Oliver Gunderson, 86
Oliver Gunderson, age 86 of Elma, died Tuesday morning, July 4, 2023, at Regional Health Services of Howard County.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 10, 2023, at Zion Lutheran Church in Alta Vista, with the Rev. Sue Cira officiating.
The interment will be held at Union Cemetery in Pleasant Grove, Minnesota.
Friends may greet the family from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 9, 2023, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Elma, located at 508 Maple St. Visitation continues an hour before the service at the Church in Alta Vista on Monday.
Online condolences for the Gunderson family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com.
Oliver John Gunderson, a beloved husband, father, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2023, in Cresco.
Born on Jan. 20, 1937, in Harmony, Minnesota, the son of John and Gladys (Halverson) Gunderson, Oliver lived a life filled with love, service, and dedication to his family, community, and the agricultural industry.
Oliver graduated from Grand Meadow High School in 1955 and went on to earn an associate degree in animal science from Hawkeye Tech in 1970. His education laid the groundwork for a long and successful career in the pork industry.
In 1960, Oliver was drafted into the United States Army, where he served at Fort Hood for basic training before being stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. There, he worked in the communications of an artillery battery, a role that honed his discipline and commitment to duty.
Upon his honorable discharge from the military, Oliver returned to his roots in agriculture. He worked for DHIA as a supervisor and herdsman for the Heifer Project, a noble initiative that provided livestock to underprivileged farmers. His dedication to the industry was further cemented when he owned and operated Premium Pork in New Hampton for 20 years.
Oliver’s last two decades of work were spent with Reicks View Farms, where his intelligence and gentle demeanor made him an integral part of the operation.
Oliver’s personal life was equally as rich. He met his first wife, Carole Ann Welch, at a 4H softball game in Stewartville, Minnesota. They married at the Church of Christ in Pleasant Grove and welcomed their son, Jeffrey Oliver Gunderson, in 1963. Carol passed away on February 3, 2007.
Years later, Oliver found love again with Leigh Boyle while attending church at Zion Lutheran Church in Alta Vista. They were married on August 18, 2012, and settled in Elma.
A man of many interests, Oliver was a die-hard Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan. He loved attending his nieces’ and nephews’ sporting events and was always ready for a game of cribbage with his brother Ken. Oliver also collected antique glassware, amassing a collection of over 100 pieces.
His community involvement was widespread, serving as the Zion Lutheran Church Financial Secretary for many years and as a long-time member of the Pork Producers. Oliver was a member of The American Rabbit Breeders Association from 2004 to 2022. He took great joy in mentoring young minds as a 4H leader.
Oliver is survived by his wife, Leigh Gunderson of Elma; step-daughter, Rachel (Heather Schweikhardt) Boyle of Houston; brother, Ken (Muriel) Gunderson of Harmony, Minnesota; sister-in-law, Jody Gunderson of Savage, Minnesota; along with many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; first wife, Carole Ann Welch; son, Jeffrey Oliver Gunderson; and brother, David Gunderson.
Described by those who knew him as friendly, intelligent, and gentle, Oliver was a man who left a positive imprint on the world. His legacy will live on in the hearts of his family, friends, and all those whose lives were touched by his kindness and generosity. Oliver John Gunderson will be deeply missed, but his spirit will continue to inspire those who were fortunate enough to know him.