Gunard Wilbert Heikkila, son of Wilmer and Bertha (Kaurala), was given life on this earth by his Creator on November 24, 1941 in Hancock, Michigan. He was baptized into God’s Kingdom of Grace on March 22,1942, by Pastor Arvo Korhonen, in the Lutheran Church in Elo, Michigan. He was confirmed in Sion Lutheran Church in Marquette, Michigan by Pastor Penttinen on March 20, 1956. He was ordained into the Pastoral ministry in Sion Lutheran Church by Rev. William Sippola June 1965 and installed as mission pastor for Manitouwadge, Ontario Canada in Thunder Bay (Port Arthur)Ontario by Rev. John Schmidt.
Gunard grew up in Detroit and Marquette, Michigan and graduated from Graveraet High School in 1959. He attended Concordia University in St.Paul, Minnesota and graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois in 1965.
He married Janice Margaret Koosmann on August 28, l964 in Holloway, Minnesota. They were blessed with four children, Sarah Bauck, Thomas (Heather), Mark, (Michelle), and Kari Cramer (Robb). Grandchildren, Isaiah (Emily)Bauck, Leah Bauck, Abby Roggenkamp, Hannah (Heikkila) Sidener, Hailey Heikkila, Andrew Cramer, Thomas Cramer, Joseph Cramer, and a great granddaughter Adaline Bauck.
Gunard served the Lord with his wife, Jan, at congregations in Manitouwadge, Ontario Canada, Callaway and Ogema Minnesota, a tourist ministry at Tulaby Lake, Minnesota, Rosemount, MN, Frazee, MN, Buckley, Illinois, Deer Creek, MN, and as visitation pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York Mills, MN, following his retirement in 2009.
He was involved in community activities through Jaycees, Lions, and sports programs. For many years he created and built model railroad layouts, changing, and expanding them in each new town he lived in. Gunard was interested in the Soo Line and Duluth South Shore and Atlantic Railroad his father worked on.
He loved fishing and hunting and carried his grandfather’s 30-30 deer rifle for many years before turning to a .270 caliber deer rifle. He enjoyed family gatherings and reunions, playing a game of cards, and especially the work and ministry that his heavenly Father gave him.
Gunard was preceded in death by his parents, his brother: Darwin; an infant nephew; and an infant granddaughter. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, a great granddaughter, one sister: Bernice (Matt) Kallio of Chicago, Il., and nieces and nephews.
Under God’s Kingdom of Glory, Gunard’s soul is now in the presence of his Savior, Jesus Christ. He left life on this earth on August 23, 2020 and now waits with all believers for the day of resurrection where we all will be reunited with him at the coming of the Lord.
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