Summer 2015
Summer 2015

Steven P. Gander, OD ’87
Steven P. Gander, OD ’87, is a man on the move. When he’s not working at Opticare in East Grand Forks, Minn., Gander can be found on a tractor, motorcycle, even on foot in a marathon. He has completed almost 30 races, and dreams of crossing the finish line in every state. Gander believes in trying new things and pursuing adventure, no matter one’s age. Whatever the mode of transportation, his family is often along for the ride. Here are some of Dr. Gander’s most treasured experiences:

Back to Nature

We have a little farm up north where we can scratch the dirt and swat mosquitoes. When you visit our farm, it seems like you are going back 50 or 60 years, and that’s how we like it. We have electric lights and heat, but no plumbing. Our machinery is random stuff we’ve picked up, mostly Massey Ferguson, and mostly built in the 60’s, but it does the job. After a day of cultivating or mowing we can relax on the front porch and sip box wine from paper cups. How do you beat that?


“Love and serve, God and people.” This is what gets me out of bed in the morning, and keeps me focused through the day.

Going Hog Wild

I grew up riding motorcycles on the trails behind my folks’ house. In recent years, I have tried riding on the streets. It feels like a foreign land with all the cars, trucks, and trains. I’m getting used to it.
My wife and I like to try new things. One of our plans is a trip on the bike to the West Coast and back after we retire. My current bike is a Yamaha. The plan is for the cross-country ride to be on a Harley.

The Sea and the Sky

This summer, my sons and I plan to become certified for skydiving and each do one solo jump. Then, we plan to retire from that sport. Also this summer, we plan to become scuba certified, and a year from now, dive the Japanese shipwrecks in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia in the Central Pacific. My dad participated in the American effort there in World War II.

The Truth of the Matter

One of my business partners taught me this one. He was on the phone with one of our tenants, telling her that her rent had not been paid, when it had; it was our mistake. I asked him what he thought we should tell her. He covered the phone and said, “We can tell her anything we want, as long as it’s the truth.” Afterwards, he let me know that he is “too dumb to lie.” If he lies, he has to try to remember what he says. When he tells the truth, he can just say it and forget about it. What a great way to live.


Adventure Time

I have had the opportunity to chaperone three trips with my sons to Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico. There, you take off hiking for about 2 weeks with about 60lb packs. There is no technology on the trip, but that’s OK… nature is full of surprises. Last year, we accidentally got right up close to a rattlesnake, and we saw mountain lion and bear.

Runner’s High

I started running marathons in 1992 in, of all places, Chicago. Since then, I’ve run another 27 or so… If everything holds up, maybe I’ll end up running one in every state.

Perhaps the most memorable marathon I’ve run was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2002. It runs around many of the national monuments, and takes you around Arlington National Cemetery near the finish. What an awesome place! When we left home for the marathon, the Beltway Sniper had not been caught, but we decided to run it anyway. We decided that if we cancelled our participation in the marathon, he’d win; we weren’t willing to give him that. Just after we arrived in DC, they caught the ones responsible, and we got to run the marathon in safety.

Reel Big Fish

We like to fish, and Lake of the Woods on the US-Canada border is one of our favorite spots. We mostly fish for walleye, but always seem to tie into some northern pike, some perch, and even a sturgeon here and there. This year, the biggest walleye we have caught is 30” or about 10 pounds.


  • Reply July 8, 2015


    Dr. Gander is an amazing doctor and friend. I was blessed to have worked for him for 21 years and he taught me a lot about life and Optometry!!! Great article Dr Gander ❤️

  • Reply July 9, 2015


    I enjoyed working for Dr Gander at Opticare and getting to know him as well as his wife Ros. If a person would stand back and watch his life they will learn he leads by example. How fun to read about all the interests outside of serving his patients. I too learned much from Dr. Gander about the eye care field and I learned equally as much about the goodness in life and in people.

  • Reply July 14, 2015

    Dr Nick Colatrella

    Dr Gander is an amazing colleague and friend. He not only provides exceptional eyecare, but he gives his time and devotes numerous hours back to our profession. Great job Steve. Glad to have you as a mentor.

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