PEDERSEN - John A. (May 20, 1931 - Feb. 19, 2013) John Pedersen, a Korean War veteran, Buffalo court reporter, and book character, died on Feb. 19th at his home in Truth or Consequences, NM, of heart failure, at the age of 81. John Anders Pedersen was born in Manhattan, NY, the only child of Danish immigrants Betty Nora Pedersen (ne;e Andersen) and Peder Hjalmar Ingerman Pedersen. Inducted into the Army in 1952, John served 18 months on the front lines during the Korean War and was awarded three bronze stars. In 1956 he moved to Buffalo, NY, to work as a court reporter in the Department of Labor and Family Court, followed by 25 years in the Supreme Court, retiring in 1985. As a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst he served on various committees, taught Sunday school, sang in the choir and published a newspaper. John delighted both children and adults with his talent for magic, filmmaking and folk singing, accompanying himself on the guitar. In 1984 John married local artist Betty Ann Barish and in 1989 they moved to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where they lived happily for 20 years, and where John was known for his wry sense of humor, iconic wardrobe, and described by townsfolk as "A real character." John was unfailingly kind and generous, always picked up hitchhikers, and never crossed a picket line. When asked how he was doing, John could be counted on to reply, "I got up this morning." Regarding his health regimen, which involved outsized daily doses of cigarettes, coffee, Corona, chips and cashews, a comment by Mark Twain is fitting-"I have achieved my 70 years in the usual way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else." John featured prominently in Buffalo Gal, a memoir by his daughter, and also Buffalo Unbound. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and hitchhikers. Betty Ann, his wife of 24 years, passed away on January 22, 2009. John is survived by a daughter, Laura Pedersen, from his first marriage to Ellen Pedersen, along with stepdaughters Linda Hohag, Cathleen Barish, Amy Wessels, Ruth Ann Greenblat, Beth Barish and Laura Vincent, 8 step- grandchildren and a great-grandchild. A step grandchild, Holly Barish, died in 2012.
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Published in the Buffalo News on Mar. 10, 2013