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BRUNK, Ronald 1934-2015

BRUNK, SPONG, KRUSCHWITZ

Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 3/24/2015 at 21:08:03

Ronald Elmer Brunk, 80, of rural Grundy County, Iowa, died on March 17, 2015, at home after a brief but courageous battle with liver and stomach cancer.

Ron was born April 27, 1934 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the only child of David Elmer and Hazel Helen (Spong) Brunk. He lived the majority of his life until graduating from Punahou High School in 1952, in Manoa Valley (a part of Honolulu). Ron spent nearly every other summer with his paternal grandmother in McPherson, Kansas, cementing his interest and love for the Church of the Brethren tenets.

He continued his love with education at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, graduating with honors with a Bachelor's of Science in agriculture and a minor in science, where he also was on the All Conference Honorable Mention Soccer team. He further pursed education at Iowa State University to complete a Master's in Agronomy. After completing his first Master's degree he spent two and a half years in BVS (Brethren Volunteer Service) in Vietnam, Poland and briefly in Vienna, furthering his love of the world and agriculture. Upon return from Europe, Ron worked in Illinois where he made friends with people who had connections to the Ivester Church of the Brethren. At that time, while applying for Iowa State Extension work, he applied near several Church of the Brethren churches. He accepted a position in Hardin County Extension office and soon met his future bride when she came home from McPherson College at Thanksgiving break. Thirteen months later on December 22, 1961, LaDonna Mae Kruschwitz married Ron at Ivester Church amid a blizzard. They were blessed with three children, and six grandchildren.

Soon after they were married, the couple bought their first 80 acres including a homestead from LaDonna's great aunt. Ron began teaching high school science and growing his hog operation until they had accrued enough hogs and land to farm exclusively. He continued his education with an additional Master's of Science degree from the University of Northern Iowa in Ecology. But he never stopped pursuing education (and his love of Asian food) through world traveling to 63 countries, a love of reading, viewing public television and actively participating in local, state and national politics.

Ron was a member of Ivester Church of the Brethren for over 50 years, where he served in numerous leadership roles, and repeatedly lead the outreach and service programs. Ron also participated at Church of the Brethren Camp Pine Lake, Melrose Township 4-H club, Grundy County Pork Producers, Farmer's Union, Grundy County Democrats, and state leadership roles with Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI). He also was active in field days and test plots for PFI in cooperation with Iowa State University; always searching out more ecologically and environmentally sound farming and gardening processes. Included in those pursuits of learning via faith, teaching and agriculture, he lived and worked in various ways abroad including, Ecuador and Honduras. Along with an avid love of photography and videography, he was in the forefront of many green processes such as no-till farming, solar power energy and wind turbine farms.

He is survived by his wife, LaDonna; children Linnea (Jay) Nicholson of rural Wichita, Kansas, Steven (Pat Granja) Brunk of the family farm in rural Grundy County, Karin (Jose Madrigal) Brunk of Marshalltown, Iowa; grandchildren, Adam Beck Brunk, Issac Beck Brunk, Ezra Nicholson, Aaron Beck Brunk, Nehemiah Nicholson, and Jack Beck Brunk; step-grandchildren Katie McColm of El Monte, California, Francisco (Janet) Madrigal and Jose Madrigal of Marshalltown, Iowa, and Alondra Madrigal of Los Angeles, California; and step-great-grandson Jose Angel Madrigal.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 19 at the Ivester Church of the Brethren from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Green burial will be held with family on Thursday. Memorial Service will be held Saturday, March 21 at the Ivester Church of the Brethren at 11:00 a.m. with lunch following.

--Abels Funeral Homes (www.abelsfuneralhomes.com)


 

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