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Rudolph “Rudy” R. Burgstaler, age 85 of Kimball, MN died on Thursday May 4, 2023 at Meeker Manor in Litchfield, MN. A funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday May 13, 2023, at Ostmark Lutheran Church in rural Watkins, MN. A visitation will be held from 4:00 - 7:00 PM on Friday May 12, 2023, at Johnson Hagglund Funeral and Cremation in Litchfield, MN and will continue one hour prior to the service at church on Saturday. Interment will be held at the Ostmark West Kingston Mission Cemetery in Watkins, MN.
Rudolph “Rudy” Roy Burgstaler was born January 2, 1938, in Dean Lake Township, Crow Wing County, MN on a farm north of Aitkin, the youngest of nine children to Frank and Frances (Smolnikar) Burgstaler who had immigrated to the U.S. from Slovenia, Europe. He attended Aitkin Schools and received his GED from Litchfield High School in April 1970. He assisted his parents on their dairy and crop farm while growing up. After his parents retired and moved to Fontana, CA following other family members, Rudy accompanied them and worked in a gas station and sheet metal plant before entering the U.S. Army in December, 1960. He was stationed at Ft. Leonardwood, MO, Ft. Knox, KY, Ft. Stewart, GA and Augsburg, Germany during the Berlin Wall crisis. He served 13 months in Germany in the 32nd Armour Division, Company A 3D Medium Tank Battalion, where he drove a tank. Upon returning from the military in November 1962 he again joined his parents in California where he again was employed at a sheet metal plant. In March 1965 (during the big blizzard) he returned to Minnesota to work for his sister, Ann and Ernie Hamilton, who had a mink ranch north of Kingston, MN, later purchasing the home across the road.
Rudy met Joyce Marie Hess from the North Kingston area at a Halloween Costume Old-tyme dance at the Kingston Legion Hall in October 1967 and they married August 17, 1968, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis where Joyce was working as a secretary and singing in the church choir. Upon Rudy’s return to Kingston he was employed by Erickson Construction of Hutchinson; later Wally Cates Construction of Plymouth. He started working for the Meeker County Highway Department in February 1969 as a blade operator out of the Watkins shed. He transferred to Kingston in 1974. In May of 1985 he became the first Road Maintenance Supervisor for the Meeker County Highway Department where he continued to work until retiring in 1998 at the age of 60 years, 6 months, after 29 years and 6 months of service (he had reached the magic age of 90) to the county.
Rudy and Joyce joined Ostmark Lutheran Church, rural Watkins, in October 1969. He served on the Church Council for 9 years and church treasurer for 3 years, was janitor, and on the property and cemetery committees, and helped make homemade ice cream for the Men’s Club Social every July. He was one of the organizers of the Meeker County Snowmobile Trail Assn. and served for 30 years. He served two terms on the Meeker County Fair Board, was president of the Kingston Snow Kings Snowmobile Club, was one of the organizers of the Lions “Thunder on the Hill”, tractor pulling group for 10 years. Both being raised on dairy farms, in 1969 Rudy and Joyce started renting farmland and eventually farmed 300 acres every year plus working full-time, having a final auction in 1993 when their sons graduated from college and were gone from home.
Rudy and Joyce had 2 sons, Evan and Lyle. Rudy took over Evan’s quail business when he left for college, raising quail for hunting clubs for a few years afterwards. He enjoyed farming, gardening, NASCAR, demolition derbies, deer hunting, fishing, camping, antique and classic cars and tractors, cutting wood for the furnace. Over the years he mowed lawns and delivered the Mpls. Tribune Sunday paper for extra money. After retiring he helped various area farmers and heavy equipment operators during the summer season. For the following 16 winters they were snowbirds visiting friends and relatives across the U.S. with their RVs always returning to the farm where they have lived for over 54 years.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joyce; sons Evan (Aimee), Cokato; Lyle (partner Mariann Helmin), Kimball; granddaughters Tara, Huron, SD; Hannah, Kalispell, MT; Megan Kalispell, MT; sister-in-law, Helen (Ed) Burgstaler, Aitkin; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Ann (Ernie) Hamilton; Victoria (Floyd) McCollum; Veronica “Fronie” (Louie) Deblock; Sylvia (Roger) Sabart; Olga “Ollie” DeYoung; brothers, Peter “Frank” (Marion), Edwin and John (Irene).
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