Carmen O. Sunde

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 5:22 pm

Carmen O. Sunde, 87, of Decorah, died Tuesday evening, Jan. 10, 2017, at Traditions of West Union in West Union. Funeral services were at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Pastor Amy Larson officiating. Burial is in Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah in the spring. Visitation began at 10 a.m. Saturday, one hour before the service, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah served the family. Online condolences may be made at

Carmen Opal (Havnen) Sunde was born Sept. 9, 1929, at home in rural Rake, to Carl and Cherrie (Halvorson) Havnen. She graduated from Rake High School with the class of 1948. She attended Waldorf College in Forest City for one year and then Luther College the next year, where she received her teaching certificate. Carroll Sunde, her childhood friend, was also attending Luther. Carmen was united in marriage to Carroll O. Sunde Aug. 5, 1950, at Liberty Lutheran Church in Rake, where both had been baptized and confirmed. This union was blessed with four sons: Donavon, David, Paul and Craig. Following their marriage they moved to Story City, where Carmen taught school in Zering and Story City, while Carroll attended Iowa State College in Ames. They then farmed for eight years on the Havnen home place in rural Rake. In 1960, they moved to Decorah, where they raised their four sons. Carmen was a very active member at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, and also volunteered and was very active with Aase Haugen Home and their Auxiliary. Carmen was a strong advocate for people with disabilities and special needs in the Decorah area. She and Carroll helped with Opportunity Homes in Decorah. Upon the death of her sister, she became very involved in the lives of her nieces and nephew. Carmen enjoyed reading, quilting, needle work, flowers and gardening. She loved to cook, especially for her family, and at the holidays they looked forward to her kringla (Norwegian pastry). As her sons graduated from high school she went back to college at Luther to complete her bachelor’s degree in education. Shortly after the death of Carroll, she moved into a residential apartment at Wellington Place for seven years and then moved into the nursing home. In May of 2016 she became a resident of the Memory Care Unit at Traditions of West Union in West Union.

Carmen is survived by three sons: Donavon of Davenport, Paul (Cindy) of Lakewood, Colo. and Craig of Plymouth, Minn.; five grandchildren: Erik (Amy) Sunde, Kaia Sunde, Leif Sunde, Rebecca (Ty) Steines and Kalin Sunde; and two great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Carroll, Nov. 11, 2007; one son, David, May 27, 1997; and by her sister Betty Osnes.
Memorials may be given to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 701 Iowa Ave., Decorah, IA 52101, Decorah Food Pantry or the Decorah Community Free Clinic, both located at First Lutheran Church, 604 W. Broadway, Decorah, IA 52101.

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