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Carl Fredrick Sorensen April 27, 1922 ~ June 16, 2008
Carl Fredrick Sorensen passed away June 16, 2008, from complications of cancer. He was born April 27, 1922, the second child of Michael and Beatrice Sorensen. He grew up in the Meeker area on a homestead by the LO7 and then on the Martin ranch on Coal Creek. He married Jean Hall in 1948. They had just celebrated 60 years together. Carl had three children and a stepdaughter.
Carl wanted to join the military, but his father refused to sign the papers. When he signed up for the draft, he asked to be picked. He entered military service at the age of 20. He was drafted in September 1942. He bussed to Fort Logan in Denver. He was picked up by train and ended up in San Francisco at Angel Island. He was shipped to Pearl Harbor for basic military training. At Oahu, he was stationed at the Scoffield Barracks. He was there about a year after the bombings at Pearl Harbor. His company was the 2nd Battalion Headquarters Company of the 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th division. After basic training, he was shipped to Sidney, Australia, on a boat captured from the Germans during World War I. He had jungle training in Australia. When he was shipped to New Guinea he was in a supply company for communications and hauled wire. That’s were the U.S. started pushing back the Japanese. Their first assignment was to take Black Island which had a Japanese airport. While on maneuvers Carl jumped down in a lava rock hole and got an infection in his shins that required hospitalization. That was the only time he was in the hospital during his whole military career. After taking Black Island they were shipped back to New Guinea.
They were then shipped to the Philippines. They landed at Laydee. Carl remembers that when they landed, they drove the jeeps right under water up to the beaches. After Laydee, they were shipped to Mindanao, south of Manila, where the Japanese were buried in the mountains. He became a troop hauler and hauled men from place to place. While he was there, he “graduated” to a stretcher jeep. They fixed up a rack where he could carry four stretchers, two on the hood and two in the back. He carried 105 men in one day to the aid station. He had several bullets hit his jeep but he was never injured. They were just about to head for Japan when the war ended. He had more than enough points to come home since he had been there for 37 months. He returned in 1945.
Carl worked many jobs. He was a cowboy, sheepherder and a rancher. He was a building contractor. His last job was with the Rio Blanco County Road and Bridge department. He plowed and graded roads using his “Phat Alice,” a Fiat Allis maintainer. His route was from the bottom of Ripple Creek to the county line including Vaughn Lake and Dunckley Pass. He loved to see the animals (elk, deer, coyote, different birds and even a wolverine) and the changing seasons. He retired from the county on Aug. 31, 1991.
Carl served on the Meeker Sanitation District board for 25 years. He retired as a board member in 2000. He decided he didn’t want any commitments so he could do more camping and fishing.
Carl loved to hunt and fish. When he went fishing in the boat on Trapper’s Lake or Lake Avery, he would throw out his pop gear (metal discs on the fishing line with a baited hook on the end), light a cigarette and say, “Go get’ em you son of a gun.” He almost always caught a fish. Even after he stopped smoking, he would touch his pocket as if to get a cigarette and tell his line to “go get ‘em.”
Carl and Jean’s dad, Leslie Hall, built the home that they live in at 741 Fourth St. It took them about two years to finish with the two of them doing all of the work. It has under gone some dramatic changes with porches and a garage addition which Carl did himself.
Carl is survived by his wife, Jean, his two daughters, Kathy (Dan) Armour and Leslie Sorensen, stepdaughter Donna Morris and honorary son Wiley Berthelson. He is also survived by his three grandchildren, Jeannetta (Robert) Wadsworth (his favorite granddaughter), Rob (Kelly) Armour and James Morris and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister and his son, Allen Edward.
Graveside services were held Friday June 20, 2008 at the Highland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Walbridge Wing Activities Fund.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Krueger and the staff at the Walbridge Wing for helping to make Carl’s last weeks enjoyable.