John Holt Pederson

June 7, 1944 ~ November 6, 2021 (age 77)


Age 77.  John passed away peacefully on November 6, 2021 surrounded by his family in his home. John was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7, 1944 to Seymour and Audrey Pederson.  He attended Hopkins High School, where he played basketball, making good use of his 6'4 frame.  John attended Gustavus Adolphus College before entering the US Army.  John loved our country and took such pride in being a soldier.  He served 4 years working in Army Intelligence, serving one year-long tour in Vietnam. 

Upon his return from Vietnam, John earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and started work for the American Red Cross.  He was sent to Lubbock, Texas to help with disaster relief following a severe tornado.  This event brought John to the love of his life, Judy Sanders, whom he asked to marry after mere months of dating.  He had volunteered to return to Vietnam with the Red Cross so his time in the United States was limited.  His marriage proposal was a promise of his unwavering love.  This is an illustration of John's devotion to the United States and to advocating for the rights and personal freedoms for all people.  John returned and married Judy on December 4, 1971. John earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Texas Tech University and celebrated the birth of his child, Kelly Ann, in December 1973. 

Most of John's professional career was as the Administrator of Hennepin County's Public Defenders Office.  John loved working with the attorneys and felt passionate that all people deserved legal representation.  He retired after a full career in 2005.  

John's greatest joys were his two grandkids, Samuel (16) and Sophia (19).  John wasn't just a grandparent; he was a father figure to these two.  Samuel has always called his Papa his "best friend".  John held them as babies, helped them with homework, taught them how to ride a bike and cheered for every goal scored and basket made.  He loved watching the kids grow and often talked about what fine individuals they have become.  It is because of his example.  He was exceptional. 

A celebration of John's life will be held on Monday, December 13 at 10am at Wayzata Community Church in the Chapel, 125 Wayzata Blvd East.  A private family burial will take place later that afternoon at Ft. Snelling.

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