Ralph Elwood Sunde, 91, Luverne, died Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne.
A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m., all at Zion Lutheran Church in Adrian. Burial with full military honors will follow at Kenneth Cemetery, rural Kenneth.
Ralph Sunde was born to Ingolf and Alma (Halverson) Sunde on Jan. 11, 1926, in Vienna Township, Rock County. He attended Kenneth Grade School and Luverne High School, graduating with the class of 1943. He farmed with his father for five years and then enrolled in Waldorf Junior College in Forest City, Iowa, graduating in 1950 with an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration.
On Sept. 28, 1950, Ralph was inducted into the United States Army and served with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. He received his honorable discharge on June 28, 1952, having attained the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the honors of CIB, Purple Heart Medal, Korean Service Medal, two Bronze Service Stars and Dist. Unit Citation. He then returned to Kenneth and farmed with his father and brother-in-law.
In January 1961 Ralph moved to Harris, Iowa, where he was employed by Gramstad Lumber Company. In January 1966 he began working at Berkley Fishing Tackle in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He retired on April 29, 1992, and returned to Luverne. During retirement he enjoyed working as a school crossing guard for 15 years.
Ralph was a 25-year member of the Emergency Brigade of Berkley and served on the Harris Volunteer Fire Department and Harris Industrial Development Corporation. He was a lifetime member of Kenneth Lutheran Church and served in various positions.
He enjoyed bowling, listening to country music, traveling and visiting over a cup of coffee with friends.
He belonged to Sons of Norway – Gjoa Lodge #65 of Sioux Falls and served as Inner Guard for several years. He also held membership in Agder Lag, Nordfjord Lag, Sunnfjord Lag and Valdres Sambrand. He traveled to Norway several times to visit relatives and learn about his Norwegian heritage. He also took his nieces and nephews along with him on his many trips within the United States.
During his earlier years, Ralph was a member of the Lake Park American Legion Post #371 and later, transferred his membership to the Dell Hogan (Luverne) American Legion Post #123. He was a member of the Korean War Veterans Association and received the South Korean Veterans Ambassador for Peace Medal as an expression of appreciation from the Korean government in January 2016. He was very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Freedom Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2015, from the La Crosse, Wisconsin, district.
Ralph is survived by his brother, David Sunde, Preston; 13 nieces and nephews; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents; five siblings, Burnell Sunde, Eileen (Walter) Kopp, Merlin Sunde, Ruth (Harry) James, and Avis (James) Schroder; and a sister-in-law, Kay Sunde.
Memorials may be directed to the Kenneth Cemetery Association.
Arrangements are by Hartquist Funeral Home of Luverne, www.hartquistfuneral.com.