Wilfred “Bill” Loyd Gunderson, 91, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on April 16, 2022 at his home with family by his side. Bill was born in Grand View, WI on July 5, 1930. He was the second child of four boys born to Enar and Marion (Hackett) Gunderson. Attended grade school in Grand View and high school in Drummond, WI where he graduated in 1948. After graduation, Bill enrolled in a trade program for telegraph and railroad station agents at the Gale Institute of Minneapolis. After completing the program, Bill traveled to Montana to begin his first job as a telegrapher, working for the Great Northern Railway Company (now Burlington Northern). He worked at several GN railway stations on the Hi-Line until 1951 when he was drafted into the US Army. After being honorably discharged in 1953 he came back to Montana and was hired on as railroad telegrapher in Chester.
While in Chester Bill met the love of his life, Marilynn Joyce Zorn. They were married on January 15, 1955 in Grand View, WI. To this blessed union they added six children, Gary Allen (dec August 1959), Diane Marie, Mary Ellen, Brenda Lea, Kenneth Earl, and David William.
Bill, also known as “Willie” to his co-workers, retired from the railroad in 1993 after 42 years and six months of dedicated service to the railroad. After retirement, Bill then became busier. He worked as a handyman for the MX Motel for several years. The owner of the MX Motel stated many times, “Bill…we’re not building a piano here.” Commenting on his work ethic while fixing various issues at the motel. Bill’s upbringing taught him early on that if you are going to do any job, you do it right…the first time.
Some of Bill’s interests and hobbies included gardening, yardwork, woodworking, leather projects, house remodeling, playing cribbage, puzzles, playing horseshoes, pool night at the Roadhouse, collecting stamps, postcards, coins, and vintage bottles. Bill enjoyed camping and traveling in the motorhome with Marilynn to various horseshoe tournaments around the state as well as traveling to visit relatives. Bill enjoyed upholstery and set up his own shop in the family basement, Bill’s Upholstery. He re-upholstered furnishings for many people in the area.
Bill was a member of the following organizations and boards; Chester Volunteer Fire Department, Liberty Leaners Horseshoe Club where he received the Montana Horseshoe Pitchers Association Hall of Fame Mr. Horseshoe Award in 1998, Montana American Legion Post #88, Liberty County Museum and Archives, and the Council for Aging Senior Center.
Bill was a man of faith, a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather, a beloved son, brother, and uncle, a genuine friend to others. Bill was an honest, respected, loving, and caring man, who had many talents some of which were passed down to his children and grandchildren. Bill will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
Surviving family includes daughters, Diane Gunderson, Mary (Bruce) Clark, Brenda (Mark) Faure; sons, Ken (Sonja) Gunderson and David (Sharyn) Gunderson; ten grandchildren, Amy (Cody) Shaw, Brent (Amy) Clark, Mitchell (Stephanie) Clark, Matthew Clark, Chelsey (John) Clayton, Kayla and Eric Gunderson, Cory, Alyssa and Michael Gunderson (Sarah Diehl); four great grandchildren, Eleace, Roscoe, and Huxlee Shaw, and Hudson Clark; brother, Larry (Betty) Gunderson; brother-in-law, Ted (Mary Ann) Zorn; sisters-in-law, Darlene (Duane) Fraser and Teresa (Dennis) Gunderson; numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by wife, Marilynn; son, Gary; brothers, James and Dennis Gunderson; in-laws, Raymond and Ellen Zorn; brothers-in-law, Raymond, Gordon, and Duane Zorn, Eldon Soper; sisters-in-law, Alma Soper, Libby Gunderson, Betty Zorn, Cleo Zorn, and Ona Zorn.
Memorials can be made to the Liberty County Museum and Archives, Liberty County Senior Center, or charity of choice.
Vigil services will be held Friday, April 22, at 7pm. Funeral mass will be held Saturday, April 23, at 10:00am. All services held at St. Mary Catholic Church.