Gordon Pederson

Gordon Pederson

Former legislator Gordon R. Pederson passed away yesterday, Aug. 20 at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Sioux Falls. He was 84.

An article in today’s Rapid City Journal provides great insight about Gordon and his life of service. It is well worth reading, as it recognizes the contributions he made throughout his life.

Pederson was a 23-year veteran of the Army who served in World War II, the
Korean War and the Vietnam War. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1970.

After serving his country in the military, Pederson returned home where he soon  entered into the service of his state and community as a legislator representing his district in Pierre:

No one served in the Legislature longer than Gordon Pederson. Fellow lawmakers say few were better at it.

Pederson, 84, who died Saturday at a Sioux Falls hospital, represented Wall for 30 years in Pierre. During that time, which ended in 2008, he rose to become a ?statesman,? the body?s ?institutional memory? who ?didn?t have an enemy in the Capitol? and was considered the ?epitome of a good legislator,? his colleagues said.

A role model for today’s legislators, he will be missed.

3 Replies to “Gordon Pederson”

  1. Lee Schoenbeck

    saw Gordon in the ICU at Rapid CIty Regional last month – same sense of humor – same smirk — just a gem. Spent a half hour giving him a hard time about laying around. Was an intern when first met Gordon – the best stories from that I can’t tell here – but he was a great guy. The one repeatable story would be the time he put the “chamber pot” on Mary Edelen’s desk because she got the Exec Bd to add a woman’s bathroom in the back of the house chamber. Anybody there that year will laugh at just recalling the pot – the rest of the story — can’t tell.
    I’m not sure Gordon would like being called a statesman. He might think he had to revise his language. Gordon was always to the point. I served in the legisalture with him in two different decades, and he never changed.
    We went to three GOP conventions together and there was that one night in Dallas with the balloons in the elevator — oops, can’t tell that story.

    Gordon was effective because he had a down to earth way of relating. He served in three wars, and could still be best friends and confidants to kids that weren’t born when he finished his second tour in Vietnam. Stopping in Wall won’t be quite as much fun as it used to be. We will all miss you Gordon.

  2. Troy Jones

    In the end, despite Gordon’s impressive tenure and many accomplishments (nobody understood Transportation better than him), he is one of the kindest, most unassuming, and most interesting person you’d ever want to meet.

    I will tell you a story I observed about 25 years ago in his transportation committee. I don’t recall all the details but they knew based on Appropriations decisions had to be made. The committee voted and the losing side was distraught. They found a way to revisit the issue and lost again. When the losing side tried to revisit the issue a third time (which is what I happened to see), Gordon sat there obviously about ready to lose his cool. But he allowed the amendment to be made, it got a second, they made their points for the third time. Gordon nodded to a person on the committe and a substitute motion was made to slash the losing side further, it got a second and passed. Gordon looked at the people who tested him and said with the ultimate sarcasm, “I am sorry you didn’t hear us the first time. I trust you have heard ME this time.”

    If I recall correctly, Gordon did allow the last amendment to get “corrected” in conference committee but the point was made.

    Gordon loved to play the buffoon or slightly “off” but he was nobody’s fool and didn’t suffer fools who pushed him too far. Things got done with Gordon and always, always with the public good in mind.

    Thank you for your life of service.

    Eternal rest, grant unto Gordon, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May Gordon rest in peace. Amen.

  3. Dana Randall

    I wish Gordan’s Family Peace. He was very kind to me when I was a newcomer to politics. I had a friend tell me Gordan was in politics so long he was on Abe Lincoln’s grass roots team.

    May God Bless Gordan and his Family.