Elaine Jean Strunk died at the age of 87 on October 8th, 2020 in Burnsville, MN where she had lived in recent years. A deeply committed Christian, she lived a life filled with kindness, compassion, strength and love. She was born August 15, 1933 to Carl and Tilda (Gulbraa) Gildseth of Oldham, SD and was baptized by the late Rev. A. M. Peterson at Oldham Lutheran Church.
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Elaine received her elementary education at Spring Lake #5, a one-room rural grade school and graduated with the Oldham High School Class of 1951. She attended General Beadle State Teacher’s College in Madison, SD returning home as a country school teacher. Determined to complete a four year degree, Elaine enrolled at Augustana College as an elementary education major, graduating with the Class of 1959 and taught second grade in Luverne, MN.
Elaine and Ray Strunk were united in marriage on June 30, 1960 and devoted their lives to God, raising a family, and farming near Irene, SD. A member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Elaine taught Sunday School for many years. She was a singer, quilter, soap maker, and bible study leader. She had a marvelous gift of hospitality, preparing feasts for many guests, and took pride in her Norwegian heritage. Her brother Leland moved from Oldham to Irene 1974 to live near and work with the Strunk family. Elaine took great delight in each of her grandchildren. It was a wonderful life.
Elaine was preceded in death by husband (Wallace) Ray; infant daughter Karla Kay; infant grandson Anthony Strunk; and brothers Leland and Richard Gildseth. She is survived by three children: James (Krista) of Hayward, WI; Sanford (Alisa) of Dinwiddie, VA; and Dawn (Mark) Whittenburg of Burnsville, MN; four grandchildren: Keegan Strunk; Alan Strunk; and Jessica and Thomas Whittenburg; three step-grandchildren: Robin Gochenour, Joel Legacy, and Elizabeth Bradshaw and several beloved nieces and nephews.
The family thanks Good Samaritan of Tyndall, Ebenezer Care Center of Burnsville, MN, Easter Lutheran Church of Eagan, MN and the People of Praise for their care, ministry, and friendship to Mom in her final years. Memorials may be directed to any of these organizations or the Elim Cemetery Asociation in Elaine's Memory.