children, Luna, Zion and Fenix Frank; and Steven Gunem and Victoria Eunice Finstad, both Eau Claire. Also surviving, cousins, Ann Wraalstad (Roger) Wittkopf, Eau Claire, Wis., and Duane (Pat) Wraalstad, Coon Rapids, Minn., Jerome (Myrtle) Gusk), Taylor, Wis., Myrtle Gunderson, Java (Jane) Bergerson, Strum and many cousins in Blairthe area, Grinnell, Iowa, Norway, SASK Canada and elsewhere.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather; and grandparents, Martin Gunderson (I) and Olea Olsdatter Flobergshagen (Aker) Gunderson (Brede) Ramstad and Oscar Knute Gaaskjolen (Gusk) and Julia Amanda Johnson Gusk (Guy) Smith, an infant brother and all his siblings and spouses, Martin Sigurd Jr. (Daisy Turina Larson), Orville James (Audrey “Buddy” Emma Henschel), Marguerite ”Muggs” Sylvia (Donald James) Gunem, and Eunice Ovidia (Victor Raymond) Finstad and two infant sons. Also preceding him in death was his niece, Julie Ann Gunderson; and his beloved companion, Norma Mansfield.
Joe received a special birthday gift this year, the gift of eternal life. His family would like to thank his friends and all who visited with and cared about him throughout his life.
Visitation is a half-hour before the closed casket funeral with Pastor Lowell Bolstad at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at Strum Immanuel Lutheran. Burial will be at 2 p.m. at the West Beef River Cemetery, rural Strum, with military honors. Lunch will follow the service for those unable to go to the cemetery, with the others returning after the graveside service. Please stay to visit.
Church and Chapel Larson Bro’s Funeral Home, Brookfield, Wis., is assisting the family. Memories of Joe may be submitted at www.churchandchapel.com. Joe’s full tribute is online there. Please, no flowers and dress casual. Memorials in Joe’s name may be sent to Freedom Honor Flight, PO Box 505, La Crosse, WI 54602-0505.