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Lando Friesen

March 7, 1934 - August 20, 2019


Lando  FriesenLando was born in Meade, Kansas to John A. Friesen and Elizabeth Classen Friesen, the fourth of nine children.  At age 8, they moved to the Dallas, Oregon area.  He graduated from Dallas High School in 1952 and joined the U.S. Coast Guard soon afterwards, serving part of his two years on a buoy tender in Alaska.  He then returned to Dallas to work at Caterpillar/Towmotor Corporation. In 1954, he married Ruby Martens; they had three sons – Terry, Todd and Trent.  Lando was proud of his sons’ accomplishments.
 
After several years at Towmotor, Lando enrolled at Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Education.  He taught math at Dallas High School for five years, which he considered the most rewarding of his 27 years in teaching.  During that time, he earned his Master’s Degree at OSU in Corvallis.  He transferred to the Salem School district, where he taught at several high schools, ending at McKay. 
 
In 1979, Lando and Ruby were divorced and he moved to Salem, where he lived until his death.
 
In the late 1960s, Lando began climbing mountains with the Chemeketans.  During the subsequent 25-plus years, he stood on a summit 96 times (and kept a list) throughout the Pacific Northwest, Wyoming, Canada and California.  He served as a leader at Chemeketan climb school and on club climbs.  He enjoyed the challenges and camaraderie, making life-long friends.  In 1983, he met Mary Schmidgall through climbing, and they were married in 1986.  They climbed together for 12 years.
 
In 1992, Lando’s knees prompted him to switch to bicycling.  He and Mary biked thousands of miles each year on tours and with friends – across Oregon, Idaho and Washington numerous times, the Big Island, Utah’s red rock country, down the Pacific coast and in Italy, South Africa, and four times in Australia, making friends along the way and seeing many special places.  During 10 winters in Tucson, they explored that area by bike.  One of Lando’s proudest biking achievements was riding up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson on his 75th birthday - 52 miles round trip with 6,600 feet of elevation gain.  He and Mary also traveled to numerous parts of the U.S. and to Canada, China, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, the U.K. and New Zealand.  Lando also visited Iceland and Greenland.  Each trip was memorable, whether by bike, car or ship.
 
Lando was an excellent craftsman, making numerous pieces of fine furniture for his home.  He made many stained glass pieces, always with meticulous finish work.  During his teaching summers, he painted many homes and at least one church, taking great pride in his work.
 
In 2016, health issues made Lando give up his beloved biking.  He read hundreds of books (and kept lists), did crossword puzzles and Sudoku, spent time with friends, and kept his yard and neighborhood lane tidy.
 
Lando passed away at home on August 20, 2019, leaving his beloved wife, Mary, his sons, Todd and Trent, grandchildren Samantha and Ben, and siblings Zelma, Harlan, Amanda and Duane as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his son Terry (2010), parents John and Lizzie, and siblings Harold, Lavina, Mariellen and Dennis.
 
Family and friends will remember Lando’s wit and sense of humor, his wonderful voice, unflinching honesty, attention to detail and clean cars.
 
Remembrance services will be held Wednesday, August 28 at 5:00 p.m. at Pringle Hall, 606 Church St. SE.  Family and friends are encouraged to bring stories to share and partake of comfort food afterwards, per Lando’s wishes.
 
Contributions may be made to Doctors Without Borders or Habitat for Humanity.

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