John Gordon Stranlund, farmer, pilot, sailor and adventurer, died peacefully on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2018, following a lengthy illness. He was 93.
John is survived by his sister Virginia Johnson of La Cresenta, Calif.; his children, Kristin Fredrickson (Kurt) of Simi Valley, Calif., Katherine Muhlenbruch (Jim) of Austin, Texas, John K. Stranlund (Laura) of Amhurst, Mass., and Jeff Stranlund (Cecilia) of Los Osos, Calif.; his grandchildren, Lindsay Sturgeon (Chris) of Lafayette, Colo., and Daniel Fredrickson (Malia) of Boulder, Colo.; and four great-grandchildren, Nora, Cole, Quinn and Evan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Sigrid Stranlund, daughter Korin Rebecca Stranlund and son John Gordon Stranlund Jr.
John, known as “Buddy” to his family, was born on May 5, 1925 in Brawley, Calif. His parents were Swedish immigrants who settled in Brawley to start a family and become active members of this growing community.
John graduated high school from Brown Military Academy in Pacific Beach, Calif.. As a first generation American, John was brought up with a strong commitment to his parent’s adopted country, and he joined the Navy after high school. He always wanted to fly so he applied and was accepted for flight training. John remained in the Navy Reserves after WWII and returned to service as an elite night fighter pilot during the Korean War.
John returned to Brawley, where he had a long career as a rancher and farmer and, ultimately, in agricultural banking. John and his wife Terry provided their children a childhood full of dune buggy rides in the desert, fishing and boating, hunting, 4-H, water and snow skiing, motorcycles, horses, summers in San Diego, camping and flights in the family plane. His children will forever be grateful for growing up in wide open spaces, for summer evenings learning to swim in canals and putting on plays in the backyard, for the blessing of family and the value of community.
In his retirement, John developed and pursued a passion for sailing. He spent most summers sailing and boating in the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska. He fell in love with the beauty of Widbey Island and eventually relocated to Oak Harbor. He believed he was in “God’s Country,” where he could go crabbing, fishing, clamming, sailing and boating to his heart’s content. John’s ties to this community lasted long after he returned to California. John relocated to Santa Barbara and spent his final years being loved and cared for by family and friends.
John Gordon Stranlund was laid to rest together with his son John Gordon Stranlund Jr. on Jan. 19, 2019, at Riverview Cemetery in Brawley, Calif.
He will be remembered as a father, grandfather, great-grandfather and patriot.