HOLMEN — Pauline Van Dunk, 85, of Holmen passed away Saturday, May 27, 2017.
She was born Jan. 5, 1932, to Ansel and Wilda (Skogen) Bratberg in La Crosse. She was a graduate of Holmen High School and obtained her registered nursing degree at Fairview School of Nursing in Minneapolis. She married her high school sweetheart, Gordon, July 11, 1953, at Halfway Creek Lutheran Church. For three years, she followed Gordon to army bases around the U.S., always finding work at nearby hospitals. Upon returning to the family farm, she worked several years as a nurse at Gundersen Lutheran and later dedicated two decades of work to the Onalaska Care Center, retiring in 1997.
Pauline lived her life with no regrets, happy to have spent her life on the beautiful family farm in the town of Holland, with her loving husband and children. She tirelessly focused her life on helping others and teaching her family to do the same; she sponsored foreign exchange students and a Hmong refugee family that had served alongside the U.S. military in the Vietnam war.
She was confirmed in 1946, by Pastor Kenneth Torvik at Holmen Lutheran Church. Pastor Torvik played a pivotal role in helping her affirm her faith during confirmation years, which was a major influence in all aspects of her life. She was continuously active in the Holmen Lutheran Church’s various church committees and events.
Her passion was gardening, beginning in 4-H by planting “Victory Gardens” during World War II. She continued to surround her home with lovely flower beds and a garden that she tended and nurtured over decades. On a warm day, Pauline could be seen working with her hands to improve the splendor of the land she loved. Her hard work, dedication to helping others, and focus on learning were an inspiration to her family and friends.
She is survived by her five children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandsons: son, Rod (Julie Sarazin) Van Dunk of Holmen, and their children, Afton and Nolan; son, Greg (Ann Lorman) Van Dunk of Milwaukee, and their children, Katy (Tony) Caraballo and son, Eli; Kenton; Reid (Perla) and son, Jonah; daughter, Heidi (Tim Faust) Van Dunk of Bayfield and their son, Austin; daughter, Amy (Lon Erlandson) Van Dunk of Minneapolis; and daughter, Emily (Erik Lee) Van Dunk of Milwaukee and their children, Damonte, Rico and Maurice. Pauline is further survived by three sisters, Lois Dawes of La Crescent, Minn., Irma Daniels of Madison, Wi., and Elvah Ristinen (Bob) of Boulder, Colo. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon; sister, Viola Bolton; and brothers, Wayne and Burton Bratberg.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, June 2, at Holmen Lutheran Church, 228 Morris Street. Friends may visit with the family from 9 a.m. until time of services Friday at the church, and burial will be in the Greenmound Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. The Dickinson Family Funeral Home is assisting the family. To share online condolences and for more information please visit www.dickinsonfuneralhome.com.