BOZEMAN — Mervin Gunderson passed away at 3 a.m. Saturday, April 1, 2018. in his home just outside of Bozeman. Mervin Gary Gunderson was born on Dec. 16, 1947, to Martin Tilfred Gunderson and Muriel Anne (Wells) Gunderson, in Malta. They moved to Great Falls, where Merv attended C.M. Russel high school and was in the first graduating class of the school. Merv attended a year at Great Falls Community College, where he met Patricia Jane Patterson. They were married on Aug. 3, 1968. He was drafted into the United States Army and served in Korea as a crew chief “SP5” on the Bell UH-1B and the UH-1D (Huey) helicopter. After his service, Mervin attended Montana State University and received a Bachelors in Sociology with a Police Science option. He then spent the next 30 years working for the Montana State University police department, and finally retiring as a Lieutenant.
Mervin and Patty moved to Belgrade in 1979. Mervin donated much of his time to improving his community. Mervin coached little league baseball, and umpired little league, as well as Legion baseball, and girls’ softball. Mervin was involved with the Youth bowling program (YABA) as a coach and was also the President of the state YABA program. Mervin loved to bowl and helped run the Men’s State Tournament multiple times in Bozeman, and around the state. Merv was also President of the Bozeman Bowling Association, and President of the Montana State Bowling Association. He is in the Montana State Hall of Fame for both YABA and Montana State Bowling Association. Mervin was an avid fisherman and enjoyed going camping with his family and friends on the weekends.
Mervin joined the American Legion in 1993, and helped to resurrect Belgrade Post 30, also aiding in the creation of the Belgrade Bandits Baseball program. Merv became very involved with the American Legion over the next 24 years, becoming the Belgrade Commander of Post 30, and State of Montana Vice Commander as well as Montana Commander. He was also awarded multiple national level appointments: National Executive Committeeman, and National Vice Commander. Mervin was very proud of his work in the American Legion and was on track to becoming the National Commander. Mervin was on numerous committees to help deal with, and helped to fix, many of the issues that veterans were facing in the VA system. He was very proud of the work he did and was currently doing with Senator Jon Tester.
Mervin was a truly an amazing man who always had a smile on his face. He would help anyone who needed it without hesitation. He was a highly respected police officer and a pillar of his community. He was a strong advocate for veterans’ health and veterans’ rights. Everyone knew him, and everyone loved him. He was the true embodiment of what it means to be a public servant. He loved his wife and his son very much, and he loved all his pets. He was very excited to tell people this year would be he and Patty’s 50th anniversary!
Mervin is survived by his wife Patty, and son Orin. His brothers Merle (Leanna) Gunderson, Marty Gunderson, and sisters Myrna (Lloyd) Moore and Myra Gunderson. He has numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Melvin.
A memorial service will be held for Mervin Gunderson on April 10, at 2 p.m., at the Dahl Funeral and Cremation Service Tribute Center in Bozeman. His final resting place will be at Fort Harrison in Helena.
Memorials may be made in Mervin’s name to the American Legion of Montana. (Memo line Mervin Gunderson) P.O. Box 6075, Helena, MT 59604.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com