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Ernie Sundstrom

Ernie Sundstrom

Ernie Sundstrom

- July 21, 2020

Ernie was born April 15, 1930, to the late Elsie and Carl Sundstrom at the family ranch near Mud Butte in Meade County, SD.  He died from old age in a blaze of glory on Friday, July 17, 2020, as a Yankee in the rebel state of Georgia.

     Ernie attended grade school at Mud Butte and attended Newell High School as a freshman and then went to Sturgis High School where he graduated in 1948.  Ernie grew up 45 miles from town in a four-room house with his parents and eight siblings.  There was no running water, electricity, or refrigeration on the ranch.  At a young age, he spent much time milking cows, feeding chickens. Herding sheep, tying wool for a shearing crew, making hay and feeding animals.  Horseback was the main means of transportation.

     After high school, Ernie worked as a derrick man in the oil fields of Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas.  He spent two years in the US Army artillery, serving the year of 1952 in Korea.

     Ernie attended SD School of Mines in Rapid City, graduating in 1958 as a Mechanical Engineer.  He operated and designed coal, gas, oil, geothermal, and solar power plants.  He was a registered mechanical engineer in five different states.  His major employers over a span of 42 years were Montana Dakota Utilities, Colorado Ute Electric, Monsanto, Commonwealth Associates, Gibbs & Hill, Fluor Engineers, Luz Solar Inc., and Duke Fluor Daniel.

     He is survived by his wife, Esther Sundstrom, Athens, GA; two sons, Dale Sundstrom, Simsbury, CT, and James (Sue) Sundstrom, Lansing, MI; two stepsons, Mike (Veronica) Gilbert, San Jose, CA, and Larry (Cindy) Gilbert, Winder, GA; one daughter, Linda Decker, Traverse City, MI; one stepdaughter, Sharon (Pat) Gish, Macon, GA; five grandsons, C.J. (Natani), Ronnie and Erick Sundstrom, Christian Byington, and Andrew Decker; five granddaughters, Kaitlyn (Karl) Warsinski, Megan Sundstrom, Jordan (Sean) and Taylor Byington, and Emily Decker; one older brother, Juno Sundstrom, Deadwood, SD; one younger sister, LaVera (Bud) Chord, Sturgis, SD; ten nephews, Gerald (Ann) Kirk, Darrell (Emily, Carl (Marsha), Rory (Teresa), Darcy (Lisa) and Dane (Stacy) Sundstrom, and Randy, Marty, and Danny O’Dea; eight nieces, Nita Griffin, Diana Glover, Bonnie Lange, Betty Trevino, Elaine Back, Dallas Pietz, Dixie (Gordon) Olson, and LaVera Ford; and other extended family members.

     Ernie was preceded in death by his daughter, Nancy Sundstrom; his first wife, Iola (Erickson) Sundstrom; parents, Carl and Elsie Sundstrom; sisters, Elsie (Babe) Sundstrom, Sylvia Kirk, Linda Babb, and Sally O’Dea; brothers, Clyde and Wayne Sundstrom; and nephews, David Sundstrom, Gary Babb, and Casey Chord.

     Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. July 30, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.

     Ernie’s victory of life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. July 31, 2020, at Blessed Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 2942 Pine Tree Trail in Sturgis.  Ernie will be laid to rest, with military honors, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

     Memorials may be sent to Blessed Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Sturgis, SD or the St. Joseph Indian School, Chamberlain, SD 57325. 

     Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.



Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785