Obituary: Russell Jens Sunstrom

Feb. 25 1930 – Jan. 25 2024

Russell Jens Sunstrom of Sister Bay passed away Thursday, Jan 25, 2024 at 93 years of age and 70 years happily married.

Russ was known for his calm, even-keeled demeanor. His warm smile and bright brown eyes reflected his pleasant nature. He was a good and faithful servant of Jesus – a humble man of faith, with a blessed upbringing. Russell enjoyed his family, friends and church and appreciated his very healthy and happy life.

Born in Liberty Grove to the late Raymond and Alice (Jacobsen) Sunstrom, Russell was one of six siblings on a family farm. He attended Appleport School and graduated from Gibraltar High School. While his older brothers served in WWII, Russell, a young teen, remained home and worked the farm but still found time for sports including football and ski jumping.

After graduation, he served in the United States Coast Guard and became certified as an Electronics Technician First Class.

In 1953, he married Carole Ohman at Bethany Lutheran Church in Ephraim. The two moved out east where he started his career with IBM as a Field Service Engineer. It was in New York that they had their first child, Dennis in 1954.

Knowing they wanted to move back to Wisconsin and Door County, they moved to Milwaukee when there was an IBM job opening. There, they had their second son, Dale, in 1957 and adopted their daughter Kari (Pudlo) in 1968.

They eventually moved to Green Bay, where Russell continued his career with IBM. During the years at IBM, he was well liked and appreciated by managers and coworkers as evident by dozens of letters at retirement. During his 42 years at IBM he held many positions, eventually becoming an expert as the technology advanced. A career filled with learning to keep up with fast changing technology. His expertise was employed as he was part of the design team of the first IBM PC.

In 1992, Russell and Carole moved back to Door County and spent the rest of their years making the most of retirement. Russell was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church, the Sister Bay American Legion, and the Sister Bay Lion’s Club. He was able to enjoy gardening and yard work. He hosted deer camp each year with his sons and grandchildren- enjoying their successes even more than his own. He delighted in helping his grandsons sell firewood each summer that together they cut, split and bundled.

Russell loved fitness. His lifelong passion was bike riding. He rode thousands of miles between cherished rides with his sister Shirley Maltby, various planned bike outings, and family rides with tag-along grandchildren through Peninsula Park. Often daily, from childhood through his eighties, Russell could be found enjoying the solitude of a ride through the county. He also enjoyed staying active through cross country skiing, hiking, and YMCA classes.

His last years were spent with family reminiscing about the family farm, days trapping game with his brother Harold, he liked hearing about his grandchildren, watching Packer games, taking walks, visiting other residents of Scandia Village, and drinking a nice cup of coffee with family and friends.

Russell will be missed by his wife, Carole, son Dennis (Marla) Sunstrom, son, Dale (Cindy) Sunstrom, daughter, Kari (Mark) Pudlo, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren as well as friends and family.

He was preceded in death by siblings, Olive Koyen, Willard Sunstrom, Betty Hedeen, Harold Sunstrom, Shirley Maltby. He was also preceded in death by his grandson-in-law, Josh (Kelly) Edgerton,

A special thanks to Scandia Village for the love and care they gave him.

A memorial service will be held for Russell on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, at 11 am at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 7973 WI-57, Baileys Harbor, with Rev. Gary Scharrig officiating. Military rites will be conducted by Sister Bay American Legion Billy Weiss Post 527 following service. Visitation will be held at church on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, from 4 pm – 7 pm and again on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, from 10 am until the time of the service.

Huehns Funeral Home is assisting the Sunstrom family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Russell may be shared with his family through his tribute page at