Dave Pedersen’s Turning 90!
HARLAN – Happy birthday to Dave Pedersen, who turns 90 this week!
Hitting this milestone gives the former long-time pharmacist, community volunteer, Creighton ball player, husband, father, and grandfather a little time to reminisce and reflect on his nine decades. And his advice?
“Be honest and truthful,” he says.
And for his younger self?
“Go for what you want, what you dream about. Don’t pass up opportunities,” he says. “Never admit you know it all.”
The Harlan community knows Pedersen well. Originally from Omaha and a second-generation pharmacist, Pedersen sold Westgate Drug in Omaha, now Kohl’s Drug, and leased Gibson Pharmacy in Harlan back in 1972. It eventually became Pamida Pharmacy, and then in 1995, Dave’s Pharmacy and Wellness Store.
In 2005 he sold the pharmacy to Hy-Vee and continued working there as a compounder pharmacist, and even today doesn’t really consider himself retired.
He loves Harlan and volunteering. “Harlan has always been a great community with great people and friends who support each other,” he said.
Pedersen spent 10 years on the Harlan City Council from 2008-18, and is a past president of the Harlan Community Schools Board of Education, a board he served for eight years as well. He’s a founding member of Harlan Outreach Ministries, which opened the former Mustard Seed Christian bookstore many may remember in downtown Harlan.
He has been involved with the Harlan Optimist Club, Harlan Kiwanis, and Habitat for Humanity; was named a Friend of Education by the Harlan Education Association; was co-founder of the Helping Hands program which provided clothes for students in need; was the popcorn maker for HCS athletics, was a first responder, Sunday school teacher, board member for Iowa Pharmacy and Open Door Mission, Omaha; donut buyer for First Baptist Church, and president of the Omaha Pharmacy Association, to name just a few.
He was named Shelby County Chamber Citizen of the Year in 2002.
These days, Pedersen is a resident at Elm Crest Assisted Living, confined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the coronavirus, he relished going to the lake and fishing with his son, Phil, and enjoyed coffee and dinners with friends.
On turning 90?
“I can’t believe it, but nobody believes it either,” he jokes.
The secret to his long life? “Being bionic,” he says. “I have a lot of replacement parts – knees, hips, shoulders.”
And getting vaccinated. Without vaccines, he says he may have contracted smallpox or polio. “I had COVID, but didn’t have symptoms. I’m thankful to have both of my COVID vaccines,” he says.
When the pandemic is over, Pedersen said he’d like to spend more time with family and friends, going to ball games, church activities and to Okoboji with his children.
Pedersen is a graduate of Benson High School in Omaha and Creighton University School of Pharmacy in 1954. What residents here may not know about him is that he initially enrolled at the University of Nebraska for a year and played baseball on scholarship.
His father got sick, so he wanted to come home and help. “Creighton contacted me and gave me a scholarship for baseball and basketball,” he said. “I played against Bob Gibson. Gibson was a long-time, leading scorer in basketball.”
Pedersen also won the intramural championship for football at Creighton, and played ball with his brother at the university. He was drafted for baseball by the Cardinals, was about to get on the bus for training camp, but his father stopped him and told him to finish school.
“After college, I played for Minden and was a hired pitcher,” he said. “I hit a home run off of Leo Goeser (Leo’s Barbershop)”
Celebrating Pedersen’s 90th milestone are his family: son Phil (Julie) Pedersen, and grandchildren Josh and Courtney with great-grandsons Jude, Henry and Baker, and granddaughter Danielle and Angie Wood, and great-grandsons Oliver and Finnegan; and daughters Amy (Steve) Keast and granddaughters Madison and Ellen, and Andi (Chris) Jordan and grandchildren Meghan, Rachel, and Matthew; and nephew Brian (Theresa) and niece and nephew Stephanie and Christopher, of Houston, TX.
Dave’s brother, Donald, died recently in March 2020 at 88 years old.
Pedersen was married to Patricia Kemen for 50 years (1939-2011).
Wish Dave a happy birthday by sending cards to 2014 12th St. #158, Harlan, Iowa 51537.
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