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Ivan "Bud" Bronkema
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Birth: Aug. 1, 1936
Missaukee County
Michigan, USA
Death: Feb. 3, 2011
Big Horn County
Wyoming, USA

Ivan (Bud) Bronkema was born on August 1, 1936, to John and Martha Bronkema in McBain, Michigan. He was the 3rd child, and first boy, of 8 girls and 2 boys to be born to them. His parents owned and worked a farm in McBain.

Bud and his "chore buddy," younger sister, Ginny, helped their parents to harvest the sugar beets, cucumbers and potatoes that the family raised. He also helped his dad to milk their dairy cows. The growing family lived and worked that farm until Bud was 12 years old. Then they left McBain and bought a new farm near Conklin, Mich., where the children attended a one-room eight grade school named the Boody School.

After eighth grade, Bud began his high school years in Coopersville, Mich., where his parents ran yet a third farm. Bud contracted a form of rheumatic heart fever during his ninth grade year, and missed a lot of school, causing him to graduate a year later than he would have otherwise, in 1955. He was well liked, sometimes getting in trouble with teachers by making the class laugh.

Shortly after graduation, Bud did a short stint in the National Guard. He also worked in a nearby factory called Lee Products, which, among other things, made quality mailboxes.

In the fall of 1955, he and a buddy enlisted in the Air Force, leaving town for boot camp on a Greyhound Bus. Once finished with boot camp at Samson Air Force Base in New York, Bud was sent to Great Falls, Mont., remaining there for his whole four-year stint.

While there, he began dating a young woman from Red Lodge, who was attending nursing school. Dating led to a proposal of marriage. The young couple went home to Michigan, where Juanita Williams lived with Bud's parents, while he was being discharged from the Air Force. Their marriage took place in Coopersville, Mich., on May 6, 1960.

Meanwhile, Bud had applied for a job with the Federal Aviation Administration. He was hired on June 6, 1960, as a trainee. He had to attend a number of radar schools in Oklahoma City, Okla., before being assigned to any specific location.

It was at one of these schools that their first child, Gwenda Lyn (Walker) was born on April 30, 1961. They were back home in Great Falls when the second of their two children, Deanna Ruth (Walker), was born on May 5, 1962.

When Bud's training was over, he was assigned to the radar site high atop the Big Horn Mountains east of Lovell. He moved his family to Lovell in the summer of 1962, and began his 34-year career as maintenance man (of the radar equipment) as well as official time keeper. He loved his job, never calling in sick even once. He said, "It was the best place in the world to work," attributing that to his boss, Tom Prosser, of Lovell, who kept everything running smoothly.

Bud bought his present home and 80 acres from Dale Hubbs in 1973, moving his family from town to the country when his girls were in middle school. He raised cattle of all types for many years, finally ending with his last batch of cows, Buelingos, which he sold in August of 2010.

He lost his wife, Juanita, to breast cancer in December of 1987, and remained a content bachelor until he made the mistake of asking then Phyllis Korell to take square dancing lessons with him in the fall of 1994. Things progressed and somehow they ended up getting married on July 6, 1996, remaining married until Bud's passing. Of his marriage, Bud said, "I was only looking for a square dance partner, but I ended up with a wife."

However, he later admitted to being deliriously happy!

Bud died at his home east of Lovell on Feb. 3, 2011, after a 10-month-long battle with lung cancer. His wife and daughters will deeply mourn him. Gwen and Deanna said he was the best dad in the whole world. Computers, his ranch and cows were his passions. The bulk of his time was spent either keeping up his ranch or spending time on his computer. He was a willing ‘computer helper' to any and all who asked him in the Lovell area, usually helping them patiently for hours, asking for little or no pay, working to make each person "a satisfied customer."

Bud joined his parents, oldest sister, Arlene, brothers-in-law, Dave Sweers and Art Cavanaugh, who preceded him in death.

He will be missed by brother Arlyn John Bronkema (Sandi) of Washington D.C.; sisters Geraldine Cavanaugh of Cedar Springs, Mich., Ginny (Jay) Veldman of Coopersville, Mich., Norma (Bob) Rasmussen of Naches, Wash., Doris (Ken) Holman of Kent City, Mich., Betty (Gene) Stark of Hart, Mich., Joyce Sweers of LaMont, Mich., and Barb, (John) Glass of Allendale, Mich. Also mourning him are his wife, Phyllis Bronkema; daughters, Gwenda Lyn (Greg) Walker and Deanna Ruth (Kevin) Walker, all of Lovell; two grandsons, Casey Green of Laramie and Thomas (Tawni) Green and their children, Chelsi, and Kade Green of Lovell and two granddaughters, Stacy Walker of Billings and Christy (Wade) Bischoff of Lovell.

Services were held at St. John's Lutheran Church on Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. Bud asked that any donations in his name be sent to St. John's Lutheran Church for needed improvements.

lceditor posted on February 09, 2011

Family links: 
  Juanita Williams Bronkema (1938 - 1987)
  Deanna Ruth Bronkema Walker (1962 - 2013)*
*Calculated relationship
Lovell Cemetery
Big Horn County
Wyoming, USA
Maintained by: Lovell Cemetery
Originally Created by: Haskell Funeral Home
Record added: Feb 09, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 65393854
Ivan Bud Bronkema
Added by: Haskell Funeral Home
Ivan Bud Bronkema
Added by: Lovell Cemetery
Ivan Bud Bronkema
Added by: Lovell Cemetery
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