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Gordon R. Pederson

Gordon R. Pederson, age 84 of Wall, South Dakota, died Saturday, August 20, 2011, at the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Gordon Roy Pederson was born August 8, 1927, in Gayville, South Dakota, the son of Roy E. and Gladys (Masker) Pederson. He attended school in Rapid City, graduating from the Rapid City School System .

He was drafted into the Army for WWII serving from 1945 - 1947. He then attended Yankton College until 1950, when he was recalled in the Army as a Staff Sergeant in 1950 for the Korean Conflict. He also took courses from Florida State (Panama campus) and several military schools. Gordon was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1952. He served in the Korean War as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Intelligence Officer.

He was united in marriage to Betty Ballard on March 8, 1955, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon served for three years in Germany as a rifle company commander. In 1960 he went to Panama for three and a half years and served as an instructor at the U.S. Army Jungle Warfare Training Center and was post commander. He had to defend the post of Ft. Sherman during the 1964 Panamanian riots. In 1965 he was ordered to Vietnam and served one year as the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division Operations Officer and Intelligence Office. He was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri where he was responsible for all training from 1966-1968. His last assignment was as an advisor to the U.S. Minister of National Defense R.O.C. and was liason to then President Chiang Kai-shek of Taiwan. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving 23 years of active duty on 30 June 1970.

Returning home, he operated the Elkton House Restaurant and then the Wall Dairy Queen. He was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 1976, serving Wall and the State of South Dakota, for 30 years, leaving the legislature after the 2008 session. He was on the House Transportation Committee for 26 years, being chairman for 24, State Affairs Committee for 16 years and Vice Chairman for six years, Chairman of the Budget and Audit Committee for two years. He was a member of the Executive Board for 14 years of which he was Vice Chairman for two years.

During his years as a South Dakota House of Representative, Gordon received the following three legislative awards. In 2007 proclaimed Legislator of the Year by the South Dakota American Legion. In 2008 he received the new Highway Guardian Award from the South Dakota Highway Users Conference. On February 12, 2009, the South Dakota State Legislature proclaimed that day "Gordon R. Pederson Day."

He has been an active Republican since 1948, when he became Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Yankton College Republicans. He attended the last nine National Republican Conventions from 1976 to 2008, and all state conventions since 1974 except one. He was the District 6 Chairman for the Reagan for President from 1976 to 1988.

His public service extended beyond his military and political careers, serving Lions Club International for 25 years, holding several offices. He was also a member of the Carroll-McDonald American Legion for 38 years, serving 26 years as Adjutant. He was also a member of the Wall Chamber of Commerce, and a past member of the Retired Officer's Association, the Pennington County Council on Aging, the South Dakota Senior Services Advisory Board, and a great promoter of Wall. He has truly served with a sense of duty and what is right.

His biography has been included in Who's Who in the Midwest, Who's Who of America, and Who's Who of the World for many, many years.

Survivors include his wife Betty Pederson of Wall; two sons Gary Pederson of Wall, and James Pederson of Yankton; two daughters Carol Naescher and her husband LeRoy of Oacoma, South Dakota, and Nancy Holub of Wall; four grandchildren Nick Niemann and his wife Heather of Edwardsville, Illinois, Tyler Niemann of Houston, Texas, Matthew Holub of Mason City, Iowa, and Grant Holub of Wall; one great-granddaughter Alyssa Niemann; three sisters Audrey Harnisch and her husband Carl of Kingman, Arizona, Kay Leonard and her husband Bill of Wall, and JoAnn Metcalf and her husband Joe of Antioch, California; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Gordon was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters Lorraine Sisk and Natalie Wermager Foster.

Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, at the Wall High School Gym, with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m.

Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 25, at the Wall High School Gym, with Pastor Curtis Garland officiating.

Interment with full military honors will be at the Wall Cemetery.

A memorial has been established.

Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Chapel of Wall.

His online guestbook is available at www.rushfuneralhome.com