Donald Kunstle

Donald Karl Kunstle, 92, of Gettysburg, died Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 at Avera Oahe Manor, Gettysburg. 

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 12 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, with Pastor David Otten presiding. Burial, with military honors, will follow in the Pembroke Cemetery, rural Gettysburg. 

Don was born on Feb. 13, 1927 at his family’s farm home located four miles north of Gettysburg, South Dakota.  Don attended grade school and high school in Gettysburg.  He played quarterback all four years of high school for the Gettysburg Battlers who won the conference championship his senior year.   

At the age of 17, Don enlisted in the United States Navy.   After his basic training in San Diego, California, Don was assigned to the USS Vulcan for duty in the South Pacific.  While in the Navy Don spent time in the Philippines, Okinawa and Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Kobe, Japan.  After returning to Gettysburg in 1946, Don worked in a family partnership which owned an International Harvester dealership, a Studebaker dealership and later a clothing store.  Gradually Don worked his way out of the retail business and into full time farming.  Don retired from farming in 1990.

Don married Shirley Eloise Hult on June 26, 1949.  He and Shirley were blessed with four children, Chuck, Kay, Bill and Steve.  Don was very active in community service.  He was a member of the Board of Education of the Gettysburg School District, a member of the Gettysburg volunteer fire department, a lifetime member (73 years) and commander of the American Legion Post #135, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a member of the board of directors of the Potter County Bank (later First Bank Gettysburg) and a member of the Gettysburg Memorial Hospital board.   In 1972 Don was appointed by Governor Richard Kneip to the South Dakota Wheat Commission where he served for many years.  

Since 1962 Don and Shirley have spent most of their winters in the McAllen, Texas area where they enjoyed not only the warm weather but the many friends they met and spent time with.  Don and Shirley also loved to travel.  They took trips with friends to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Hawaii.  They drove on trips to both coasts and even drove their “Minnie Winnie” motor home all the way to Alaska on the Alaskan Highway most of which was gravel at the time.   But Gettysburg has always been home to Don and Shirley and they will be forever grateful for their friends and family in Gettysburg.

Don is survived by Shirley, his wife of seventy years, four children, Chuck Kunstle of Beresford, SD, Kay Tully of Ft. Collins, CO, Bill (Jill) Kunstle of Sioux Falls, SD and Steve (Rozann) Kunstle of Gettysburg, SD, six grandchildren, Heidi (Nathan) DeVries of Vermillion, SD, Tom (Jenna) Kunstle of Orange City, IA, Nick Kunstle of Raleigh, NC, Mike (Erin) Kunstle of Alexandria, MN, Brittny (Andrew) Mueller of Topeka, KS  and Zach Fuller of Sioux Falls, SD, six great-grandchildren, Hope DeVrise, J.D. DeVries, Benjamin Kunstle, Jake Kunstle, Olivia Kunstle and Ryker Kunstle and one brother, Howard (Karen) Kunstle of Colorado Springs, CO. 

Don was preceded in death by his parents Jacob and Marie (Molinari) Kunstle, a brother, James Kunstle, an infant brother Harold Kunstle and son-in law, Tom Tully.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Avera Gettysburg Hospital Foundation.  

Luce Funeral Home of Gettysburg has been entrusted with Donald’s arrangements. (

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