Thelma Dunker

January 31, 1927 ~ March 22, 2021 (age 94)


Thelma Edla Dunker, age 94, passed away peacefully at the Good Samaritan Society in Jackson, MN, on Monday, March 22, 2021. A private family service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at the Osterberg Funeral Home in Jackson, with Pastor Nancy Isaacson officiating. Visitation will take place from 1-2 p.m. at the Osterberg Funeral home on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Burial will be held at Sunset Memorial Cemetery immediately following the service.  The funeral service will be live-streamed on the Osterberg Funeral Home Facebook page for those who wish to participate virtually. 

Thelma was a member of the Union State Line Lutheran Church in Petersburg, MN.  In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials to the church.

Thelma Edla Williams, daughter of Clifford and Edla (Haberman) Williams, was born January 31, 1927, in Sioux Rapids, Buena Vista County, Iowa.  Thelma grew up on the farm with her siblings Carl, Wilma, Bernice, Roberta, and Maxine.  She attended school in Jackson, graduating from Jackson High School in 1945, and then continued her education at Mankato Business College in Mankato, MN.

On May 25, 1949, Thelma married Maynard William Dunker at the St. Wenceslaus parsonage in Jackson. Together they have 5 children, Susan, Becky, Connie, Mary, and Chuck.

In 1953, Thelma and Maynard began farming in Petersburg Township where they farmed until 1983.  Maynard passed away June 25, 1994. Thelma continued living on the farm until March 1, 2021, when she became a resident of the Good Samaritan Society.  

Thelma appreciated life on the farm. She and Maynard worked extremely hard, raising chickens, hogs, beef cattle and dairy cows.  They taught their children to have a strong work ethic, to be honest, pay their bills, and most importantly, to trust God.

After retiring from farming, Thelma worked as a physical therapy aide at the Good Samaritan Society in Jackson until 1995. She enjoyed socializing with the residents and made many lasting friendships.

Thelma loved her independence and the serenity of country life. She was in heaven on earth when she roamed the rolling tree-filled hills of her pasture on her Kawasaki Mule with her fierce protector and loyal dog, Otis. Together they kept the raccoon population in check. Otis knew how to sniff out a raccoon and Thelma had a gun and knew how to use it.  After Otis died Thelma enjoyed feeding and watching the wildlife in her yard which included birds, deer, turkeys, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, possums, and an occasional woodchuck.

A few years ago Thelma’s children and grandchildren compiled a book of memories about her.   While Mom/Grandma didn’t pretend to be a nurturer, we all have special memories of her cool hand on a feverish forehead, her tenacity for getting things done, and her fight for the underdog.  We will always remember and admire her sense of humor, her stern voice when we knew she meant business, and her gentle hug and smile when we needed encouragement.  Thelma’s most noble accomplishment has been witnessing her legacy lived out in her children and grandchildren.

Thelma’s memory will live on through her children, Susan Dunker of Jackson, Becky (Mike) Erickson of Moorhead, MN, Connie (Carl) Boertjens of Wichita, Kansas, Mary (Mike) Wheaton of Custer, SD, and Chuck (Jane Pomranke) Dunker of Jackson. Grandchildren Giselle (Joel) Workman, Cathy Erickson, Adrienne Boertjens, James VanHeuvelen, Kristen Wheaton, Katie Wheaton, Britteny  (Jimmy Amundson) Dunker, Taylor Dunker, and Sam Dunker. Great granddaughters Abigail McMurty, Roslyn Dunker, Fern and Violet Workman. Sisters Bernice Wewetzer and Maxine Jenkins. Sisters-in-law Irene Williams, Mildred Muchlinksi and Rosemary Koffron.  Special friend and neighbor, Gloria Owen. Many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Thelma was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Maynard, son-in-law James VanHeuvelen, daughter-in-law, Gail Dunker, brother Carl Williams, sisters Wilma Vachuska, and Roberta Nigon, brothers-in-law Vernon Vachuska, Jerry Nigon,  Mick Wewetzer, Ron Jenkins, Leonard Muchlinski, Bill Dunker,  Norman Dunker, Ivan Dunker, Wayne Dunker, Norbert Koffron, Bill Day. Sisters-in-law Mary Ann Tusa and Karen Dunker.

We cry because we love and miss you. We smile because you showed us how to live.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thelma Dunker, please visit our floral store.


March 27, 2021

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Osterberg Funeral Home: Jackson
510 5th ST
Jackson, MN 56143

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