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Gordon Dennis Sawser

January 14, 1946 - November 10, 2020


Gordon Dennis Sawser, 74, of Salem, Oregon, died Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at Salem Hospital.  A celebration of life will be held later next year due to pandemic restrictions.  Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
 
Gordon was born in Burns, Oregon on January 14, 1946 to Gordon Delmar and Alyce Nelsina Sawser.  His early years were spent in Hines, Oregon.  Gordon spent his youth hunting, fishing, and learning to work with his hands under the tutelage of his grandfather, Tony Oas.  At the age of 12, Gordon began working at a cattle ranch with fellow ranch hands that still wore sidearm pistols.  Through adolescence, he would work in construction, at the local sawmill, and spend one summer fishing in Alaska.
 
After graduating from Burns High School, Gordon enrolled at Southern Oregon College and completed two years before volunteering to join the Army.  After becoming a Lieutenant in the Army Engineers, Gordon completed jump school and joined the 18th Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  He would eventually complete 67 jumps and graduate form Jungle School in Panama.  Gordon joined the 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam in 1968.
 
Gordon served as a Platoon Leader and Company Commander while in Vietnam.  His engineers cleared combat trails, erected defensive positions, and fought as infantry during numerous engagements.  On St. Patrick’s Day 1969, Gordon was critically wounded during combat operations.  After spending four weeks in a hospital in Vietnam, he was evacuated to Japan for further treatment and recovery.  Gordon never fully recovered from his wounds, carrying metal from shrapnel inside his body for the rest of his life.
 
Upon returning to the United States, Gordon married Judy on June 28, 1969.  The newlyweds would briefly live in Tacoma, Washington before moving to Medford, Oregon where Gordon finished his degree at Southern Oregon College.  Feeling the need for a little adventure, the couple spent one year in American Samoa teaching at the Community College of American Samoa.
 
Settling back in Oregon after time abroad, Gordon worked for several companies as an accountant; most notably May Trucking and Ross Bros. Construction.
 
In spite of working long hours, Gordon enjoyed being active in his sons’ lives.  He volunteered to serve the Boy Scouts, attended all of their sporting events, and taught them survival skills in the woods.  Gordon took great pride in watching both of his sons graduate from US military academies.
 
In addition to volunteering for the Boy Scouts, Gordon served on the Board of Directors for MAPS Credit Union for over 25 years.  Spanning four decades, he volunteered countless hours serving the First Presbyterian Church and its congregation.
 
After retirement, Gordon travelled the world with Judy.  When not travelling across the United States in his RV, Gordon enjoyed visiting his sons’ families as they moved regularly in military service.  Gordon loved being a grandpa.
 
Gordon was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Delores Adams; and brother-in-law, Tom Madarieta.
 
He is survived by his wife, Judy of Salem; sister and brother-in-law, Valerie and Dr. Richard James of Jacksonville, Oregon; sister Renee Madarieta of Newberg, Oregon; son and daughter-in-law, Lt Col Derek and Mary Anne Sawser of Las Vegas, Nevada; son and daughter-in-law, Lt Col Brian and Susanne Sawser of Stuttgart, Germany; four granddaughters; one grandson; and many nieces and nephews.
 
Memorial contributions may be given to Salem Elks Lodge #336, woundedwarriorproject.org, or to the charity of one’s choice.

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So sorry for your loss, Brian and family! Thoughts and prayers are with you all!



So sorry for your loss we will be praying for the family.
LaVerne and Carrole Rude



We are so sorry for your loss.  I regret we never got to meet Gordon, he was a truly exceptional man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.  Prayers for your family.
David and Clydell Lamkin



Hilde and I have lost a very dear friend but we shall always cherish the good times we had with him and Judy.



Gordy was always a wonderful person to be around. He always had a smile and a joke. . Thinking of the family. Love Susie griffin



We are so saddened to hear of Gordon’s passing. We will greatly miss listening to his stories, laughing at his jokes, and enjoying his friendship.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
 



Our sympathy to Gordon's family. May your memories serve you well.



You will be long in our memory just as you were long in our lives!  
Thank you for giving your utmost to your country, family, and everyone in your circle.

Rest In Peace, Gordon.

Jennifer & Roger 



Dear Judy and family, I am so sorry for your loss So glad you have family and friends around you to lend you support.  Take care and may God Bless you all. Love to you, 



 

  • Ryan Senkbile
    Prayers to you and your family Brian. 
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  • Ryan Vogt
    Sorry to read about your loss. I remember him being at all your games. You could tell he was a proud father. Prayers for you and your family.
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  • Katie Bellock Richards
    Brian- huge hugs to you, Derek and Judy. I also remember your Dad at every sporting event - which was a lot between you and your brother. He was always so proud of his family. We are thinking of you all!!
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  • Sarah Lake
    Brian I am so sorry. I know we only met a few times but I truly enjoyed talking to him and hearing his stories. Hugs to you and the family. 
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  • Sarah Fulkerson
    Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear this, Brian! He was such a great guy...I’ll always remember his smile (which is much like yours).
     
