Earle Runquist, age 79, of Grapeland, TX, and formerly of Starbuck, MN, died on Monday, April 17, 2023, at his home in Grapeland, TX. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 29th at 2:00 p.m. at Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood. Inurnment will be in Bethany/Bethesda Cemetery, rural Starbuck. Arrangements are with Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home of Glenwood.
Earle was born on November 8, 1943 in Starbuck, MN to Freddie and Doris (Everson) Runquist. Earle went to technical college in Alexandria, MN where he received his Associate’s degree in engine repair and maintenance.
He was a United States Army veteran, having served at Fort Wainwright, Alaska as an engineer in the 71st Infantry Brigade. After the Army, Earle moved to Drayton, ND where he worked for a John Deere dealership as a tractor and combine mechanic. After Drayton, Earle moved back to his birthplace in Starbuck, MN and took over a neighbor’s farm. He farmed this land until his retirement in 2008, having gradually transitioned to logging and saw-milling, along with doing seasonal work for the Pope County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Earle had a passion for steam engines. For many years he owned a 1917 Minneapolis steam tractor, showing this engine at steam threshing shows throughout the area. He also loved motorcycles, owning a Harley-Davidson and two BMW motorcycles. Often times he would reminisce about his times on the road. Earle was known for his strong work ethic, his love of country music and woodworking, and a keen understanding of all things mechanical. He rebuilt and engineered systems whenever he had need.
On July 12, 1980 he married Riet (Maria) Unke. They had three children, Niels Unke, Hayley Unke-Moore (Tomas Moore), and Erik Runquist (Brenna Runquist).
He is survived by his wife, their children and spouses, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, brother Donald Runquist, and nephew Steven Runquist.
He was preceded in death by his parents and other aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A memorial service was held at Walker and Walker Funeral Home in Grapeland, TX on Sunday, April 23, 2023.
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