Wayne Mervin Gunderson, 78, of Vining, died Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009, at Meritcare Hospital in Fargo, N.D.
He was born March 8, 1931, to Orvie and Helen (Olson) Gunderson in Parkers Prairie. He was baptized May 3, 1931, and confirmed Oct. 1, 1944, at Folden Lutheran Church. He attended country school in District 209 and graduated in 1949 from Henning High School. He attended the University of Minnesota -- Crookston for agriculture and graduated in March 1951. Wayne was inducted into the Army on May 18, 1954, serving his country for two years, earning the National Defense Service Medal, the Army or Occupation Medal (Germany) and the Good Conduct Medal. On May 5, 1957, he married Nancy Jeanne Bjork and purchased the family farm near Vining. He was a third-generation dairy farmer and in 1975, he and Nancy were selected the East Otter Tail County Dairy Family of the Year. He worked the family farm until his retirement in 1989. He was a tireless volunteer and dedicated much of his life to serving his community. He was a director on the East Otter Tail DHIA for several years, ASC township committee, and the Vining Co-op Creamery board. He also served on the Folden Township Board for 44 years and was a director for the Lake Region Electrical Co-op for 39 years. He served on the Folden Lutheran Church Board in many positions, including the cemetery board. Even more important to him than his community service was his desire to help others in need. He could always be found at local benefits, charitable events and fundraisers.
He married Shirley (Selvaag) Lovro on Jan. 11, 1985. They loved to travel, taking several trips throughout the United States, including California, Washington, D.C., and Alaska, as well as trips to Norway (twice), Iceland, and Canada. He and Shirley were crowned Vining Watermelon King and Queen in 2003. They were active members of the Sons of Norway and volunteered many hours together, including building a Habitat-for-Humanity home in Hawaii. He loved to do woodworking, making Norwegian tine boxes and whittling Norwegian wedding spoons. He loved to hunt turkeys and deer and spent many hours ice fishing in the winter. He enjoyed being out in his woods, clearing trails, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and driving his tractor. Wayne also enjoyed his daily outings to Big Foot to have coffee with the guys. Above all things, He loved family gatherings. He was a very caring person and will be missed by all.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Sept. 9, at Folden Lutheran Church, rural Vining, with the Rev. Dick Kennedy officiating. Honorary pallbearers were Holly Cordes, Chelsey Cordes, Ashley Beim, Jordan Speaker, Autumn Speaker and Julia Davis. Active pallbearers were Jesse Grabow, Jacob Grabow, Jordan Beim, Seth Buschke, Ben Greene and Brad Greene. Interment is in the church cemetery. The Belmont Funeral Home in Henning is in charge of arrangements (www.belmontfuneral.com).
Survivors include his wife, Shirley; children, Jeff (Sherry) Gunderson of Carlos, Kim (Cody) Speaker of Timnath, Colo., Julie (Brian) Greene of Underwood; stepdaughters Wendy (Jeff) Grabow of Battle Lake, Dawn (Craig) Cordes of Henning, Jill (Andy) Beim of Becker, Minn.; 12 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister, Darlene (Chuck) Nelson.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Orvie and Helen Gunderson, and a great-granddaughter.