Gerald Gustav Gunderson “Jerry”, passed away on November 14, 2019, eight days short of his 79th birthday. He was born in Conrad on November 22, 1940 to Arientta Jean (Fortman) Gunderson and Gustav Adolph Gunderson. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Betty Jean (Gunderson) Kummer.
He attended grade school at the Sollid School, east of Conrad, through 7th grade. Gerald attended Conrad Public Schools from eighth grade through high school. Following high school, he went to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, graduating in 1963 with a B. A. in Art and Psychology.
Following one year of teaching in Great Falls, Gerald enlisted in the US Navy in September of 1963. He joined the Navy reserves and trained in Great Falls, commencing active duty in late 1964. He attended Officers Candidate School in Newport, Road Island, graduating as an ensign in March 1964. During his time in the Navy, he spent six months in Athens, Georgia followed by an assignment to the USS Mahan as a DLG-11 based out of San Diego, California until early 1968.
Upon returning to Great Falls, Gerald resumed teaching in the fall of 1968 at West Junior High and North Junior High. Shortly thereafter, he married Carol Engel on January 30, 1971. In 1975, Gerald and Carol moved to the Gunderson family farm 25 miles east of Conrad on the Sollid Road. Gerald and Carol raised three children together, Eric, Kirsten and Cara.
Gerald’s life was marked by his time and work in the Navy, teaching, farming and fatherhood. He had a creative spirit, captured in several pieces of his artwork. He enjoyed shooting sports and was a longtime member of the Brady Rod and Gun Club. Gerald loved spending time with his children and grandchildren, who will miss his presence and stories.
He’s survived by his wife, Carol; children, Eric Gunderson (Paula) of Choteau, Kirsten Lathrop (Derrick) of Wahpeton, ND and Cara Gunderson (John) of Denver; and grandchildren, Michaela, Garrett, Blake, Carter, Claire, Kale, Elena and Marit.
Memorial services will be Monday, November 18, at 2:00 PM at Golden West Lutheran Church. A reception at the church will follow the service.
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