Elbertus “Bert” Gunnink was born to William and Frances (Broekhuis) on August 14, 1925 on a farm near Edgerton, Minnesota where he was raised and attended school. In 1936, he moved with his parents to a farm by Leota, Minnesota and continued his education at the Leota Christian School. Upon completion of his education, he helped on the family farm. On December 2, 1948, he was united in marriage to Etta-Mae Van Surksum at the Bethel Reformed Church in Leota. Following their marriage, they lived and farmed near Lismore, Minnesota. In 1951, they moved to a farm by Woodstock, Minnesota; and in 1958, they moved to a farm by Ihlen, Minnesota. When he retired from farming in 1990, Bert began working for Terpstra Implement in Pipestone, Minnesota and continued working there until 1995. In 1999, they moved from their farm into Pipestone where they lived for 19 years. On March 2, 2018, he became a resident of the Good Samaritan Communities of Pipestone. On May 30, 2018, he became a resident at the Edgebrook Care Center in Edgerton where he died peacefully on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at the age of 93 years, two months and 25 days.
Bert was a member of the Christian Reformed Church in Pipestone. He was baptized in 1925 at the Christian Reformed Church in Leota where he also made his profession of faith in 1944. While living in Woodstock, he served as a deacon at the church there. For many years, he served as a deacon and an elder at the church in Pipestone. He was a member of the Golden Agers in Pipestone, the Ihlen Senior Citizens, and the Pipestone Wagon Train which he was a member of for 40 years. He volunteered for the Meals on Wheels and the Pipestone Food Shelf. He enjoyed raising registered Belgian horses and loved reading, and playing games (especially Tri-ominoes) with his family and friends. Many children were blessed through the years to have him in their lives as their foster dad.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Etta-Mae Gunnink of Edgerton, Minnesota; three children, Gary Gunnink of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, Tim (Barb) Gunnink of Aurora, Colorado, and Gloria Gunnink of Maplewood, Minnesota; two grandchildren, Brittany and Dacia (Rolo) Celis; and one great-granddaughter, Ettalia; one brother, Arnold (Connie) Gunnink of Leota, Minnesota; and one sister-in-law, Mary Ann Gunnink of Edgerton. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Rose; his parents; three brothers, Richard (Ruth), John (Annie), and Pete Gunnink; and one sister, Jennie Masselink.