Gunder Hansen, died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at Sheridan Manor. Gunder was born on May 6, 1930 to Anna and Walt Hansen on a farm in Hurley, South Dakota. He learned to harness a team of horses to plow the fields at 10 years old. He also, was assigned to hand churn the butter. This early introduction to physical labor saw Gunder grow into a giant of a man.
He left home at 19 to make his way in the world. He found his way to Aransas Pass, Texas and discovered the ocean. That led to him joining the Merchant Marine and literally sailing all over the world, which included crossing the equator twice. While his ship was docked in Philadelphia, he decided to remain on dry land for a while and went to work for Trans America Trucking. He joined Teamster Local 107 and soon became a shop steward. He continued to sail from time to time and was drawn to Long Beach, California. Again, he decided to stay on dry land and transferred his union membership to Teamsters Local 692. It didn’t take long before he was hired on as a Business Agent and was assigned to police the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. He later started work at the Western Conference of Teamsters as an organizer. He organized agricultural workers in the Teamsters quest to improve conditions in the fields. Although, he spent most of his time organizing in the west, he also worked across the US and Canada.
Gunder married Carole Hanson on September 15, 1979. Anyone who knew Gunder, didn’t think anyone could manage this giant of a man. But, Carole proved them all wrong. She stayed with him until the end.
Gunder retired in 1987 during the time he and Carole lived in Story, Wyoming, before moving to Sheridan. He joined the Mason’s Lodge 43 and the Kalif Shrine. He joined the Eastern Star Friendship Chapter 51 and was a Worthy Patron to Carole’s Worthy Matron. Being in a rugged profession of union organizer, it was said of Gunder that he didn’t start many fights, but he certainly finished them. As Gunder grew older and needed assistance to get around, a neighbor commented, “It still wouldn’t be a good idea to get in his way.” His physical presence was only exceeded by his big heart and his willingness to help anyone in need.
Gunder is survived by his wife, Carole; niece, Diane Reiners, her husband, Jim and their daughters Stacy and Angie and four grandkids; a nephew, Larry and son’s Donovan and Jeremy; a nephew, Randall and a godson, Andrew Shaw of Ventura, CA; and numerous cousins.
Services will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Kalif Shriner’s Hospital Travel Fund, PO Box K, Sheridan, WY 82801 or the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter, 84 East Ridge Rd., Sheridan, WY 82801. Online condolences may be written at www.championfh.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Champion Funeral Home.