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Gary Underland, 88, Medford

Gary Underland, 88, Medford, obituary

Gary Elmer Underland, 88, of Medford, died Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 at his home at Medford Senior Care.

He was born Feb. 25, 1934 in Owatonna, the son of Elmer and Alice (Gullickson) Underland. He attended a one room, country school through the eighth grade and then graduated from Ellendale High School.

On Aug. 11, 1957, he married Barbara Noble at First Methodist Church in Austin. They were blessed with two children through adoption, Joyce and Douglas.

Gary’s work life has revolved around aviation. He went to Oklahoma where he received his commercial pilot’s license. He completed a mechanic’s internship at the Owatonna Airport and received his airplane mechanic’s license. He worked for a while as a crop duster mostly around Steele County. His love of aviation allowed him to begin a friendship with Buzz Kaplan who ended up being Gary’s No. 1 customer for airplane mechanical work to be done. Gary and Buzz traveled to Italy, Alaska, all the provinces of Canada, enjoyed a Russian friendship flight and flew up the East Coast over the Arctic Ocean to Thule, Greenland. They rebuilt a plane here in Minnesota, took it apart and shipped it to Europe, reassembled it there and flew it around before dismantling it and bringing it back to Minnesota. He built two Sikorsky planes, one of which was featured in the movie, The Aviator. He was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame, recognizing him for his accomplishments in his aviation career and was a long-time member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He made his last solo flight Easter weekend in 2021.

Gary was devoted to his family and dearly loved his grandchildren and was proud of their accomplishments. He enjoyed vacations, especially to his daughter’s home in Pennsylvania. Fishing trips up to Babbitt were also a highlight. He was proud of his 1952 Mercury, two-door hardtop that he took his honeymoon in. Lastly, Gary was very fond of his Border Collie, Annie, whose remains will be laid to rest with him.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Underland of Medford; children, Douglas (Susan) Underland of Medford and Joyce (Kevin) Harriger of Brookville, Pa.; grandchildren, Jeremy (Trina) Harriger of Reynoldsville, Pa. and Kristen (Tommy) Knapp of Reynoldsville, Pa.; great-granddaughter, Stella Knapp; sister, Carol Roberts of Albert Lea; brother, Paul (Kathy) Underland of Owatonna and sister-in-law, Darlene Underland of Ellendale.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Alice; brothers, Aldeen (Ingrid) Underland and Richard Underland and brother-in-law, Laverne Roberts.

Visitation will be at Michaelson Funeral Home in Owatonna on Friday, Oct. 14 from 4-6 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10-11 a.m. A Memorial Service will be held Oct. 15, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Michaelson Funeral Home in Owatonna with Rev. Todd Buegler officiating. Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery in Clinton Falls Township.


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