Gail Catherine Brown Munk Bares, 80, of Dell Rapids, died on Monday, November 14, 2016. Her funeral service will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 18, 2016 in the Lutheran Church of Dell Rapids. Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at Kahler Funeral Home with the family present from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. On-line condolences may be left at the Kahler Funeral Home website.
Gail lived a full life defined by her values of dedication to family, service to others, commitment to community, and resiliency in times of hardship. She lived life with a great sense of humor, a love for people and the belief that a kind and loving God was always by her side.
Gail Catherine Brown was born in Dell Rapids, South Dakota on June 10, 1936, the second child of Ellsworth Henry and Mary Catherine Brown. With the exception of a few years during World War II when her parents lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she lived her entire life in or near Dell Rapids. She was a graduate of Dell Rapids High School, and active in all music activities.
On August 29, 1954 at the age of 18, Gail married Harold L. Munk. They made their home on a farm near Dell Rapids for over 41 years until Harold’s passing in 1995. Together, they raised five children as independent farmers, working the land, milking cows and caring for livestock. As a farmer’s wife, Gail proved a hard working partner as the young couple built their life and family together. Their early years on the farm, without running water and with five small children, were a test of fortitude and character. For Gail, those years became the foundation of humorous stories and life-long lessons. Those years were the manifestation of a resilient spirit that would define Gail’s life. The glass was half-full, even if it had to be hauled in from outside.
She used this optimistic outlook, sense of humor and fun in the many activities of her life from supporting her children’s activities in school to her many years of service to the church and community. In the 1970’s, Gail was a sponsor for a Hmong family from Laos after the Vietnam War when they relocated to Dell Rapids. She often said that she learned more than she taught from the Laotian mother who arrived with all her cooking utensils in one pot. In addition to being a farming partner with her husband Harold, she spent several years as a Mary Kay salesperson and used her musical talents as activities director for Terrace Manor in Dell Rapids. In later years, she spent summers assisting her brother Don at the Wilderness Leadership Camp outside of Jackson, WY.
She was a life-long member and active leader of the Lutheran Church of Dell Rapids. Her involvement included the choir, women’s circles where she organized, prepared and served more meals than can be recounted, as an accompanist for services, Sunday School programs and soloists, as a Sunday School teacher, and as a trainer for Stephen’s ministry providing comfort for those in need. She inspired many with her stories and talks, particularly to women’s groups of the area. She wrote fables and integrated them into lessons to help teach and share the ideas of stewardship, family, and God’s love.
In 1998, Gail united in marriage with Edward Bares and they made their home in Dell Rapids. The couple purchased a home in Brownsville, TX where they spent many winters, where Gail became the pianist for community gatherings. They also renovated a small home on Lake Herman where they spent time fishing and enjoying the lake views. Their lives were full of children (eleven between them) grand-children, great-grandchildren, and all the activities that genuine family engagement entails.
Gail loved her family without reservation and every child, spouse, grand-child and great-grandchild, sister and brother, niece and nephew benefited from that love. She rarely missed a baptism, wedding, birthday or anniversary even when her family doubled in size to include Ed’s children. She was a loving wife and mother, a care-giver and a protector, a counselor and a comedian, a friend and advisor, a pianist and a writer, a speaker and a teacher.
Gail Munk Bares is survived by her husband, Edward and her five children and their spouses, Steven Munk, Thomas and Patricia Munk, Judy and Mark England, Stuart and Beth Munk, Patty and Jeff Goldhammer, 12 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren; six step-children and their spouses, Michael and Julie Bares, Karen Bares, Richard and Mary Bares, Christine and Brian Verhey, Marie and Bill Miles, and Mark and Helen Bares, 15 step-grandchildren and 4 great step grandchildren; three brothers and spouses, Allen and Gloria Brown, Donald Brown, Richard and Sue Brown and one sister, Janet Brown. She is preceded in death by her first husband, Harold Munk and a child, Larry Jess Munk, sister in law Pat Brown and step great grandchild, Easton.
In lieu of flowers and in the spirit of Gail’s life, the family encourages donations to the charities of your choice. All other memorials can be made to the Gail Munk Bares Memorial Fund. Cards can be mailed to 24774 481st Ave, Dell Rapids, SD 57022.