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Obituary

John Thomas Yungerberg

October 20, 2021 | 32 comments

John Thomas Yungerberg, 77, of La Crosse, passed away peacefully on October 18, 2021 in his home surrounded by his family.  He was born to Ervin and Edna Yungerberg on April 3, 1944 in Springfield, Minnesota. He joined an older brother, David, and an older sister, Ruth.

He often said: “I learned many of life’s most important lessons as a child growing up on the farm.” He saw nature as God’s playground and enjoyed being God’s playmate. As a result of these experiences, he had a life-long love and respect for nature and the outdoors.

John had a love of learning and a hunger to understand people. These two powerful motivators led him to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Divinity Degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

John believed that being a husband and a father were high callings, and he invested time and energy in both. His wife, Evelyne, was the great love of his life followed closely by his three children, April, Nathan, and Lisa. He especially appreciated his children, son-in-law, Carson, and his grandchildren, Olivia, Jada, CJ, Kiah, Fyre and Kingston for the many ways in which they enriched and brought joy into his life.

John was ordained into the Lutheran ministry in 1970, and served as a parish pastor for eight years in rural South Dakota. He served as a psychiatric counselor for three years at LaCrosse Lutheran Hospital. In 1981, he was called to the La Crosse office of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and he served there as pastoral counselor and supervisor of Counseling and Adoption Services for seventeen years. In 1997, he moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin where he became the Regional Director of Counseling Services and Church Relations for the West Central Region of Lutheran Social Services. He retired in 2006.

After retirement, John worked part-time for Lutheran Social Services and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. He greatly enjoyed being a tutor with Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley. Much of his tutoring was with recent immigrants, and he said it provided him a window to the world and another opportunity to increase his understanding of the lives of other people. In 2016, John and Evelyne returned to their beloved La Crosse where John began to tutor with the Coulee Region Literacy Council.

John was a kind and compassionate person. He had a deep appreciation for all of God’s gifts, and yet he was never at ease with the reality of so much conflict and suffering in the world. His great hope was that his life might make some small contribution to peace and reconciliation amongst people. We trust that he is hearing the words that he longed to hear from Jesus who was his guide day-by-day: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you greater responsibilities. Come and share in your master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:23)

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 26 at 10 a.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2135 Weston Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin with visitation from 9-10 am. There will also be visitation held from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Monday, October 25 at the Gathering Place, 133 Mason Street, Onalaska, Wisconsin. John’s ashes will be interred at Oak Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, undesignated memorials will be given to “ELCA Good Gifts”. (ELCA.org/good gifts)

Condolences

32 Comments

  1. Larry Blanshan

    I will remember John as one of the kindest and most gentle men I have known. Ev, Please know we are thinking of you at this difficult time.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  2. Larry Blanshan

    I will remember John as one of the kindest and most gentle men I have known. Ev, Please know we are thinking of you at this difficult time.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  3. Ted Hakala

    Evelyne and Family, please accept our sincere condolences on the death of John. Carol and I worked closely with John at Lutheran Social Services for many years. John was a good friend and college. We will always remember John as a kind man, deeply spiritual and compassionate, and a Servant Leader. John touched the lives of many people in so many positive ways. And, now John is truly a Saint whose journey of service and kindness continues in the Kin(g)dom of God. It will be a wonderful day when we meet him again. Carol and I are so sorry for your loss. May God’s big arms wrap around you and your family in the days ahead. Ted and Carol Hakala

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  4. Colleen Brown

    John definitely represented well: Family, Faith, Love. Community and Compassion. His gentle/kind and sincere words is His “Legacy”.
    Rest easy, John❤️

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  5. Hemant Hegde

    I clearly remember John as he walked around our neigborhood. I remember his kind manner and bright smile that would just make my day, everytime. He is surely blessed. Evelyn, God bless you and your family. Our(Karla’s and mine) prayers are with you.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  6. Erv & Linda LaFave

    Ev and family; Erv and I were saddened to hear of John’s passing. Both John and you are still some of the kindest most sincere people we have had the pleasure of knowing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. God’s peace.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  7. gail c burns

    I was very happy to meet John on Monday nights. He was an awesome person to share life experiences with. He listened, really listened when someone spoke. A kind, gentle, thoughtful man. I am sending prayers and hugs to John’s family and I pray God will keep them in His loving arms.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  8. Eric and Lynette Ender

    Yes Our deepest sympathies to your family. John helped us create a family with the adoption of our two children. We are forever grateful.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  9. Jim & Cheri Ulberg

    Our heartfelt condolences to Evelyne and family. John was truly God’s servant in his faith and family. He was a kind and compassionate man who will be missed by many.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  10. Lee Grippen

    Eternal rest grant to John Yungerberg, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him. God bless the witness of John in so many lives…

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  11. Kathy Schneider

    John has a special place in my heart. He was instrumental in helping my husband and I through the many ups and downs of the adoption process. He was so pleasant to work with and was as thrilled as we were when we welcomed our beautiful children into our forever home. I will always remember John’s kind, gentle spirit. May God bless your family at this difficult time.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  12. Donald H. Fox

    Before I knew him personally, John influenced my life and ministry in 1991 when he encouraged a young adopting couple to join a church — and they became active members of the La Crosse church I was serving then. And they are still friends. My guess is that he influenced many adoptive parents in the same way.

    I am grateful for this and I am grateful for the way John wholeheartedly accepted me as a colleague when I became the pastor of Lower Coon Valley Lutheran Church in 2004. My last memories of John are of talking with him a few times when he was volunteering at City Hall in La Crosse, sitting right there in the middle of the big lobby.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  13. JANE Weber

    John and I worked together at LSS in Eau Claire for many years and I can honestly say John was one of the kindest and compassionate persons I know. He had a way of making people feel comfortable and important. May your family find peace and comfort in your friends, family, and faith. Jane Weber

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  14. Matt and Chandra Roark

    Lisa and family our thoughts and prayers are with you

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Lisa & Family

      Reply
  15. Mary Ellen Juhnke

    John was my high school classmate, and, even then, his qualities as a deeply human, caring person were evident. His life of service to his fellow human beings is living testament to John’s very being. May the memory of his love, and the support and comfort of your friends and family hold you its arms as you deal with his loss.

    Reply
    • April Brown

      Thank you,

      Ev & Family

      Reply
  16. Cindy Calogero

    Such a wonderful man, kind and caring. Evelyne and John were the first to greet me when I moved into the “twindo” next door to them on Juniper St. Many pleasant conversations followed and we collaborated many times trying to solve household problems. My deepest condolences go out to Evelyne and the entire family. Rest in peace John.

    Reply
  17. Anita Regis

    I worked with John at the LSS Mental health clinic in Eau Claire. He was such a special person, kind, caring, thoughtful and available when I needed some guidance. I’m so thankful that I worked with him and appreciate that I got to know this wonderful man. Ev and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless you and your family.

    Reply

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