Donald Ryder Pederson was born on May 23, 1930 in Aitkin, MN, to Peder and Grace (Ryder) Pederson. Donald’s family moved to the Amery, WI area where he graduated from high school in 1949. At Amery High School in Polk County, Wisconsin, he was very athletic and lettered 14 times between boxing, football, basketball and baseball. He entered the U.S. Army and served stateside mostly with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Benning, GA from 1951 to 1953. He was united in marriage in the mid 1950s to Yvonne Paulson in Amery and the couple was blessed with two daughters. Donald continued his education at UW River Falls earning a degree in History. Donald then taught History and Drivers Education for some years at Unity High School, Balsam Lake, Polk County. While at Unity he also enjoyed coaching basketball, baseball and football for some time. The couple settled in the New London area in the early 1960s. Donald owned and operated the Sears Catalog Store in New London for close to 25 years. In 1981 he was married to Lena Haras at First Congregational UCC, New London. For many years, Lena worked side-by-side with Donald at the store until retiring in 1991. In his younger days he liked playing golf, going dancing, and attending all sorts of sporting events. Donald was an active member of First Congregational UCC in New London. He volunteered his time as a New London Lions Club member and with the New London Chamber of Commerce. For close to 59 years Donald was a Free and Accepted Mason, helping countless hours as a Past Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge in New London and currently as a member of the Manawa Masonic Lodge #82. Donald was proud to share and talk about his Norwegian ancestry with folks. He was a real gentleman who was so active and independent for most of his life. Donald often loved to sing and share his wonderful sense of humor and smile with everyone around him.
Survivors include five children, Pamela (Steven) Schmit of Oconto, Jacquelyn (Beth Seymour) Pederson of Luxemburg, Gerald (Sue) Schulz Jr. of Hubertus, Dianna (Michael) Montemarano of Bradenton, FL, and Meriann Hille of Stevens Point. There are nine grandchildren: Eric (friend Amanda) Schmit, Tyler (Shannon) Schmit, and Adam (Beth) Schmit, Jesse (Alisha) Schulz, Tina Reinke, Aaron (Casey) Reinke, Richard Reinke, Zachary (friend Christina) Hille, and Cody Hille. He is further survived by 13 great-grandchildren; one sister, Marilyn Drysdale of Lake Crystal, MN, and many other relatives and friends. Donald is preceded in death by his parents, first wife Yvonne, second wife Lena, and a brother-in-law Keith Drysdale.
Friends may call on Thursday, April 20th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and on Friday from 10:00 a.m. until time of the service, all at the church. Memorial Service will be held on Friday, April 21st at 11:00 a.m. at First Congregational UCC, New London. Rev. Greg Watling will officiate and inurnment will be at Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, King. The Beil-Didier Funeral Home, Clintonville, is assisting with the arrangements. In lieu of flowers and plants, please consider a memorial to the American Cancer Society, ThedaCare at Home Hospice, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
The family would like to thank the nurses with ThedaCare at Home Hospice and the entire staff of Ainsworth Hall, especially the 3rd floor team where he resided. We are so appreciative of everyone that touched our Dad’s life, whether you did medical or emotional care. You were all compassionate, respectful, and professional. We are so grateful for your care and concern for him and our family during his final days. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are truly gifts from God.