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Robert L. Pederson

Robert L. Pederson, 95, of Ashland, Ore. passed away March 1, 2016. He was born in 1921 to Ben and Mary Pederson in Ashland. He resided there all his life except the for the years he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

After graduating from Ashland High School in 1940, he was the night manager for the Lithia Springs Hotel in Ashland (later Mark Antony, and now, Ashland Springs Hotel). Later that year Robert went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Ashland where his dad, Ben, had worked since 1918. He also had other family members who worked for the S.P. He started in the warehouse and after returning from WWII, he was able to get a job in the office. Robert worked for the S.P. for 40 years retiring in 1980 as the agent/telegrapher also known as a station master in charge of the office operations and facilities, in addition to taking train orders from the dispatcher for the train crews. He also sold passenger tickets and held the position of cashier for 18 years, in addition to other positions. He often spoke of how much he enjoyed working for the railroad. In addition to working at the railroad full time, he also was the newspaper distributor for the San Francisco Chronicle and at times, the San Francisco Examiner, as well as bookkeeping for at least three businesses in town.

He entered into active military service in 1942, attached to CO. A, 334TH Engineers, Special Service Regiment. He was overseas for over three years, first being sent to Iran to build a road to Russia to supply the Russians with the supplies they needed to fight the Germans on the Eastern Front including the Battle of Stalingrad. After the road was built, he worked in one of the warehouses there. While there he was part of the Persian Gulf Command. In Iran, his left wrist was crushed and shattered in a jeep accident and was to be amputated but was able to be saved. He was shipped to France just before the Battle of the Bulge. He was in the Central European Campaign as well as the Rhineland Campaign and while not part of the Combat Engineers, he did see action. After fighting ceased, he was in charge of a U.S. military warehouse in Le Havre, France while waiting for a ship home. He mustered in and out of the Army at Ft. Lewis in Washington. He earned several medals and battle ribbons and was also awarded a medal from the former Soviet Union (Russians) for his help in Iran.

After returning from the war he married Helen in 1949 and they had one child, Gary. They were married 29 years.

At the age of 13 he became interested in radio and was helped by his uncle building radio receivers and continued his involvement in radio throughout his life. He also enjoyed flying, starting about the same age, helping John B. Henry of Lincoln with his airplane, and obtained his pilot license in the 1960s. He also enjoyed hunting; fishing; hiking; downhill and cross-country skiing; tennis; bowling; volleyball; watching football; and Formula One Grand Prix racing. He especially enjoyed working outside in the yard and on the house. He started working the soil when he was five years old on the three-acre farm the family had in Ashland, and continued until he was 94 years old. Two of his favorite activities were having coffee at the Oak Tree restaurant in Ashland since they opened and shopping at Albertsons in his later years.

He is survived by his son, Gary of Ashland; his sister, Dorthy Hedin of Kalispell, Mont.; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, and sister, Lucille McKeen.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, March 7, 2016 at the Chapel of Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home, 1811 Ashland St., Ashland, Ore. Pastor Dwayne Robinson of the First Baptist Church of Ashland will be officiating.