In Memoriam

Mary Ernst

Mary Lou Ernst, 64, of Shakopee, passed away suddenly on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at Mayo St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, surrounded by her family.

Memorial Service will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 20 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belle Plaine. Rev. John Stelljes will officiate. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday at the Kolden Funeral Home in Belle Plaine and continue one hour prior to the service on Friday morning.

Mary was born in St. Peter on August 27, 1956, to Arvin and Shirley (Busta) Ernst. She attended Trinity Lutheran School and graduated from Belle Plaine High School in 1974. She received an accounting degree at Hutchinson Technical College, received an A.A. degree from Normandale College and a B.A. degree from Metro State University.

She worked for the State of Minnesota in the accounting department at Normandale C.C. for 34 years.

She enjoyed traveling, especially after her retirement. She spread her love in many ways through her volunteering and church activities. She lived life to the fullest doing the many activities she loved, including working at the Twins, biking, softball and golf.

God blessed us with an amazing woman who will be truly missed by all. Her memory will live on forever and she will be forever cherished.

She is survived by her parents, Arvin and Shirley; brothers, Paul (Vicki) and David (Sharon) Ernst; niece, Jennifer (Aaron) Pearson; and nephews, Joshua, Chad, Tony (Cruz), and Pastor Patrick (Kate) Ernst; as well as aunt, Shirley Reinke; and uncle, Mel (Karen) Busta; many other relatives and many friends. Mary is preceded in death by her grandparents, Elmer and Elsie Ernst and George and Mary Busta; as well as aunt, Betty McCurdy; and uncles, Eldon Reinke and Don Busta; and nephew, Jason Ernst.

The Foundation has re-named Mary's favorite scholarship in her honor. To make a gift to the Mary Ernst Memorial Staff Scholarship. please visit the Foundation giving page at https://bit.ly/3AMbQ6E. Mary worked tirelessly on behalf of Normandale students since her retirement, and her goal was to fully fund this scholarship. 

Judy Lacher

Lacher (Bartosh), Judith Ann Age 79, of Bloomington, formerly of Moorhead, died peacefully in her home June 25, 2021, of bile duct cancer. Preceded in death by husband, Robert. Survived by sister, Linda (Bernard) Kovach; daughters, Lori (Craig) Malvey and Lissa (Ryan) Starr; granddaughters, Jessie and Willa Malvey and many other relatives and friends.


Judy spent her career working in all levels of education as a Physical Education teacher, coach, and academic advisor in both the Twin Cities and Fargo/Moorhead areas. She was a Health & Physical Education Instructor at Normandale Community College. She was a true sports fan and attended many sporting events earning her the title amongst her family and friends of "Number One Fan".


At Judy's request there will be no memorial service, but in her honor, please consider making a donation to a youth sports team or arts program, or Safe Hands Animal Rescue.

David Docter

Docter, David Reinhardt Born on April 8, 1936, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dave grew up in Florida and California and studied at the University of California at Santa Barbara and at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctorate in music. In 1968, he helped found the Department of Music at Normandale Community College. There he directed the choral program, served as chairman of the department, taught various music courses and presented annual Madrigal dinners. In 1982 he founded the Normandale Chorale Society which continues today as the Bloomington Chorale. Dave married fellow music educator Rita Kanne in 1966. Together with their three children, they became passionate members of the Twin Cities classical music community.

In 1978 Dave received a grant through the American Scandinavian Foundation to study Danish Choral Music, which included a Fulbright Travel Grant. The family lived in Copenhagen while on sabbatical for 14 months and travelled around Europe in a VW camper van. This love of travel continued to propel Dave and Rita to beautiful locations including Hawaii, Crater Lake, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and the Rocky Mountains as baby sitters for their grandchildren. Since his retirement in 1996, Dave worked with various Bloomington organizations, including the Fine Arts Committee, the Bloomington Symphony, and the Sister City Committee. As President of the Young People's Symphony Concert Association, he was an honorary Board Member of the Minnesota Orchestra. He also undertook several archival projects for the orchestra. Dave enjoyed getting together with friends, reading, traveling, attending concerts, and appreciating the outdoors. Dave's curiosity and interests earned him many lifelong friends, who kept his spirits buoyed as he battled pancreatic cancer over the past year. His voice, which was strong until near his passing on May 15, reflected his passion for life.

