Cover photo for Gerald Gunderson's Obituary
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1937 Gerald 2022

Gerald Gunderson

September 21, 1937 — August 21, 2022

Gerald “Gerry” Gunderson was born September 21st, 1937 to John and Selma (Hjelmstad) Gunderson in Grand Forks, ND. He graduated from Thompson High school in 1955 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served for three years as airman basic ordnance in Chincoteague, VA.

After discharge, he attended University of North Dakota and graduated with a B.S degree in speech therapy. He worked as a speech therapist in Bagley, MN where he met and married, Gwendolyn Johnson in 1963.

Gerry and Gwen moved to Grand Forks so that he could pursue his master’s degree and there they welcomed two daughters, Angela and DeAnn. After receiving his master’s degree, the family moved to Morris, MN where he worked as a speech pathologist for the Educational Research and Development Council.

In 1970 the family moved to Fergus Falls where Gerry worked as a speech pathologist for Lakeland Mental Health Center until 1996 when he spearheaded the development of the Speech and Language Therapy department at Lake Region Hospital. Gerry was an active member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and Minnesota Speech and Hearing Association. He was also active in the community including leadership roles with the Elks, Kiwanis Club, American Cancer Society, Trinity Lutheran Church and Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Gerry and Gwen enjoyed traveling and spending summers at their lake cabin on Pickerel Lake where Gerry was affectionately known as “the mayor” since he knew almost everyone on the lake. Gerry’s greatest joy, however, was his family. He especially loved having all of his grandchildren around and took on the role of “Papa” so wholeheartedly that he even became known as “Papa Gerry” to many of his young patients.

Gerry suffered a debilitating stroke in 2002 that rendered him unable to speak and partially paralyzed, but he never lost the twinkle in his eye. He moved from the lake into Fergus Falls with his wife, Gwen, as his constant and loving caregiver. He was able to remain at home with her until moving into the Fergus Falls Veterans Home in 2019. Gwen and Gerry found a second family there amidst the residents, their families and the staff.

Gerry passed away, peacefully, on August 21st, 2022 at the Veteran’s Home, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren, just the way he always wanted. He will be remembered for his outgoing and friendly nature, his sense of humor, and his deep love of family.

Gerry was preceded in death by his parents, John and Selma; his mother and father-in-law, Helmer and Anna Johnson; sister-in-law, Karlyn Gunderson; brothers-in-law, Kenny Plante, Clayton Steenerson, and James Halbert, and great grandson, Alexander Larson.

Gerry is survived by his wife, of 59 years, Gwen; daughters, Angi (Tom) Larson of Fergus Falls, DeAnn (Lanny) Hoff of Minneapolis; grandchildren, Joshua Larson of Fergus Falls, Caleb (Sarah) Larson of Fergus Falls, Anna (Wynn) Roberts of Erhard, Joe (Rachel) Larson of Jamestown, ND, Jasper Hoff of Minneapolis; great-grandchildren, Kaylen, Rhys, Elyana, and Brendyn Larson, Morgan and Henry Roberts, Matthias Larson; his brother, Marvin Gunderson of Laguna Niguel, CA; sister, Donna (Orville) Gunderson of Hendrum, MN; sisters-in-law, Eloise Steenerson and Ardith Halbert both of Fergus Falls, and beloved nieces and nephews.

Memorials preferred to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church or MN Veterans Home, Fergus Falls Recreation Department.

Service: 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 27, 2022, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fergus Falls, with visitation one-hour prior to the service at the church. Link to the livestream of the service:
Military: Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 and VFW Post 612
Clergy: Reverend Dale Hexum
Interment: Oak Grove Cemetery, Fergus Falls, MN

Arrangements provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, August 27, 2022

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Saturday, August 27, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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