Cover photo for Ronald Jon Burkhow's Obituary
Ronald Jon Burkhow Profile Photo
1941 Ronald 2023

Ronald Jon Burkhow

November 24, 1941 — August 25, 2023

Albert Lea, MN


Ronald "Ron" Jon Burkhow, 81, passed away on August 25, 2023, at the Lake Mills Care Center in Iowa.

Born and raised in Bricelyn, MN, Ron was the second of four children born to LuVerne and Viola (Leland) Burkhow. At the age of seven, Viola passed away, and Ron lived with the Lelands, who became his second family through his school years and beyond.  After graduating high school, Ron and his high school sweetheart, Jaylene Gudal, were married at Bricelyn Lutheran Church on May 26, 1963.   The couple then lived in Albert Lea, MN, and became members of First Lutheran Church.  They were delighted to become parents, first of a son, Jon, and a few years later, a daughter, Aimee.    

Ron was employed for many years as a printer, first at the Bricelyn Sentinel, and later, the Albert Lea Tribune. Advancements in technology meant a job change after three decades, and he then worked for the Albert Lea school district.  He was an evening custodian first in the old high school in town, and later the newly built Albert Lea High School. 

Ron enjoyed any activity that was time spent with his family and friends.  In the early years, they went on group camping trips with the family.  For decades he did annual all-day trips to the Minnesota State Fair with his wife and kids.  Every summer they drove to Texas to visit Jaylene’s parents.  In the fall, they enjoyed relaxing drives down the St. Croix River to see the colorful leaves and pick local apples.  He and Jaylene took hundreds of walks around the lake in Albert Lea.  The couple met monthly with friends to play cards and enjoy dinner.

Ron was well known for his youthful strength in his later years.  He drew a crowd with an amazing 20 chin-ups at the State Fair, winning a baseball cap from the marines!  At 72, he successfully balanced an impromptu yoga pose as a challenge - even though he never took a yoga class!  To his last months of life he had an impossibly strong grip that made a handshake hard to release.  

After losing his beloved wife, Jaylene, in 2001, Ron chose to retire at 59, and became “Papa” fulltime.  He spent hours playing with his grandkids and being their personal driving service.  Ron had a strong faith seen in his devotion to family, serving as a regular Sunday usher at church and working with Habitat for Humanity for many years.  He was a kind, loving and genuinely nice person as he lived out his faith.

Left to cherish Ron’s memory are his two children, Jon (Allison) Burkhow, and Aimee (Timothy) Struck; grandsons, Alek Struck, Jaden Struck (Mitzi Lehocky), Landon Struck (Perla Linares), Charlie Burkhow, Teddy Burkhow; granddaughters, Cassie Burkhow (Micah Swanson), Lucy Burkhow, Evie Burkhow; brothers, Larry Burkhow, and Leslie (Karen) Burkhow; sister, Julie (Doug) Morrison; sisters-in-law, Shirley Gudal, Birdie Gudal, Sharron (Dale) Becker, Cymbre (Gary) Christman; and countless family members and friends. 

Ron is preceded in death by his dear wife of 37 years, Jaylene Burkhow; parents, parents-in-law, Cora and Maynard Gudal; siblings-in-law, Joyce Burkhow, Chris Gudal, Mimi Satre, and Dugan Satre.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm on Friday, September 1, 2023, at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN with a visitation beginning at 12:30 pm; Pastor Joy Knoppel will be officiating. Interment follows the service at Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea, MN.

The family would like to give heartfelt thanks to all the employees and family members on staff at Lake Mills Care Center for their kind affection and the wonderful daily care they gave Ron.

In lieu of flowers, the family will accept donations to be designated per Ron’s wishes. Memorial contributions may be directed towards the following link:

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Friday, September 1, 2023

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Funeral Service

Friday, September 1, 2023

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