In Loving Memory of
Anders Paul Pedersen
Anders Paul Pedersen died on Saturday, June 24th, 2023, comfortably at home in Slayton, MN. He was born on June 17, 1963, in San Diego, CA to Frances (Larson) and Henry Pedersen. The family lived in California, Midway Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Kentucky. As a youth, he attended Birnamwood Church Camp for many years and worked there during college. Church camp was always a source of colorful stories full of adventures, friends, and spiritual insights. After flunking out of the University of Texas he pulled himself together, grew some maturity, and in 1986 he graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a self-created bachelor’s degree in psychology and classics in preparation for ministry. He then graduated with a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He did a term of Pastoral Clinical Education in Rochester at the Mayo Clinic Methodist Hospital. At Mayo, he met his wife of 32 years, Heidi (Gray) Pedersen. They were engaged by the end of the term and continued to be a great match and an amazing team from then on. They raised beautiful, above average children – Harriet Pedersen (Dubuque, IA), Haakon Pedersen (Fredericksburg, VA) and Nils Pedersen (Norfolk, VA). His Dad-skills were also far above average, though belatedly appreciated by the children given how prone he was to eye roll inducing movie quotes, dad jokes, and singing ‘there’s AAAl-ways tomorrow.’ Anders (Andy) was a truly all around super-duper human being, who touched many lives. He was a Presbyterian (USA) Minister. His career began as a pastor at Zion Presbyterian Church in Ellsworth, MN for 3 years. After that, he followed in his father's footsteps and entered the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a chaplain. He was made for working in the Federal prison system (Sheridan OR, Ray Brooke NY, Washington DC)– he had a captive audience for his sermons! He found enjoyment in most aspects of his job, especially accompanying Protestant Christian inmates and staff on their spiritual journey and facilitating access to religious practice for every religion imaginable. He especially enjoyed learning about the Native American and Asatru faiths, eventually becoming the Federal expert on Asatru. During his final years with the Bureau, he worked in the Washington DC headquarters likely spending equal time playing pranks on coworkers and passing on his enthusiasm and expertise to Bureau chaplains in trainings. He was initiated to the beautiful region of the Adirondacks while a student pastor at the Raquette Lake and Inlet churches. He later spent 17 years living in Saranac Lake, NY while he worked at the prison in Ray Brooke. Though he worked hard in the prison, his real joy was spending energy in the outdoors: biking, cross-country skiing, camping, hiking, canoeing, fire-wood stacking, sledding, fishing, and running. Sun, rain, winter, mud season, black fly season, and fall could all find him riding his bike to work. He was a ski ‘coach’ for little kids at Dewey Ski Center and taught them the Viking war cry for doing ladders (he really got a kick out of that). He liked skiing so much that he became a ski patrol volunteer at Mt. VanHovenberg. The lack of snow was one of his main complaints once he received his call from God to move to Washington DC. While in the DC area, he learned how to sail with his son, Nils. They had fun earning their Basic Keelboat Sailing certificates through the American Sailing Association.
Anders was a Renaissance man. He was always researching and planning projects. He loved woodworking, fixing up houses, making gourmet breakfasts, working on garden projects, camping, learning Norwegian, tracking the weather, and just doing anything and everything with his family. Anders treasured his time with his siblings and their families – Krissy (Chris) Adkins (Ashland, KY), Carl (Amy) Pedersen (LaPorte, MN), Nancy (Gio) Ramirez (Canon City, CO). His sister, Debbie Pedersen (Slayton, MN) died before him. He and Heidi retired to Slayton, MN to be closer to his mom (Frances). The cancer diagnosis came soon after moving to Slayton.
His goal was to live to 100, but aggressive prostate cancer had other plans. He made it to his 60th birthday with his zest for life undiminished. He packed a lot of great stuff into those 60 years. He made the world a better place and will truly be missed.
Christ Lutheran Church in Slayton, MN on Monday, July 3rd, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Joann White officiating. The organist is Nancy Lee Pierson. A private interment with his immediate family will happen at Lake Sarah Baptist Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services at the church Monday. Totzke Funeral Home of Slayton is entrusted with arrangements. To view online obituary and send condolences visit totzkefuneralhome.com
If you so choose, he asked that any monetary donations be made to the Presbyterian Federal Chaplains (military, prison, VA hospitals) https://presfedchap.org/donate/ and Murray County Hospice https://www.hospiceofmurraycounty.com/donations.htm.