Russell Allen Gerdin, 70, passed peacefully with family at his side on Oct. 14, 2011, at his home in North Liberty after years of battling health issues.
Russ was born on Sept. 4, 1941, son of Wilford and Adah (Pike) Gerdin in Princeton, Minn. He attended elementary and high school in Princeton and entered the U.S. Coast Guard upon graduating. He later attended Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minn., and graduated with a business degree in 1965.
On July 29, 1967, Russ and Ann Mikkelsen were married. Soon after, Russ and Wilford bought a truck line in Holdrege, Neb. A short time later, they sold that company and Russ bought Revell Transportation in Shenandoah. Russ renamed that company Heartland Express. After several years, Russ sold that company and bought Scott Transportation in Swisher in 1978. He also named that company Heartland Express and it became the company we know today.
Russ was a major contributor to the University of Iowa and Iowa State Universities. However, his most rewarding contribution has been an ongoing Educational Trust Fund that was set up to educate the children of Heartland Express. To date, over 300 children have been a part of this program. Russ and Ann also contributed to the Russell and Ann Gerdin American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Iowa City, the Gerdin Business Building at Iowa State University, the Gerdin Athletic Learning Center at the University of Iowa and the Gerdin Wellness Center at Moorhead State University.
Russ is survived by his wife, Ann; their three children and their spouses: Michael and Nicole (Fountas) Gerdin, Eric and Julie (Gerdin) Durr and Brian and Angela (Gerdin) Janssen; and 10 grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Thomas and Kay (Gerdin) Hudson of Wolfeboro, N.H. and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.
May the winds of love blow softly
And whisper so you’ll hear,
We will always love and miss you
And wish that you were here.
We hold you tightly in our hearts
And there you will remain,
Life will go on without you
But will never be the same.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Oct. 19, at First United Methodist Church in Iowa City. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery in Solon. Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service in Iowa City handled the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Russell and Ann Gerdin American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, 750 Hawkins Dr., Iowa City, IA 52246 or to Iowa City Hospice, 1025 Wade St., Iowa City, IA 52240. Online condolences may be directed to www.lensingfuneral.com