FUNERAL SERVICES: 11:00 am on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at St. Johns Lutheran Church in Park Rapids, MN with Pastor James Neubauer and Pastor Tim Heinecke officiating.
VISITATION: 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm on Monday, October 18, 2010 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids, MN and for one hour prior to services onTuesday at the church.
INTERMENT: Greenwood Cemetery, Park Rapids, MN.
SURVIVORS: His children: Jane (Bill) Smith of Callaway, MN, Julie (Berrie) Burton of Park Rapids and Michael (Kelly) Ruhnke of Apple Valley, MN; his brother, Robert Ruhnke of Park Rapids; his sister, Lois (Robert) Scheerer of Edina, MN; his 12 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
GORDON EDWARD “Gordy” RUHNKE
January 20, 1927 – October 11, 2010
Gordon Edward “Gordy” Ruhnke, age 83, a lifelong Park Rapids, MN area resident, peacefully entered Heaven’s Gate on Monday, October 11, 2010 at St. Joseph’s Health Center in Park Rapids with 28 of his loved ones at his side following a period of declining health.
Gordy was born on January 20, 1927 in Park Rapids to Herb and Neta (Zimbrick) Ruhnke. It was in Park Rapids that he attended public grade school and went on to attend the Park Rapids Public High School. At the age of 17, Gordy entered the United States Army where he proudly served his country during the later phase of World War II. He completed his basic training at Camp Livingston, LA where he underwent advanced infantry training. Because of his knowledge of the Morse code and his typing skills he was immediately assigned to the Radio and Signal Corps of the 141st field Artillery Division. Later he transferred to the air section where he received specialized airplane mechanical training and was assigned to be in charge of a small airfield in Darmshaw, Germany. While serving for an extended period of time there, Gordy became ill with a serious infection. He was sent to a nearby field hospital where he nearly died. After his recovery, Gordy was honorably discharged and returned home to Park Rapids where he worked with his father and brother, Robert, in the family bottle gas business. On August 29, 1950, Gordy was united in marriage to the prettiest gal in all of Hubbard County, Anna Lou Pritchett, at St Johns Lutheran Church in Park Rapids in a candlelight ceremony officiated by the Reverend C.J. Nissen. This union was blessed with three children: Jane, Julie and Michael. The Ruhnke Bottle Gas Co. sold in 1962 and became the Pyrofax Gas Company, Gordy continued working for them for several more years. In 1965, Gordy’s adventurous spirit had him pack up his family and move to Orange, CA where he worked out on a deep water oil rig for the Shell Oil Company. Later, they returned to Park Rapids where Gordy gained employment working for the Knapp-Grover Company as a member of the Plumbers and Pipe-fitters Union Local #11. In the late 1960’s, Gordy accepted a position with the Johnson Controls Company where he worked as a trouble shooter throughout MN and the Dakotas. His career with this company took him throughout the region on interesting projects such as the inter-continental missile silos located in North Dakota. Unfortunately health problems, forced him into early retirement in the mid-1970’s. Gordy loved the out of doors, especially when he could be out hunting or fishing with family and friends. He was a great cook who will long be remembered for his delicious home cooking. He taught all of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren the art of cribbage playing. Gordy loved the game and continued playing at least three games of cribbage per day with his brother, Bob, right up until just days before his death. He was a lifetime member of St. Johns Lutheran Church in Park Rapids and was also a lifetime member of the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post #212 in Park Rapids. Above all, Gordy’s life was fulfilled by his loving family. He grieved the death of his precious wife, Anna Lou who arrived in Heaven just 11 months earlier and he missed her right up until the day he joined her there. Gordy was blessed with the special care and love of his children and grandchildren for the past months since her death.
He will be lovingly remembered by his children: Jane (Bill) Smith of Callaway, MN, Julie (Berrie) Burton of Park Rapids and Michael (Kelly) Ruhnke of Apple Valley, MN; his brother, Robert Ruhnke of Park Rapids; his sister, Lois (Robert) Scheerer of Edina, MN; his 12 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and wife for the past 59 years, Anna Lou.
Funeral services will be held 11 AM Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at St Johns Lutheran Church in Park Rapids with Pastor James Neubauer and Pastor Tim Heinecke officiating. Connie Shubert will be the organist and Lynn Just will be the soloist and singing “Amazing Grace” and “On Eagles Wings”. The congregational hymns will be “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” and “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.” The casketbearers will be: Andrew Burton, B.J. Smith, Jason Burton, Matt Weaver, Ken Weaver, Jon Koch, Jesse Koch, Luke Weaver, Tyler Ruhnke and Anthony Murray. The honorary casketbearers will be: Joel Burton, Tayler Kamiel, Trista Rosing, Ashlee Rosing, Natalie Ruhnke, Cailey Rosing, Alex Ruhnke, Kobe Burton, Madelyn Rosing, Eli Burton, Kylie Higgins, Blake Higgins, Dennis Savard, Natalie Notch, Sam Notch, Christopher Notch and Devin Ferrian. Interment will be made in the Greenwood Cemetery. Military honors will be conducted by the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post #212 and the Army National Guard Firing Squad. Following the services, a luncheon will be hosted by St Johns Lutheran Church. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 PM Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home and for one hour prior to the services at the church on Tuesday.