Orville Dallas Sanderson was born February 27, 1924, in Jackson, MN, to Howard and Ella (Mason) Sanderson. During his elementary years, he attended a one room school house near Jackson. He graduated from Jackson High School in 1942.
For six years after high school, Orville worked on the family farm. During this time he became involved in his local church's Luther League youth organization and felt a calling into the Christian Ministry. He enrolled at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and graduated magna cum laude in 1951. At Concordia he met his future wife, Carrol Olson, of Souris, ND. They were married on August 8, 1951, in a double ceremony with Carrol's sister.
Orville continued his studies at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Along with his seminary studies, he also completed a summer at Biblical Theological Seminary in New York, as well as clinical pastoral training at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis. Orville was ordained into the Christian ministry in 1954 at his home congregation, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Jackson, MN.
Orville's first parish was Fertile Lutheran Church and Pilot Knob Lutheran Church in Fertile, IA, where he served until 1957. He then served Trinity Lutheran Church, Ellsworth, IA, until 1965. Next, he served Bricelyn Lutheran Church, Bricelyn, MN, until 1972, followed by Immanuel Lutheran Church, Harlan, IA, until 1975. From 1975 to 1980, he pastored Holmes Lutheran Church and Samuel Lutheran Church, Eagle Grove, IA, and in 1980, he began his pastorate at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Story City, IA, until his retirement in 1988.
During his years in the parish ministry, Orville was a guest evangelist at several evangelistic community services around the country under the auspices of the Evangelism Department of the former American Lutheran Church. He also served on the board of directors of the World Mission Prayer League, Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, and Bethany Manor.
Orville did not stay retired for long. He came partially out of retirement to serve as visitation pastor at Bethesda Lutheran Church, Ames, IA, until shortly before his death. During this time, he also was guest preacher at many area churches.
Orville is survived by his wife, Carrol Sanderson, Ames, IA; a daugher, Ruth (Robert) Hoel, Rochester, MN; a son, Daniel (Naila) Sanderson, New Richmond, WI; a daughter, Miriam (Marty) Carlson, Westmont, IL; a daughter, Rachel (Dennis) Luther, Eau Claire, WI; thirteen grandchildren: Shani Luther, Talitha Sanderson, Rebecca Hoel, Kim (Zechariah) Lirones, Marika (Joseph) Brown, Elizabeth Hoel, Joel Sanderson, Marah Hoel, Morgan Luther, Marie Carlson, Zachary Luther, Matthew Carlson, and Vanessa Luther; one great grand daughter: Modesty Lirones; and several cousins.
Orville will be remembered for his great passion for ministry, especially preaching, visitation, and Bible study. He was especially known for his fabulous sermons, which were often peppered with anecdotes and poignant stories, and for his interesting children's illustrations. He was a humble man, always wanting to give glory to God and not himself.
Outside of his ministry activities, Orville enjoyed fishing, photography, painting, travel, and classical music. He took great pleasure in his family and had the privilege of baptizing all thirteen of his grandchildren.
His gentle and loving spirit was a comfort and inspiration to many, as he brought words of encouragement to hundreds and thousands of people throughout his life. Orville died on August 24, 2005, at Israel Hospice House in Ames, IA. He will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, memorial suggestions are Luther Seminary, Riverside Bible Camp, Bethesda Lutheran Church, and the World Mission Prayer League.