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Eric Paul Gunderson, 80

Eric Paul Gunderson passed away unexpectedly on September 9, 2015 at the age of 80.

Eric was born on August 13, 1935 in Bemidji, MN to Ernie and Ruth Gunderson.   He attended school in Spooner, MN and graduated from Baudette High School in 1953.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1954 and served as a radio specialist stationed in the Bikini Islands.  He was honorably discharged as an atomic veteran in 1957 and transferred to the Army Reserve.  Eric began his career with the Minnesota State Highway Patrol in 1961. He graduated from the F.B.I. Academy, Quantico, VA, in 1976, and retired as Captain of the State Patrol Duluth district in 1991.

Eric eloped with Eileen Pickett on March 8, 1958 in Mason City, Iowa. Their life journey took them from St. Cloud to Ada and finally to Moose Lake, MN in 1969 where they raised their 3 children. Eric and Eileen recently celebrated their 57th Wedding Anniversary.

Eric lived a healthy, large, boisterous life, constantly learning and exploring.  He stayed actively involved in the community as a Dale Carnegie® instructor, marathon runner, ham radio operator [call sign NØSPY], prison ministry and his service to Meals on Wheels. He was a strong advocate for social justice, including being lead banner carrier for the Ashley Rukes Pride parade in Minneapolis.  Eric was an organ donor and his passing allowed him to give one final gift to those in need.

Eric was a kind, generous family man. He especially enjoyed making memories with his grandchildren, including travel, fishing, canoe camping, cribbage, storytelling and sharing a laugh. He found solace and peace in nature. He freely gave advice and wisdom when asked, but also knew how to listen… really listen to others.  “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic.” “Eileen, car’s running!” and, of course, “What?”

Eric is survived by his wife Eileen, his three children Michelle (Dale Bahr) of Shakopee, Gerald (Beth) of St. Louis Park, DuWayne of Minneapolis; six grandchildren, Cole Nesgoda, Callie (Jonathon) Thornton, Ben (Holly) Bahr, Brett Bahr(fiancée Nikki Anton), Sarah Gunderson and Rachel Gunderson and two great grandchildren, Blake and Collin Bahr, his brother Maitland Gunderson of Nashville and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to one of the following in Eric’s memory:  All God’s Children “Do Unto Others” Fund, 3100 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN  55407 or Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders, 28 West Second Street, Duluth, MN 55802 or the reader’s charity of choice.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Harley and sister Leogene Mrofchak.

A Gathering of family and friends will be Friday, September 18th from 10 to 11am at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Moose Lake, MN with a celebration of Eric’s life beginning at 11am.  Inurnment will be in Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis at a later date.  To sign the guestbook online, go to:  Arrangements are with Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home, Moose Lake.

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