Colonel Leonard M. Pederson, U.S. Army Retired, Age 96, died 4-11-16 at 10:37 pm.
He was born to George and Wilhelmina Pederson at Browerville, Minnesota where he graduated from high school in 1936 as Valedictorian. He later received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and attended several military schools.
He wore the uniform of The United States Army for over thirty three years. He enlisted as a private on November 25, 1940 in a National Guard unit at Long Prairie, Minnesota, which had been mobilized and assigned to Camp Haan, California. In 1942 he graduated as a Second Lieutenant from Officer Candidate School and married Genevieve Nelson of Long Prairie. This marriage lasted 53 years. After World War II, the Pederson’s returned briefly to the Long Prairie unit until he was called back into the Army and sent to Japan. At the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, he went from Japan to Korea with the 25th Infantry Division and during his last three months in Korea he was on the staff of Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army. He later served in Alaska, in Europe and several assignments in the United States including two tours in Washington, D.C. on the staff of the Department of the Army and Defense Communication Agency. His final seven years in uniform were in Texas at Kingsville as Professor of Military Science at Texas A&I University, and after retirement in 1970, as Senior Army Instructor of ROTC at the McAllen High School. In addition to many service ribbons his medals included: the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, two Presidential Unit Citations and a Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
After three years in McAllen the Pederson’s moved back to Kingsville where he was employed several years as Senior Vice President at the Mercantile National Bank. He was active in many community projects, was a member of the Rotary Club and President of the Chamber of Commerce. During his banking experience, he also served for several years on the board of directors of the Military Bankers Association of America.
In 1984 the family moved to Wimberley, Texas into a home in the golfing community of Woodcreek. They maintained a winter residence there and summer residence on Leech Lake in Walker, Minnesota until Genevieve died on September 26, 1995. In April 2000, he married Zonelle Hedrick, a former neighbor at Woodcreek. They lived at her residence at Woodcreek until moving to Frisco, Texas in 2008. Zonelle died on April 5, 2015 and he lived in Frisco until his death. During his lifetime, he enjoyed the outdoors: golfing, fishing, and hunting. He was an enthusiastic fan of the Minnesota Twins. He enjoyed music, having played in a dance band in his earlier years and was a devoted listener of the Lawrence Welk TV show.
He is preceded in death by his parents, and older brother Gordon, who died at age 6, and his first wife Genevieve and second wife Zonelle. Survivors include his sister Irma Brand of Long Prairie, MN and four children: Gretchen and husband Douglas Gildner of Minneapolis, MN, Lynne Taber of Rotonda West, FL, Jan and husband Jim Gandy of Frisco, TX, and George and wife Paula Pederson of Irving, TX. Also, four grandchildren: Adam Gildner of Minneapolis, MN, Duffy Taber of Kalispell, MT, Sam Taber of Pembroke, MA, and Lee Gandy of Frisco, TX, and 3 great grandchildren, William and Henry Gildner of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Annie Taber of Pembroke, MA.
His remains will be interred next to first wife, Genevieve, at a time to be determined this summer in the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery at Browerville, MN. Memorials to the American Cancer Society will be appreciated.
Arrangements entrusted to Turrentine Jackson Morrow- Frisco. To convey condolences or to sign an online registry, please visit www.tjmfuneral.com.