THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
James W. Gunderson
Issue Date: June 9, 2022
James W. Gunderson, 83, of Sawyer, passed away Sunday, May 29, 2022 at Spectrum - Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mi.
Born Oct. 9, 1938, in Menominee, Mi., the sixth of 10 children born to Harry and Emerald (Jossart) Gunderson, he married Deanna (Lund) Feb. 9, 1958, in Marinette.
He loved growing up in Menominee and spent his youth swimming, fishing and playing games with his siblings and their friends on Kirby Street. In summer he looked forward to spending time at his grandparent's homestead in Minocqua.
A 1956 graduate of Menominee High School where he was proud to be a Maroon, he played football, ran track, performed in plays, was a member of student council and was his Senior Class President.
After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Texas, Colorado and Panama City, Fla. He was discharged in 1960 and he applied to the Michigan State Police and was accepted. He graduated in April 1961 as a member of the 49th Trooper Recruit School. He served at the Alpena and Bay City posts and was promoted to Detective Sargent and assigned to the New Buffalo post until he retiring in 1984. He then served as a Lieutenant with the Chikaming Township Police and took over as Chief of Police when Ivan Zimmermann retired.
Retiring at age 50 gave him time to enjoy hunting, fishing, reading, building puzzles, watch the Green Bay Packers and University of Michigan football teams and also hone his plumbing, electrical and carpentry skills in home improvement projects his family had.
He was a 50-year member of Trinity Lutheran Church and also of the Sawyer and the Three Oaks American Legion Post 204. He was a licensed charter boat Captain with the New Buffalo Charter Service and a past member of the New Buffalo Rod-n-Gun Club.
Survivors include his wife, Deanna; two daughters Laurie Koehler and Debra Gunderson, both of Three Oaks; one grandson; a granddaughter; two brothers, Robert (Barb) Gunderson of Menominee and Jon (Mary Ann) Gunderson of Alpena; two sisters, Ruth (Robert) Jome of Manitowoc and Ellen Swanson of Marinette; a brother-in-law, Forrest (Rocky) Coleman of Clermont, Fla.; a sister-in-law, Roberta Anderson of Harrisville, Pa. and many nieces and nephews.
Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by four sisters June Gunderson, Dorothy Anderson, Lois Smith and Sue Joy Coleman; a brother, Donald Gunderson; a sister-in-law, Margaret Enos; and two brothers-in-law, Fred Anderson and William Swanson.
Family and friends gathered for burial with Military Honors on Tuesday, June 7 at Riverside Cemetery on Three Oaks Road. A luncheon followed at the Three Oaks American Legion Post 204 in Three Oaks. Memorial contributions can be made in his name to; Trinity Lutheran Church, 5791 Sawyer Road, Sawyer, MI 49125; or the Three Oaks Public Library, 3 North Elm, Three Oaks, MI 49128. Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, Boyd Chapel in Bridgman assisted the family. Online condolences can be made at www.PikeFH.com.