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In Memory of Bruce K. Harpel

December 26, 1944 - March 31, 2022

Bruce Kenneth Harpel of St. Croix Falls, WI passed painlessly into the arms of his heavenly Father on Thursday, March 31, 2022. He died of natural causes at home in his favorite chair. He was 77 years old.

Born on December 26, 1944, in Iron Mountain, Michigan, Bruce was the second son of Henry Harold and Violet Elaine Harpel and brother to Henry and David. As part of a military family, he spent his early years moving to locations all across the world – including three years in Japan – attending 16 different schools during his 16-year academic career.

After graduating from Rock Island High School in 1962, Bruce went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and philosophy from Memphis State University. Along the way, he met his lifelong love, Johnye Lynn, and they united their lives to each other on March 6, 1971. Their life journey was forever changed when they accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and abandoned all to follow their Lord’s calling. Bruce and Johnye Lynn lived in Memphis, TN, where they ran a construction company with many friends who are dearly loved to this day. On January 1, 1980, both Bruce and Johnye Lynn were ordained into the ministry, and one year later, God called them to Minneapolis, MN to start a campus ministry at the University of Minnesota. Faithfully and lovingly, they pastored Maranatha Christian Church for more than 40 years, touching thousands of lives around the world. In 2020, God fulfilled their dream of moving to the country, and he spent his final years watching the geese on Jerusalem Pond from their home in St. Croix Falls, WI.

Bruce cherished camping trips with his large family and took special pride and pleasure in his 23 precious grandchildren, who he loved to watch swim in the pool at their new home. His other interests included gardening, jazz and bluegrass music, political involvement, squirrel trapping and managing his various collections of flashlights, tarps, extension cords and propane tanks. Well known for his corny sense of humor, Bruce loved to make people laugh with his dad jokes and “Bruceisms” that encouraged people to “jump through this,” “take a flying leap in a rolling donut,” and most importantly, “stop hitting themselves in the head with a hammer.” His favorite vegetable was chicken.

Bruce is survived by his devoted wife of 51 years, Johnye Lynn (Screws) Harpel; five adoring children, Amber (Peter) Peterson , Micah (Melissa) Harpel, Audra (J.P.) Charlebois, Joseph (Rebecca) Harpel, and Nathan Harpel; his beloved grandchildren, Malachi, Elijah, Rae, Zachary, Naomi, Ruby, Ruth, Anna, Chloe, Jeremiah, Rosie, Isaac, Christian, Silas, Abigail, Grace, Jachin, Simeon, Gabriel, Benjamin, Josiah, Elizabeth and Lucas; sister-in-law Gail Harpel, nephew Brett (Alison) Harpel, and niece Karen (Andrew) Wall.

Preceded in death by his parents and brothers, he joins them now in eternal glory.

Bruce’s family invites you to join them in honoring his life on Monday, April 11th, at Alliance Church of the Valley in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. A public visitation will begin at 10:00 am, followed by a funeral service at 12:00 pm and a reception immediately after. He will be laid to rest at St. Croix Falls Cemetery in a private ceremony.

Flowers, cards, and memorial contributions to Maranatha Christian Church are all appreciated. Tax deductible donations may be made to Maranatha Christian Church at http://spiritformed.com/online-giving/.

The family also wishes to express their deepest thanks to the elders and staff of Maranatha Christian Church for their unwavering commitment to the kingdom work, the fellow pastors who have fought the good fight beside them, the countless friendships that enriched Bruce’s life so greatly, and all who have expressed love, shared memories, and sent prayers from around the world. Jesus is Lord.

Last Update: Apr 04, 2022 9:29 am CDT

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