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Ihlor Bjerke

March 26, 1913-May 10, 2010

Ihlor Kenneth Bjerke, 97, of Detroit Lakes, passed away Monday, May 10, 2010 at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes.

Ihlor was born to Cornelius and Mabel (Holte) Bjerke on March 26, 1913 in Ulen. He grew up in the Ulen area, where he spent his summers working as a farm hand, doing the fieldwork with horses.

On October 22, 1939, Ihlor was united in marriage to LaVern Gunderson in Flom, Minn. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in October 2009. Ihlor worked at Pederson Grocery Store until he bought Bjerke Locker Plant with his brother, Conn. He sold the business when ill health forced him to an early retirement.

While in Ulen, Ihlor was active in many community functions. He was instrumental in bringing attention to the Viking sword that was found near Ulen and also served as a Boy Scout Master as well as on the Ulen Village Council and Bethlehem Lutheran Church Council. Ihlor also found time to sing for the men's chorus, church choir, in duets and with a quartet that went to a state competition.

Ihlor and LaVern retired to Strawberry Lake, where they spent time gardening, refinishing furniture and of course fishing. They loved to fish together, especially at night, and were fortunate enough to catch many large walleye and northern pike.

Ihlor and LaVern spent nine years in Oregon, where they were active in Senior Citizen for Christ, going to nursing homes where Ihlor was able to sing his favorite songs and hymns about his Lord and Savior. Then they returned to Detroit Lakes. They were active volunteers at Emmanuel Community. Ihlor was still able to sing at chapel services and special events at the age of 97.

Surviving Ihlor are his wife, LaVern of Detroit Lakes; daughter, Kathy Bjerke of Richwood; three grandchildren; five great grandchildren; one niece and one nephew.

Preceding Ihlor in death were his parents; one son, Darwin; his sister, Ruby Dunham; and his brother, Conn Bjerke.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society. Thank you to everyone who visited Ihlor at the nursing home and thank you to the caring and understanding staff at Emmanuel Community and Lamplighter Manor.

A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Monday, May 24 at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes. Those wanting to share memories and condolences may use the messages of sympathy section online at