Gordon Register, 92, Minneapolis

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2004

Gordon Register, age 92, died in Minneapolis on Monday,

Nov. 29, 2004, after a long, rich life he could recall in startling detail.

Employed 31 years as a millwright at Wilson & Co., he served 10 years on the

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Albert Lea City Council and eight years on the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners, plus county and state boards. Gordy’s passion was politics.

A fourth-generation Minnesotan, he was born on the Speer homestead in Moscow to Leslie and Grace (Ostrander) Register on Jan. 16, 1912, the year Teddy Roosevelt ran on the Progressive ticket. He graduated from Alden High School in 1929, months before the Stock Market Crash, and came of age in the heyday of the Farmer-Labor Party. He cast his first presidential vote for FDR and his last for John Kerry.

Gordy married Ardis Petersen of Alden in 1934 and they spent 60 years in Albert Lea. They left their handbuilt home and bountiful garden behind in 1997 to move to Walker Place in Minneapolis, nearer their three daughters. In the harsh test of love that is Alzheimer’s disease, Gordy’s devotion to Ardis amazed us all. She passed away on Nov. 30, 2003.

Gordy was a skilled craftsman who could repair anything and brought that problem-solving precision to his community service on housing, social welfare, and the environment. He served 21 years on the Trades and Labor Senior Housing Board, 20 years on the Fountain Lake Treatment Center Advisory Board, 10 as chair, and 6 years on the Semcac Nutrition Board. A member of Local 6 of the UPWA (now UFCW) and the Eagles, he was an usher captain at Albert Lea’s First Lutheran Church. Gordy was warmheartedly curious about everyone he met, enjoyed a good story, pheasant hunting, gardening, cowboy shows, and his grandchildren, who will miss the twinkle in the eye that signaled a sharp crack of wit.

He was preceded in death by his wife; daughter and son-in-law, JoAnn and Rodger Squires; brothers: Alan and John; and sister, Pat Hitchcock.

He leaves daughters: Nancy (Roger) Register Wangen and Cheri Register of Minneapolis; grandchildren: Jeff (Cheryl) Squires, Jay (Toni) Squires, Lisa (Mike) Lee, Chris Wangen (Tom Plunkett), Kerry Wangen, Grace De long and Maria De Jong; ten great-grandchildren; sisters: Vivian Cadwell and Mary Jean Pagenkopf of Albert Lea; brothers and sisters-in-law: Leslie Petersen of Crosby, and Carol Petersen and Kenny and Donna Petersen of Albert Lea; plus many nieces and nephews.

The memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at First Lutheran Church Chapel in Albert Lea, followed by a homecoming reception for Gordon and Ardis and private interment.

Memorials are preferred to Riverland Community College Foundation, 2200 Riverland Drive, Albert Lea, MN 56007, or Farm Beginnings Program of

Land Stewardship Project, 2200 Fourth St., White Bear Lake, MN 55110.