Mark passed away peacefully at home on September 9, after a brief battle with lung cancer. Funeral services will be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1000 Texas Street, Sulphur Springs, at 2:00 PM on Saturday September 16. Visitation will be one hour before the service at 1:00 at the church. Pastor Mark Elliott will officiate. Burial will follow at Pleasant Grove Cemetery with Donn Johnson, Steve Johnson, Gary Moen, Ron Paulson, and Bryan Deterding serving as pallbearers.
Mark Gunderson was born September 13, 1959, in Sisseton, South Dakota, to Jeanie and LeRoy (Tuby) Gunderson. Mark was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith and was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church. He grew up in Sisseton and graduated from Sisseton High School in 1977. In July 1977, he started Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He spent four years as a medical lab technician, proudly serving in the US Air Force, and later in the South Dakota Army National Guard. Mark used his Gl benefits to complete a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science at South Dakota State University, graduating in 1985. He began his nearly 30-year career with Associated Milk Producers/Dairy Farmers of America in Sulphur Springs, Texas, in early 1986. He retired about seven years ago due to health issues.
Mark met his wife Carol in Sisseton when they were both teenagers. They were friends and then began dating, and married in August 1981, right after Mark completed his Air Force Service. The couple enjoyed some carefree years together before God blessed them with their two boys. The couple had their first son, Eric, in June 1988. Their second son, Justin came along the day after Thanksgiving in November 1993. Mark's career was very demanding, but he loved watching his sons grow up and spending as much time as possible with his family. His happiest times in more recent years were attending his older son's wedding in the Dominican Republic, seeing his younger son complete college, watching his older son start a successful business, and of course, the birth of his grandchildren, Cooper and Colbie; his family and grandchildren were the true lights of his life!
In his younger days back in South Dakota, Mark grew up playing and excelling at all kinds of sports! His father was a coach and Mark loved golf, baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling. He continued to love golf as an adult and was club champion at Sand Hills in Commerce. Mark had many happy times with his golf buddies, including his dad, sister Jan, brother-in-law Gary, and his sons! If there's a golf course in heaven, I'm sure Mark will be out there tearing up the course! Mark also loved to hunt and fish. He spent countless hours in South Dakota out in the cold, beautiful, snowy winter weather hunting pheasants, duck, and deer. Mark's dad took him to Canada several times with his childhood family friends to hunt and fish — Mark had many fond memories and some good stories about those trips!
He is survived by and will be dearly missed by wife Carol, sons Eric (Lindsey), and Justin, his mother Jeanie, siblings Bucky (Linda Larson) Burchardt, Sharon (Gary) Moen, Jan (Debbie Vierkant) Gunderson, grandchildren Cooper Allen and Colbie Kate Gunderson, aunt, Yvonne Behrends, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, and his sister, Karen Gunderson.