Gordon Benjamin Anderson (“Gordy”) was born in a dirt floored duplex in Minneapolis on August 7, 1927 and would spend his entire life striving to better himself and his family. This began at a very early age as he would hitchhike out to the Minneapolis Golf Club to caddy for a few pennies a day. After returning home from WWII where Gordy served as an Electrician’s Mate, First Class in the Navy, he began a career at A&P as a meat cutter. With the support and encouragement from his loving wife, Gordy took a chance on himself and his future by taking out a loan to start his own grocery store. That first store turned into a chain of 15 grocery stores that stretched across Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Colorado. He employed hundreds of people and was a prominent member of the Worthington community where he served as Chairman of the Board of The State Bank of Worthington. Gordy received the Grocer of the Year Award in 1994 by The Minnesota Grocers Association. He was later named the President of the Minnesota Grocers Association and after an illustrious career was inducted to their hall of fame in 2006.
Gordy’s life was defined in the earliest days by hardship, but continued grit and perseverance led him to great success. However, his greatest accomplishments and pride were not in his professional achievements, but rather in his family and friends. Gordy’s late wife Barbara was his greatest source of love and admiration. He built a business, a life, and a family of seven children with her and attributed it all to her love and support.
Gordy’s father immigrated from Denmark and his mother was the daughter of Scandinavian immigrants. He felt a deep curiosity and connection to his ancestry and went to great lengths to understand where he came from. Going so far as to place an ad in a Danish newspaper to find distant relatives who he would cross the Atlantic to meet. And cross the Atlantic he did. Once on the Queen Mary 2, on the final voyage of the QE2, and on the last flight of the Concorde. He first crossed the Pacific Ocean on a naval boat headed for the Philippines during WWII, and later many times by air and sea on his trips around the world. Needless to say, he was an avid traveler and his endless curiosity and wandering nature broadened and enriched his world view, and by extension many of ours as well.
Quick-witted, short-tempered, a smart dresser who was often restless and always generous. Gordy was truly larger than life, his presence upon entering a room was immediately felt, his laugh heard loudly and unabashed. He was an engaging storyteller with a remarkable memory, and his life was rich with material. So much so, that even late into his eighties you may be hearing an incredible tale for the first time, and it was a tremendous gift.
Gordy was loved by many and respected by more. Survived by daughters, Jan Regan and Krista (Gregg) Okerman; sons, Thomas (Mary) Anderson, Bruce Anderson, Kurt (Deb O’Brien) Anderson, and Scott Anderson; grandchildren, Brett (Erica) Anderson, Tara (Jimmy) Mazcko, Aaron (Erin) Anderson, Lisa (Greg) Sammons, Erika Anderson, Ryan Anderson, Ali Anderson, Kyle Anderson, Eric Anderson, and Krista Anderson; 10 great grandchildren; sister, Verna Merrill and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 46 years, Barbara; son, Ross; 2 sisters; Irene Reinking and Lorayne Bellows; and daughter-in-law, Carolee Anderson. A celebration of Gordon’s life will be announced at a later date.
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