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Otto E. Gunderson


Posted By: Peter Gausmann (email)
Date: 1/25/2010 at 05:34:41


Otto E. Gunderson, assistant cashier and one of the directors of the Forest City National Bank, has in various ways been identified with public progress in this and other sections of Iowa, his efforts being especially helpful in the educational field. He was born at Kensett, Worth county, Iowa, February 25, 1875, a son of Edward and Olivia (Kalgaarden) Gunderson. The father went west with the gold seekers in the late '50s as far as Pike's Peak, but turned back and afterward was employed in connection with shipping on the Missouri river. He finally reached New Orleans, where he made his home for some time. In 1861, while residing in the Crescent City, he was drafted for service in the Confederate army, with which he was on active duty until the close of the war. He was wounded only once, sustaining a wound at the battle of Gettysburg. Later he returned to the north, becoming a resident of Worth county, Iowa, where both he and his wife are now residing. They have three sons living: Otto E., of this review; Carl O., county attorney of Worth county and a resident of Northwood; and Gilbert, who is operating the home farm.

Otto E. Gunderson acquired his early education in rural schools and afterward attended successively the high school at Northwood, Iowa, the St. Ansgar Seminary and the Northern Illinois Normal School at Dixon, Illinois. In early manhood he engaged in teaching in both Iowa and in North Dakota and for several years he was connected with commercial interests at Kensett and at Hanlontown, conducting a store in both places. In the spring of 1913 he removed from Northwood to Forest City, where he has since made his home, and is now well known in its financial circles as assistant cashier and one of the directors of the Forest City National Bank.

On the 19th of April, 1897, at Kenyon, Minnesota, Mr. Gunderson was married to Miss Gurine Finnesgaard, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. K. Finnesgaard, who were among the earliest settlers of Goodhue county, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Gunderson now have three children: Esther, seventeen years of age, who is a student in St. Olaf College at Northfield, Minnesota; Harvey and Maurice, aged respectively ten and six years.

The religious faith of the family is that of the Lutheran church and in his political views Mr. Gunderson is a republican. He has supported the party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise, and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. While living in Kensett lie served as town clerk in 1899 and 1900, and in 1904 was elected county superintendent of schools in Worth county, which position he continuously filled until 1913, making a most creditable record in the office by reason of the efficient work which he did in raising the standard of the schools and introducing methods of practical value. In 1915 he was chosen president of the board of trustees of the Forest City public library, and in 1916 was appointed a member of the city council, filling both of these positions at the present time. He is thoroughly public-spirited and progressive, and his cooperation in any movement constitutes an effective and valuable force in the attainment of desired results.

Source: History of Winnebago County and Hancock County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement, Vol. II. Pioneer Publishing Company (Chicago), 1917. pp. 523-524.


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