May 2, 1926 – July 15, 2023
A Celebration of Life for George Pederson, of Morris, formerly of Donnelly, Minnesota, will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. at the Evangelical Free Church in Morris with Pastor Hector Franco officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services at the church. Burial with military honors will be at Vinger Cemetery in Donnelly.
Born in the family home north of Donnelly to Gundar and Anna (Bergerson) Pederson on May 2, 1926, George was one of twelve children, with six tragically not surviving past childhood. After the loss of his mother when he was just 12 years old, George found solace and companionship living with his sisters, Laura Kruize and Edna Olson.
Educated at the District 7 country school up to the 8th grade, George then worked with his father threshing grain and assisted other family members before beginning work on Oscar Aanerud’s farm. His youthful years were punctuated by his service in the US Army towards the end of World War II. While his unit was initially bound for a land invasion of Japan, the war’s conclusion rerouted them to the Philippines and then to Korea, where he completed his military service.
Following the war, George proved his versatility through a variety of jobs. His involvement in constructing the Morris High School building and cement silos for the Morris elevator, to working as a mechanic for Studebaker and building homes in Morris, his industrious spirit was evident. His career journey led him to work for the Vault Company and Foxbilt, before establishing his own portable feed mill, serving area farmers for approximately 12 years.
On August 20, 1948, he married his lifelong love, Arlys (Severance), and they shared an incredible 74 years of marital bliss. After moving north of Alberta in 1953, George relocated his family to Detroit Lakes in 1974, having built a family home there. He continued working in construction for the next 20 years, remodeling homes and businesses on recommendation from satisfied clients. When Arlys’ job relocated them to St. Cloud in 1980, George persisted in his remodeling work, both independently and alongside other carpenters.
In 1992, George was delighted to return to Donnelly, even securing the same post office box his family had during his childhood. His love for antique tractors, threshing machines, steam engines, and anything mechanical from yesteryear fueled his restoration projects, including a dozen International Harvester tractors, a John Deere, a couple of Caterpillars, and a Fairbanks Morse Diesel engine. His last endeavor was a corn sheller found hidden in a grove of trees, projects like these keeping him enthusiastic and active. He was an avid fisherman, relishing both summer fishing and the chill of ice house fishing in his younger years, always appreciating those who organized pontoon fishing for seniors.
George and Arlys reveled in their southern winter travels, exploring parks, museums, and factories along their way. They treasured a trip to Alaska, frequent visits to Hawaii to see their daughter and grandchildren, and their journey to Norway, where they met extended family. George cherished his Norwegian heritage, often speaking in the language, attending the NORSK HØSTFEST in Minot, ND, and enjoying polka music.
In 2018, George moved with his beloved Arlys to the Skyview Living apartments, where they resided until December 2022, when they relocated to Bloomington to be nearer to family. George passed away July 15, 2023 very peacefully while he was sleeping. He was 97.
George is survived by his five children: Charles (Paulette) Pederson of Apache Junction, AZ; David (Patty) Pederson of Buffalo; Diane (Wayne) Surface of Honolulu, HI; Douglas (Marcela) Pederson of Bloomington; and Aaron (Brenda) Pederson of Becker. He leaves behind 11 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews. Predeceasing him were his wife, Arlys (Severance), and his siblings: Alfred and Oscar Pederson, Laura Kruize, Edna Olson, and Agnes Kruize.