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1925 Leola 2022

Leola Ferber

March 27, 1925 — February 7, 2022

Detroit Lakes

Leola Marjorie (Bunkowski) Ferber was born on March 27, 1925, on the family farm in Vergas, MN. The daughter of Rudolph and Alma (Sonnenberg) Bunkowski, Lee passed away February 7, 2022 at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes at the age of 96.

Grounded in her Lutheran faith from her earliest years, Lee was confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vergas in 1938. The day after Lee graduated from Frazee High School in 1943, she and her best friend took the train to Hollywood, CA. For a year during WW II, Lee worked at a defense plant, soldering radio parts for airplanes and submarines.

Missing her family, Lee returned home to enroll in the Cadet Nursing Program at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fargo, ND. She earned her Registered Nursing degree in 1947.

On June 21, 1948, Lee married Edgar Ferber at Grace Lutheran Church, Fargo. The greatest gifts in Lee’s life were her five children: Linda, Michael, Kenneth, Steven, and Mary. Divorced in 1962, Lee’s 50-year nursing career provided for her family.  As a single mother, Lee often worked nights so she could be home with her children during the day. Lee was so thankful that, “with God’s Help”, all her children graduated from college: Ken and Steve became pastors, Mike a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Social Worker, eldest daughter Linda a Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services, and youngest daughter Mary followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a Registered Nurse.

Over five decades, Lee worked as a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fargo, Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis area, St. Mary’s Hospital in Detroit Lakes, and the clinic.  In the early 70s, Lee began her 25-year career with Emmanuel Nursing Home, where she served as Director of Nursing.

While at Emmanuel, Lee helped establish the first full-time chaplain position and initiated the first Memory Care program for Alzheimer’s patients. In Lee’s later years, she lived in the Emmanuel Townhomes, then Emmanuel Assisted Living and finally the Emmanuel Nursing Home, where she was cared for by some of the same nurses she originally hired decades earlier. Never one to have idle hands, after retiring from Nursing in 1997, Lee became the only RN-certified reflexologist in the area.  Into her 80s, Lee provided her healing touch and prayers to the soles and souls of many thankful clients.

Lee was also active in her church and community. Joining Zion Lutheran Church in 1962, Lee served as the first woman on Zion’s Leadership Council. She was also an active leader in Zion’s Evangelism Program that brought in many new Church members, a beloved Sunday School teacher, and the author of the Prayer article in the monthly Zion Newsletter.  She also enjoyed being a volunteer nurse at Lutheran Island Camp in Henning and at other community events.

Lee left an indelible imprint on the lives of all she met, and she often provided a safe haven, a meal, guidance and a hug and a prayer to all who needed a listening ear or a helping hand. While looking forward to celebrating her 100th year, Lee believed every day of her life was “in God’s Hands”. From her 2015 Prayer Article, she shared, “With God’s strength behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever lies ahead of you”. With an indomitable strength and spirit, Lee believed there was good in everybody and helped positively change so many lives.

When not working, or tending to her family, friends and faith, Lee lovingly tended to her bountiful gardens and beautiful roses, and enjoyed taking walks in the park, forests, or by the water’s edge to savor God’s creation. She felt so fortunate to be able to travel to Israel, Germany, Austria, Alaska, and Hawaii and to spend winters in Coronado, CA with her brother, Bob; and daughter Linda and husband Howie in Pacific Palisades and Washington, D.C..  Lee was also an avid reader, a Vikings and Twins fan, and relished her daily whist card game.

Lee’s greatest joy in life was to be surrounded by family, all who loved her dearly.
She is survived by her sons, Mike Ferber of Frazee, Ken (Joan) Ferber of St. Cloud, Steve (Donna) Ferber of Brooklyn Park, and daughter, Mary Ferber of Minneapolis; son-in-law Howard Anderson; 9 grandchildren, Kesha (Wade) Brennom, Paul (Reanna) Ferber, Leah (Charles) Martin, Malia (Dan) Svoboda, Lynzi (Cooper) Svoboda; Hannah, Maggie, Rose and Ila Ferber; and 6 great grandchildren: Will Brennom; Nora, Jude and Amos Ferber; Roman and Nyles Martin; and nieces and nephews.

Lee was preceded in death by her parents, Rudolph and Alma (Sonnenberg) Bunkowski; younger brothers, Bob (LaVonne) Bunkowske, Don (Janette) Bunkowski; her godson/nephew Todd Bunkowski, and her daughter, Linda (Howie) Anderson in May, 2021.


Funeral Services:  Zion Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes. Saturday, Feb. 19.

Visitation: 12:00p.m;   Services: 1:00p.m.,  Reception: 2:00p.m.;

Interment: 3:30 at St. John’s Church, Vergas, MN.
Masks are encouraged.

Memorials:   In lieu of flowers, please consider directing funds toward: the Zion Lutheran Church Sunday School Program in Lee’s name.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leola Ferber, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, February 19, 2022

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Starts at 3:30 pm (Central time)

Saint Johns Lutheran Cemetery

410 E Scharf Ave, Vergas, MN 56587

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