Obituary: Pauline "Punky" Gleason


June 16, 2023

Pauline "Punky" Gleason, 96, passed away on June 6, 2023. She was born Nov. 5, 1926, the oldest child of Harry and Gunhild (Carlson) Vnuk.

Punky lived in Cloquet her entire life. She attended Leach Elementary School and graduated from Cloquet High School in 1944. She married Arthur Gleason on May 22, 1947, at St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Cloquet. They celebrated marriage milestones of 25, 50 and 65 years together and had been married more than 68 years when Art passed away in 2015. They welcomed and raised three children in their Pinewood Drive home of 63 years.

Punky enjoyed camping trips, fishing, reading and traveling with Art to Mexico, Canada, California, Oregon and Arizona. Being from large families, they both enjoyed having plenty of relatives and friends to visit along their way.

Punky and Art supported various organizations that served the Down Syndrome community locally and nationally. The entire family supported daughter Mary and other athletes, coaches and staff at the Special Olympics each year. Punky also served on the board of directors for Pinewood Home and Pine Ridge Homes.

Punky was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Arthur; daughter Mary Ann; son, Gerald; sons-in-law, Daniel Wirtz and Larry Bresson; grandson Kristofer Wirtz; granddaughter Melissa Sundquist; great-granddaughter Greenly Sundquist; sisters Madeline Giblin, Gloria Hantz and Marion Bergeron; brothers-in-law, Roland Bergeron, Robert Giblin, Dennis Haugen, Richard Hantz, Nicholas Toboleski, James Gleason, John Gleason, Lloyd Gleason, William Gleason, Raymond Gleason, Richard Gleason, William Sell, Edward Polley and Floyd Baumann; sisters-in-law Irene Polley, Bernie Gleason, Esther Gleason, Sr. Helen Gleason, Harriet Gleason, Joan Gleason, Lois Gleason and Kaye Vnuk; and daughter-in-law, Leigh Gleason.

Punky is survived by her daughter Vicki Bresson (Pat Watters) of Siloam Springs, Arkansas; sisters Jean Toboleski of Cloquet and Harriet Haugen of Santee, California; brother, Gerald Vnuk of Bella Vista, Arkansas; sisters-in-law Jeanne Sell of Cloquet and Mary Ann Baumann of Meadowlands; grandchildren Thomas (Lori) Price of Maple Grove, Eric Nordlander of Minneapolis, Felicia O'Brien of St. Paul and Craig Armstrong of St. Paul; great-grandchildren Elizabeth Price, Lacey Price, Elliot Normen, Fisher Normen, Trever Mraz and Cambria Sundquist.

The family would like to acknowledge the excellent care provided by Amanda, Kate and all St. Croix Hospice team members. Thank you for ensuring Punky's last days were filled with sensitive, quality medical, spiritual and dignified care.

Evergreen Knoll was her home for nine years. She loved Evergreen. Terri Longevin and the staff there welcomed Punky and Art way back in 2014. Evergreen provided a safe, fun, caring environment. With all the activities and other residents (many of whom my parents knew all their lives) available for coffee, cards, schmoozing, and more, their days were full. Mother especially appreciated having all meals prepared and served, laundry taken care of and house cleaning done, and when she could no longer drive, having Donna P. come and do her hair every week. As Dad said before he passed in 2015, "She's got a pretty good gig going here, Vicki. Make sure she stays and is well taken care of." I did, and she was, Dad.

Gathering of Friends and Family:

11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, July 7 at Atkins-

Northland Funeral Home in Cloquet.

A luncheon will be provided during the gathering. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. at New Calvary Cemetery in Cloquet. To sign the guestbook and leave an online tribute, see

Pine Knot News, June 16, 2023


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