Tunheim, Purnell Valaine (Shern) (1929-2011)

Purnell Tunheim, 82, passed away on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in Thief River Falls, MN.

Funeral services were held Saturday, April 9, 2011 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls, with Rev. John Voelker officiating. Casket bearers included Adam Wells, Zach Brand, Michael Tunheim, Christian Tunheim, Carson Tunheim, Jeremy Kvein and Steve Olson. Honorary casket bearers included Pernell’s granddaughters and great-grandchildren. Interment was held at Oak Grove Cemetery in Newfolden, MN.

Purnell Valaine Shern was born on August 13, 1929 on the family farm near Viking. the youngest of ten children born to Oscar and Anna (Simonson) Shern. She was baptized in the Lutheran faith and confirmed on October 29, 1944 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Viking. While growing up Purnell attended the Viking Township School near the farm house where she was born, and high school in Newfolden, graduating in 1947.

After high school, Purnell briefly moved to Minneapolis where she attended college. She returned to Thief River Falls, and met Eugene Tunheim. Eugene and Purnell were married on August 14, 1948. Together they made their home in Thief River Falls and raised their family of five children: Donn, Renee, Jay, Gary, and Candy. In the early 1950s Eugene and Purnell belonged to the Thief River Flying Club. They enjoyed many days at the airport, flying and visiting with friends. Eugene passed away in 1973. Purnell continued to live in Thief River Falls, and raise their children.

On Jan 2, 1966, Purnell became employed by the City of Thief River Falls. Her work for the City continued until her retirement on January 23, 2010.

Purnell was a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls, and has also been a member of the Eagles Club in Thief River Falls since 1953.

Her hobbies and pastimes included bird watching, taking walks, telling jokes, playing bingo, and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include children, Donn Tunheim of Thief River Falls, Renee Brand of Roseville, Jay (Kim) Tunheim of Thief River Falls, Gary Tunheim of Detroit Lakes, and Candy (Brian) Wells of Goodridge; grandchildren, Kari (Jeremy) Kvien of Roseau, Adam (Heidi) Wells of Thief River Falls, Zach Brand of Roseville, Maja Wells of Goodridge, Michael Tunheim and Miranda Tunheim of Thief River Falls, Christian Tunheim and Carson Tunheim of Detroit Lakes; great-grandchildren, Jake and Jenna Kvien, Makenzie and Breanna Wills; sisters, Ilet Pelzer of Maplewood, and Phyllis Shern of Sauk Rapids; sister-in-law, Joyce Shern of St. Cloud; several nieces, nephews, and friends.

Purnell is preceded in death by her husband, Eugene; her parents; and seven brothers and sisters, Harry Shern, Bernice Stinar, Merine Shern, Art Shern, Minerva Butt, Gordon Shern and Olive Kirchoff.

Transcribed by: Cheryl Srnsky