Cover photo for Garold "Gary" Fornander's Obituary
Garold "Gary" Fornander Profile Photo
1946 Garold 2018

Garold "Gary" Fornander

March 13, 1946 — February 3, 2018


Garold “Gary” Fornander, 71 of Colorado Springs, Colorado and a Chappell native died Saturday evening, February 3, 2018 at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs.

            Funeral service will be held at 10:30 A.M., Friday, February 9, 2018 in the Berea Lutheran Church northeast of Chappell with Pastor Nancy Eckels and Sister Anne Hall officiating.  Burial will follow in the Berea Cemetery.

            In lieu of flowers memorials have been established to the Berea Lutheran Church.

            Visitation will be held from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Thursday at the Holechek Funeral Home in Chappell.

            Garold (Gary) Alan Fornander was born on March 13, 1946, in Oshkosh, Nebraska, to the late Neal Lennart Fornander and Marguerite Marjorie (Bjorklun) Fornander. He grew up with his parents and three brothers in a close, happy, loving family on a farm about eleven miles north of Chappell, Nebraska. He was deeply influenced by time-honored, rural community values: A love of and deep appreciation for the natural world, an appreciation for every living person, a deep respect for education and continuing personal growth, and a belief in the value of dedicating one’s life to bettering the community.

He graduated from Chappell High School in 1964, enrolled in Hastings College, where he completed a degree in Physics and certification for teaching in 1968. Later he completed his Master’s in Education at the University of Colorado. He accepted a position as a Physics teacher at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he began his professional career.  He then jumped at the opportunity to become an instructor in the Colorado Outward Bound program.  After training in Marble, CO, Gary became a COBS instructor and applied many of the outdoor skills he mastered to his work as a high school teacher.  He was a passionate rock climber, a white-water rafter, and mountaineer in the Rockies, sharing his love and skills with his students. 

He worked as an educator in Colorado Springs schools for 30 years.  In 1973, Gary and three other teachers, Ron Gager, Larry Haise and Nancy Kellogg, established the Senior Seminar program in Colorado Springs School District Eleven.   Senior Seminar offered experiential, interdisciplinary opportunities for high school seniors, enabling them to explore and engage in non-traditional educational settings.  The program pushed students to develop the skills to structure and evaluate learning experiences for themselves.  Gary and another teacher, Mark Buswell, continued the program for twenty-two years, having a dramatic impact on the lives of many, many students.

Garold met and fell in love with Lois Samuelson, another teacher in the Senior Seminar Program, in the early 1970's. They married in 1974, living and raising their family in Colorado Springs.

Garold never knew what to do with a candle except to burn it at both ends.  He successfully juggled many professional commitments as an educator with family responsibilities and community service activities.     He helped to develop an exchange program for high school students in both public and private schools, called the National Network of Complimentary Schools, linking schools that offered unique learning opportunities.  He was also a founding member of Common Cause (established in 1971), a non-partisan group dedicated to good government practices.  He served on the Executive Board for Colorado Common Cause for many years, along with innumerable other boards and committees over the years.

His friends and family will miss him desperately but are grateful for a rich lifetime full of wisdom, unconditional love and joie de vivre. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Lois, two daughters, Christina and Nancy Fornander, a son, John Fornander, two grandchildren, Alexis and Jordan Stampka (all living in Colorado Springs), as well as his brothers Kenneth and wife Sandra of Lincoln, Dale and wife Vicki of Chappell, and Neal Dennis and wife Lou of North Platte, Nebraska. Gary would always and generously set aside his many commitments when it came to the needs of a family member, including his adopted and extended family.

            Holechek Funeral Home and Cremations in Chappell is serving the Fornander family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Garold "Gary" Fornander, please visit our flower store.


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