Written by The Herald-News
Memorial services for Gordon Kampen will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. Pastor Mark Taylor will officiate at the service at Plentywood Lutheran Church; Gordon's son, Ty Kampen, will be urn bearer. Ushers will be Dennis Eide, Spencer Kanning, Ethan Moberg and Roger Nelson. The board members and their spouses, and staff members of the Dry Prairie Rural Water Authority are all regarded as honorary bearers. Following a luncheon at the church, interment of cremated remains will be in Rock Springs Cemetery, adjacent to the Kampen farm west of Reserve. Gordon died at Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Plentywood early Thursday morning, Nov. 21, 2013; he was 63.
Family was first and foremost for Gordy. He met his life’s mate, Myrna Sorensen a country gal from Antelope, Mont., and eight years later after a “whirlwind courtship” they married Nov. 29, 1986. It was a mixed marriage: Myrna, of a 100 percent Danish lineage, and Gordy, 100 percent Norwegian. Yet, they were a perfect match. They loved each other and they loved their farm life. After nearly 27 years of marriage they could finish each other’s sentences or convey a thought by merely a look.
Myrna’s med tech job took her away from home often so Gordy kept the home fires burning and the farm running. It was a farm he knew well. His grandfather had homesteaded it in the early 1900s and Gordy’s parents, Carl and Gudrun Kampen, had raised Gordy and his three siblings there. Gordy was born on Feb. 28, 1950, and joined his older sister Carol (the oldest and thus the “boss”). Later, two other sisters, Mary Anne (the middle child) and Jeannie (the baby) joined the Kampen team. Growing up on a farm in the ‘50s was idyllic. Lots of acres to explore and lots of neighbor kids nearby to share the adventures. Gordy attended a one-room rural school located a couple miles from home at Rock Springs. During those grade school years, deep lifelong friendships developed with his classmates, especially Andy Hansen and Russ Summers. When his good buddies weren’t available, he and sister Mary Anne were cohorts in a number of half-baked schemes, that albeit thrilling, lacked substantial “research and development” oversight. Gordy graduated from Medicine Lake high school and worked in Billings at a variety of jobs, before receiving his associate degree in agriculture from Utah State in 1978. Gordy had studied landscape architecture in college also, but realized that growing things was his true love.
Gordy’s dad began work at the Medicine Lake Refuge, so it seemed a natural progression that Gordy returned home to take over the farming in 1979. He was a good steward of the land and transitioned the farm from traditional durum and small grains production to include raising lentils, peas and chickpeas. To fill in the few idle winter hours, Gordy drove water and oil truck and also began a long process of remodeling the farm’s modest homestead into a home for Myrna and himself. The remodel project was kicked into high gear when they welcomed the arrival of daughter Erin in 1994, and again in 1997 with the addition of son Ty to complete their family.
Gordy was a lifelong Lutheran and served on church councils, Bible camp chairman and as a Sunday school teacher. He felt strongly about community service and spent time on FFA advisory boards, sang in community choirs, and also served as Sheridan County Commissioner. As commissioner in the 1990s, Gordy was instrumental in developing the Dry Prairie Rural Water Project, a massive plan to bring decent water to the rural areas in northeastern Montana. He was proud of the project and continued to serve on its board of directors the remainder of his life.
Gordy had a keen sense of humor and relished son Ty’s quick wit and impersonations. Gordy used his comedic acting skills in several of the Antelope Dinner Theatre productions. Music was always a big part of Gordy’s life and he added his singing voice to many community endeavors. Needless to say, he took great pleasure in daughter Erin’s musical gift. Gordy was a kind and honorable man who worked hard to make a good life for his beloved family.
He is survived by his wife, Myrna; daughter, Erin; and son, Ty, all of the family farm. Also surviving him are sisters Carol (Jim) Watson of Tacoma, Wash., Jeannie Kampen of Tacoma, Wash., and Mary Anne (Frank) Fowells of Plentywood, Mont.; sister-in-law, Pam Briggs and family; brother-in-law, Richard Sorensen and family; aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and the numerous and humorous Vik and Kampen cousins. Also near to his heart were his extended honorary family, Kayla and Terry Moltzan and their son, Jack, who bestowed the name of Gampa on Gordy.
Nov. 21, 2013, Gordy left this world and on Nov. 30 will be laid to rest at the Rock Springs Cemetery, overlooking the farm, family and home he loved so much. In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorials be given to Sheridan Memorial Hospice, the Sheridan Memorial Foundation or the American Cancer Society.
Fulkerson Funeral Home of Plentywood has charge of arrangements: Post remembrances, send cards and flowers online at www.fulkersonsplentywood.com.