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Andersen, Eldon Thor  
Eldon Thor Andersen, 92, passed away on June 17, 2015. Eldon was born in Eugene in 1923 to Clara and Thorvald Andersen. During his youth, his family moved often, and Eldon lived in Junction City, Eugene, Portland, and Yakima. Eldon graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma. He was in his second year at Oregon State University when his education was cut short by WWII. Eldon joined United States Coast Guard. As crew member of the destroyer escort Howard D. Crow, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean 24 times escorting military convoys. He spoke often about his experiences in the Coast Guard, the most important part of which was meeting his wife Janet (Ehler) Andersen while at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. They were married on February 23, 1946, and enjoyed over 69 years of marriage. After the war, Eldon returned to Oregon, where he farmed 140 acres east of Junction City, off Dane Lane. He initially grew various fruits and vegetables, and ultimately was recognized as a pioneer in growing specialty seed crops, now a big part of local farming. In his retirement, he and Janet enjoyed traveling in their RV and to annual Coast Guard reunions. Eldon was active in the Harrisburg Museum, collected cast iron tractor seats, and enjoyed being creative with a junk metal pile and welder. He was an advocate of a strong handshake and of good old-fashioned arm wrestling. Extremely affable and kind-hearted, many was the time Eldon would be caught chatting with someone he just met as though they were old friends. For the past 9 years, he and Janet lived with friends old and new at the Junction City Retirement Center. In addition to his wife Janet, Eldon is survived by their daughters, Susan Sims and Christine Andersen; granddaughter, Diane Kono, and her husband, Kevin Kono; and two great-grandchildren, Benjamin and William Kono, all of whom will miss him dearly. Per his request, there will be no service. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harrisburg Area Museum at 490 Smith St., Harrisburg, OR 97446.
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Published in Eugene Register-Guard on July 1, 2015
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