Vernon "Pete"'s Story
Vernon "Pete" Peter Junker, 76, lost his hard-fought battle with cancer at 2:54 pm on Monday, January 23, 2017, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis. He fought this battle with courage, grace, hope, and dignity.
Funeral Service Celebrating Pete's Life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Hosanna Lutheran Church, 105 Hosanna Ave, Mankato. Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m., Friday at Northview - North Mankato Mortuary, 2060 Commerce Drive, North Mankato and will continue one hour before the service at the church on Saturday. Interment will be in Lake Crystal Cemetery at a later date.
Pete was born to Ben H. and Katherine (Janzen) Junker in Mountain Lake, MN on November 21, 1940. He graduated in 1958 at 17 years old and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He completed basic training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA and trained as a radio operator, spending most of his tour overseas until 1961. Pete married the love of his life, Karen L. Senf, on May 4, 1963 and they were blessed with six children.
Pete began his civilian career at Harder's Standard Oil Gas Station in Mountain Lake in 1962, owning his own bulk truck business until going to work full time with Pioneer Seeds. Pete and Karen moved to Lake Crystal in 1971. Affectionately known as "Pioneer Pete", he grew his business from 150 bags of seed corn to over 10,000 in just four years, in a town where he didn't know a soul and ended his career knowing almost everyone. His sales quickly outgrew the garage in town, making it necessary to move to a farm south of Lake Crystal. After 40 years, Pete retired from Pioneer Seeds in 2007, moving to Mankato where he continued to work various jobs. His goal after retirement was to spend time with every grandchild on their birthday and he accomplished this goal physically or in spirit for all his grandchildren.
Pete was truly ONE OF A KIND. Above all else, he was a Christian man, who dedicated his life to God, family, and country. He was an active member of Hosanna Lutheran Church, serving wherever needed, the Lake Crystal American Legion Post #294, and many other community organizations. He touched everyone he encountered. He would strike up a conversation with anyone, sharing his opinion, many stories, a laugh or two, words of advice or comfort, and maybe even just a "bit" of criticism. No matter what, Pete left a lasting impression. He cherished his grandkids and family and was so very proud of them. He loved his quartet and gospel music. He was a good and loyal friend to many and enjoyed making great memories fishing and spending time around a lake shore up north. He gave of himself freely and generously whenever he could and did that even in death as a donor.
Pete is survived by his wife, Karen Junker of Mankato; his five daughters and his 18 grandchildren, Kristine (David) Garms of Braham, MN and children, Whitney, Ben, Taylor, Leesha, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb; Janelle (Craig) Junker-Gustafson of Eden Prairie and children, Alex (special friend, Alissa), Ashley, Danielle, Anna (Nick), and David; Stephanie Fredericksen of Mankato and children, Brooklynn (fiancé, Tyler), Quinnlyn (Alex), and Joselynn; Patricia Junker of Minnetonka and child, Noah; and Sara (Lucas) Kietzer of Vernon Center and children, Gabe and Jadyn; as well as former sons-in-law, Armando Alonso, Clark "Rico" Fredericksen, and Bradley "Bull" Diekhoff; brother, Delano Junker of Lennox, IA; two sisters, Wyllean Greenfield of Sheldon, IA and Elgene (Clark) Fast of Mountain Lake; sister-in-law, Judy Junker of Mountain Lake; aunt, Esther Janzen of Mountain Lake; and many nieces and nephews.
Pete was preceded in death by infant son, Gregory Vernon; his parents; brother, Roger; great-grandchild, Zoey; and many other close friends and relatives.
In lieu of flowers, Pete has requested donations be made to the Fisher House (guest house at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center), Wounded Warriors Project, AdoptaPlatoon, or any other military affiliated organization, "on that"...
Published on January 25, 2017