Apr. 9, 1919 – Apr. 24, 2018
Funeral services for Gerald Sanderson, age 99 of Willow City, were held on Monday, April 30, 2018 at 10:00 am at the First Lutheran Church in Willow City. Officiating
at the service was Wally Fretland. Martha Larson was the organist. Military Honors were presented by the Bottineau County Veterans and the North Dakota National Guard. Casket Bearers were Paul Sanderson, Travis Sanderson, Aaron Sanderson, Bryant Sanderson, Michael Kuhnert and Martin Sanderson. Burial was at the Memorial Park Cemetery near Willow City.
Gerald was born in Willow City, ND to Ole (also known as Matt) and Alvina (Slatta) Sanderson. He was raised and educated in Willow City, graduating from Willow City High School in 1935. After graduation he worked for his father on the farm. In 1939, he and a friend, Orris Larson, motored west to the Worlds Fair in San Francisco in a Model A Ford. The next time Gerald entered San Francisco Gate he was a truck driver as part of a military convoy. He enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard in December 1940. When the state National Guard was federalized in early 1941, he did his basic training at Camp Claiborne, LA and then served at several posts in the west and on the west coast until he boarded the troop ship Calvin Coolidge in San Francisco bound for the South Pacific theatre in December 1941. He served as a med-
ic in the 164th Infantry on Guadalcanal, Bouganville, and the Fiji Islands. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned to Willow City where he farmed and raised a family. In addition to farming, he also worked for the local butcher, ran an insurance business (General Insurance Agency), and was a rural mail carrier. He retired as a mail carrier in 1985. After retirement, he and wife Inga traveled to visit children and helped neighbors. For several summers Gerald helped Wally Fretland of Towner lead wagon train camps for church youth in the North Dakota Badlands. After Inga’s death in 1990 he continued his road trips around the U.S. visiting family, taking in
sights, and making new friends. He also traveled to Australia, Barbados, and Norway. He was a friend of Bill W. and helped others become his friend.
Gerald passed away on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at a Rugby hospital.
He was a lifelong member of Willow City Lutheran Church (serving as Sunday school teacher for many years) and a 72-year member of Lyle B. Rich Post 112 of the
American Legion. He was steadfastly loyal to his army buddies and reminisced with them at many company reunions. In 2004, he and a neighbor, Don Diepolder, participated with several other veterans in an “honor flight” to Washington D.C. where their military service was recognized by several dignitaries including Senator Robert Dole of Kansas.
Gerald is survived by: his daughter Carol Kuhnert, Bozeman, MT; son Martin Sanderson, Tucson, AZ; daughter Irene Reamer, Beech Island SC; son Matt (Vicky)
Sanderson, State College, PA; and son Paul (Karen) Sanderson, Fargo, ND; grandchildren Mike (Courtney) Kuhnert, Craig, MT; Katie Reamer, Grovetown, GA; Kristin
Risher, Graniteville, GA; Travis Sanderson, Fargo; Aaron Sanderson, Fargo; and Bryant Sanderson, Minneapolis; a great granddaughter, Kelsey Inga Risher, Graniteville, GA; and his longtime companion and care giver, Leila Lehman.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Inga, and sons Jon and Kris.
Arrangements were with Nero Funeral Home in Bottineau. Friends may sign the online register book at www.nerofuneralhome.net.
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