John Wunder


John Leroy Wunder of Howard, 93, passed away on Feb. 23, 2024, at Prairie View Healthcare Center in Woonsocket after a difficult battle with dementia.  

Memorial services will be Saturday, April 6, at 11 a.m., at Willoughby Funeral Home. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Inurnment will be at Graceland Cemetery with Military Honors. 

John Leroy Wunder was born Aug. 2, 1930, to George and Anna (Hueners) in the Canova Hospital. John attended country grade school and graduated from Howard High School in 1948. He immediately started his lifelong career in farming. John met Joyce (Buttenob) at the Paradise movie theater in Howard and married her on Oct. 14, 1951.

In March 1952, he was called up to serve in the Korean Conflict as a scraper operator, building roads, gun emplacements, and garbage dumps a mile behind the front lines, until being honorably discharged in October 1953. He returned to diversified farming with his wife and raised two sons on the farm north of Howard until downsizing and semi retiring to take care of his ailing wife, Joyce, until her passing in 1995. 

John returned to farming again, this time raising “Wunder’s Golden Flax” for its health benefits with Virginia Petersen, whom he married on Dec. 27, 1997. Together, they grew the business from local customers to national food chain distribution. When failing health and the relentless lure of scammers took their toll, they sold the farm and moved into Howard. Virginia passed in 2019. John moved into the Prairie View Healthcare Center in October 2023.

John was a member of Grace Communion International Church Sioux Falls, where he was an ordained preaching elder. He gave sermons and was blessed to perform weddings for one of his sons and two of his granddaughters.

John was survived by his sons, Colin (Jill) of Howard and Lee of Astoria, Ore.; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews and families.

John was preceded in death by his wives, Joyce and Virginia; parents, George and Anna; brothers and their wives, Robert (Agnes) and Richard (Nadine); and sister, Wilma (Howard).

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