Tuninks Loved, Supported Elgin

If one were to look for a man and woman who best represented the finest qualities of our community, many would say Gerhard “Jerry” and Amelita “Lita” Tunink would be at or near the top of the list.
On Thursday afternoon, the Tunink Trust awarded approximately $1.7 million to beneficiaries here in Antelope County (see adjacent story).
Last week, Trustee Sandy Kester shared some memories of her uncle and aunt and their love for the community.
Many, she said, got to know the Tuninks through construction of homes, school houses and churches by Tunink Construction. Others got to know the family through their affiliation with St. Boniface Catholic Church. Their children attended the parochial school.
And, still others, got to know the family from time spent caring for their children at Antelope Memorial Hospital.
As for the children, Mrs. Kester said the community knew them well. Saying how it sometimes takes a small community to raise a family, “It seemed like the whole community helped them out.” The reason being the children were not blessed with good health nor long lives.
Kester said the Tuninks never became disillusioned with the fate of their children. Their faith in God helped them to look “on the bright side of life and face what life dealt to them,”
Many in the community, Kester said, will never forget their youngest daughter Jeannie. They may have seen her at the pool where Deb Rice used to give her swimming lessons. Unable to walk, Jeannie’s limbs “came to life,” Kester said, when she was in the water. “The pool was very good for Jeannie’s health,” she said.
Or, they may have purchased bazaar raffle tickets from Jeannie as she many, many times sold more than any other person.
The family was active in St. Boniface Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, as well as the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Posts. Whatever the Tuninks became involved in, they were willing participants and strong supporters, lending their skills and talents wherever needed. One example, she said, is the kitchen at the KC Hall which Jerry, along with Mike Dvorak helped create and many benefit from today.
“It doesn’t surprise me what they did,” Kester said about the gifts to the community. “They had so many friends, neighbors and parishoners who supported them and helped them.” By doing it this way, she said Jerry and Lita were able to give their life savings to the community as a way to help keep the community moving forward.