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Martin Ernest Bunge

December 3, 1924 September 18, 2014
Martin Ernest Bunge
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Obituary for Martin Ernest Bunge

Heron Lake, MN


      Martin Ernest Bunge, age 89, was born on December 3, 1924 in Heron Lake, Minnesota. Martin was the son of Martin H. Bunge and Mable Bunge (nee McNelly) of Heron Lake, Minnesota. Martin grew up on the family farm in Miloma near Heron Lake and attended country school in Miloma and then went to Okabena Public School where he was valedictorian of his class.

      Following High School Martin enlisted in the US Army where he proudly served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Following a honorable discharge, Martin went on to attend University of Minnesota where he was a member of the Farm House Fraternity. Martin was known for his compassion and was selected to receive the prestigious Doan Award, which represents the most deserving senior in his graduating class for his service and assistance to his fellow students.

      After college, Martin went to visit his sister Jean in Chicago and, as fate happens, went on a blind date and met the future love of his life, Jean Raynor. Martin and Jean were married in Jean’s home town of Pierre, South Dakota on August 6, 1949.

      Martin and Jean returned to the family farm where he raised crops and livestock. Martin and Jean operated a riding stable offering roping and cutting events. Martin’s love of horses extended to breeding and raising Quarter Horses. On September 25, 1952, their first daughter Megan was born, followed by their son, Christian Ernest Bunge, III on May 7, 1954. On February 5, 1957, Martin and Jean welcomed their daughter Sarah.

      Martin and Jean remained on the farm and raised their children who also attended Okabena Public School until Martin returned to the University of Minnesota and earned his teaching credentials to pursue his lifelong love of education and sharing knowledge with others. Martin pursued his teaching profession at Houston, Minnesota High School and Sheldon, Iowa, Community College.

      In 1975, Martin and Jean returned to the family farm where he combined his love of teaching with farming by assisting his fellow farmers and neighbors with new advances in farming and teaching agriculture through the University of Minnesota. Martin was also involved in cutting edge seed development through his involvement with the University of Minnesota.

      Martin was a wonderful teacher and took great pleasure in sharing his vast knowledge of numerous disciplines which covered a myriad of subjects. Martin loved learning about other cultures and was a lover of the arts.

     Martin’s many interests including reading, travel and visiting with friends, neighbors and community members where he would regale those around him with his overwhelming wealth of knowledge.

      In 1975, Martin and Jean became involved in the Nobles County Art Center where they soon became and have remained the directors and curators for the Art Center. Martin was instrumental in finding and bringing new artists to exhibit at the Art Center and creating and expanding the Art Center’s permanent collection for the benefit of the entire community.

      Martin’s community involvement expanded to hosting local television shows “State of the Art” and “Art Talk” where he interviewed and introduced new artists and informed community members of upcoming shows and events.

      On any given day, you would see Martin and Jean at the local shops and restaurants in Worthington and many will fondly recall the time they spent with him. Martin was a kind, generous and remarkable in many ways. Martin always maintained a positive outlook which he shared with all he met.

      Martin was a wonderful and devoted husband to his wife and father to his three children, Megan, Chris and Sarah. Martin was a kind and generous man who left a mark on all who met him. He always maintained a positive outlook and left all those he met feeling uplifted and encouraged. Martin valued family and always put his family and others above himself.

      Martin is survived by his wife Jean, and their three children, Megan Bunge of Colorado Springs and her partner Gabe Karr, Christian Bunge of St. John, US Virgin Islands and his wife Sherrie Bunge of Okabena and Sarah Bunge and her husband Thomas Friedberg of San Diego, California and St. John, US Virgin Islands, his sister Jean Bunge of Boyton Beach, Florida, his niece Jeanne Dennison of Arkansas, his nephew Roger Culbertson of Lake Worth, Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents, Martin and Mable Bunge and his daughter in law Cindy Bunge.

      A celebration of life service will be held at the Nobles County Art Center on Saturday, September 27, 2014, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Benson Funeral Home in Worthington is in charge of the arrangements.

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