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  • Aaron M Hotard
    Brian, sorry to hear about your loss
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  • Tim Rustad
    Sorry to hear this Brian, Your family will be in our prayers.
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  • Beth Blumenschein Midberry
    You have been on our minds nonstop this week. Sending you so much love!
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  • Lisa Trahan Hiltz
    I’m so sorry, Brian. Prayers to you and all of your family.
     
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  • Steven Johnson
    Sorry to hear this Brian. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. 
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  • Renee Wold-Meier
    I am so sorry for you loss! Your father was an amazing man! He was always smiling and and so kind! 
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  • Scott Bronikowski
    Sorry for your loss
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  • Stephanie Secosky Markich
    So sorry for your loss Brian. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers
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  • Chris Midberry
    Brian, I am so sorry for your loss. We have been thinking about you all week. 
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  • Tiffany Adele
    Sorry for your loss
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  • Karen Callahan
    I’m so sorry Brian. Thinking of you right now. What a great tribute to your father! Such an impressive life!
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  • Samantha Bullis Siggins
    So sorry for your loss Brian.
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  • Heather Lacroix
    Sorry for your loss. 
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  • Kelly Lowe Mincemoyer
    I’m so sorry. He was a great man. 
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  • Morgan Smith
    I'm so sorry for your loss.
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  • Nolan Warkentin
    Sorry for your loss 
    Brian David Sawser
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  • Jeanna Hendrickson
    Our deepest sympathies! Praying for your family.
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  • Robert Garner
    Man I’m so sorry Brian. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. 
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  • Shawn McGinley
    Sorry to hear about your dad Brian.
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  • Kwenton Kuhlman
    Sorry for your loss. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.
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  • Scott Bell
    Sorry for your loss Brian
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  • Ryan Kendall
    Very sorry to hear this Brian. Our thoughts are with you, Susanne, and the kids. 
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  • Becky Rude
    Indeed, a truly remarkable man. I have such admiration and fondness for him and always loved his warmth and humor. He’s my favorite and will be missed greatly. My heart goes out to you and Derek for the loss of your Dad - he was such a good man and you… 

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  • Richard Espaillat
    Sorry for your loss, Sir. Molly, Henry, and I send our love. 
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  • Basia Jozwik Kent
    We are so sorry for your loss Brian. 
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  • Shelly O'Neill Stoneman
    Brian
    , we are so deeply sorry for your loss. Your dad was an incredible guy and someone we considered to be our own extended family. The Stonemans all send our love, support, healing, and sympathy at this tough time for you and your whole family.  
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  • Monica Miranda
    Condolences. Prayers for your family to find comfort in this difficult time. May peace find a way to be with you all. 
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So sorry to learn of Gordens passing.Thinking of you in you in your loss Judy.



Karen and I will miss Gordon and his always smiling face. A true friend. Condolences and best wishes to family.



We're sorry to hear about Gordon. We will miss his smile and sense of humor. God be with you Judy and your family.



Darrell Wing and Doris Wing



Gordon, or as his family affectionately called him, Dennis, was an extremely affable, disciplined,  and generous person with a great sense of humor,  keeping in close contact with his sisters and family members,  always looking out for others and constantly volunteering to assist anyone in any way he was able. Despite long years of chronic pain from serious combat related wounds he was always upbeat, never complaining of his own physical maladies, sometimes to a fault,  and I am very proud to have had him as a brother-in-law. 
Richard E “Jim” James.



Dear, funny, Gordon, how I will miss you. You where the first name I learned at RV club. Henry and I have so enjoyed RVing and spending, what I now know to be, too little time with you and Judy. I hope you saved some Pearly Gates jokes for up there. We will miss that shiny head and the sound of your voice.



Judy....I'm so sorry to read of Gordon passing away. I lost my partner last Dec. 15..it is a tough time. I think about you often and remember lots of laughs with you and Gordon. Take care and please pass my sympathies to your boys.



We’re so sorry for Gordon’s passing and will very much miss his always friendly and uplifting neighborly “back fence” conversations.



Gordon is one of the best people I have ever met.  He had uncommon kindness and grace, and he was grateful to be around others in his life.  I remember him most for how he lit up a room with his smile and his laugh.  He had solid common sense, he carried himself in a balanced way and he cared about the story in people's lives.  My family sends their love and prayers to the Sawsers. 



Ray Cunningham



Our family is so sorry for the loss of Gordon.  He was a kind man.  My family has many good memories with him. 
Trudy Hawk and family.