He is survived by his wife Rita, children Peter (Amanda), Kirsten (Paul), Kari (Bruno) and six grandchildren. Services will be held in the fall. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the National Park Foundation, Met Orchestra Musicians Fund, Community of the Cross Lutheran Church, or consider participating in the virtual Pancreatic Cancer Walk for Research lustgarten.org/walk-for-research/

Beverly Horak

Beverly Ann Horak, 76, of White Bear Lake, MN died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on April 21 after a battle with cancer. Bev was preceded in death by her parents, Carlton and Lorraine Bergeron; and son, Jason Horak. She is survived by her loving husband of 54 years, Tom; her son, Jeff (Becky) Horak; daughter, Jill (Esau) Underhill; grandchildren, Scarlett, Noah, Sage, and Cassie; great grandchildren, Evelyn and Kennedy; sister Betty (Lindley) Johnson; brothers, Robert (Diane) Bergeron, Glen (Tanya) Bergeron, and Brian (Kathy) Bergeron; and many nieces, nephews, cousin, and beloved friends.

Bev was born on New Year's Day in 1945 in Argyle, Minnesota. She graduated from Argyle, HS in 1962, completed a BS degree in Occupational Therapy from the College of St. Catherine in 1966 and later earned a Master's Degree in Special Education from the University of St. Thomas. While raising three children, she worked as a special education teacher at Bridgeview School in St. Paul for 20 years where she was devoted to her students with special needs. She was very proud to be a part of the talented and dedicated staff at that school. After retirement, she enjoyed a part-time retail sales position at Talbots. After living in St. Paul for 39 years, Bev and Tom moved to White Bear Lake in 2005. Bev loved to entertain, play games, sew, solve crossword and jigsaw puzzles, watch Jeopardy, listen to country music, travel and spend time with her grandchildren, family, friends, and neighbors. She will be remembered for her kindness, warmth, compassion, wit, friendly smile, knowledge and competitive spirit.

A visitation will be held from 4- 7 PM on Wednesday, May 5 at Mueller Memorial, 4738 Bald Eagle Ave, White Bear Lake. A private family Mass by invitation only will be held at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church with interment to follow at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Jason Horak Scholarship Fund at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN are preferred. Live stream information for the Mass will be posted.

Dale Brown 

Dale Thomas Brown, age 55 of Northfield, died on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at his home with family after courageously battling bladder cancer for 2.5 years.

Dale was born in Northfield, Minnesota to Leo and Irene (Shimota) Brown on March 23, 1965. He grew up on the family farm in Dundas/Bridgewater Township. He was number 7 out of 9 children. As a child he traveled to many states with his parents and siblings in the family RV. When the family set out on vacation, they never quite knew what adventures lay ahead and were open to where the road took them. Dale had many adventures in his life that included education, family, friends, photography, volunteering, outdoorsmanship and fun.

He attended St. Dominic's Catholic School and graduated from Northfield High School in 1983. Dale received his bachelor's from St. Cloud State University in Photographic Science and master's degree from Mankato State University in Environmental Sciences.

After graduating from St. Cloud, Dale accepted a position with Konica Photography in New Jersey. The east coast was not for him and a few years later he returned home. He held various jobs at Sheldahl, Cannon River Watershed Partnership, Crown Cork & Seal-Lakeville, Target, and finished out his career in a position he loved at Normandale Community College. Dale assisted in the Art lab and teaching photography, fused glass, and other arts over the past 18 years. He was passionate about working in the arts, collaborating with wonderful colleagues, and engaging with creative students.

On Sept 24, 1999 Dale married Cindy Keogh at St. Dominic's Church in Northfield. He met Cindy as a fellow Jaycee from Faribault, MN. They were friends for many years before their life together began. They went for a spring wildflower guided tour at the Riverbend Nature Center as friends and walked out realizing they were holding hands. They never let go for 25 years until Dale's last breath.

Besides Cindy, his greatest joy was his son Tommy. Together Cindy and Dale traveled to Seoul, South Korea to bring Tommy to his forever home. He and Tommy made many memories together through different Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts activities. Dale loved going on school field trips and most of all to Thorn Crest Farm each October for their annual family picture among the pumpkins.

Community was Dale's life. He loved volunteering in the Dundas and Northfield areas. He was a past president of the Dundas Jaycees which led him to hold offices at the state level. He received his Statesman and Senatorship which are the top honors of Minnesota and the United States Jaycees. Dale belonged to the Knights of Columbus #1516 at St. Dominic's Church. He was the past Cub Master for Cub Scouts Troop 300 which he held for many years. Dale, Cindy, and Tommy started volunteering at the Laura Baker Community Thanksgiving Dinner more than five years ago and it became an annual family tradition. For anything that involved family and kids, Dale was always there.

He had a unique and keen eye to capture the beauty of the world around him. He shared his many photographic memories with others to enjoy. He slept many nights under the stars in his car just to capture the perfect night sky. He explored many miles in parks and nature centers witnessing God's creations. He loved traveling to Duluth, Grand Marais, and Door County Wisconsin to capture his photographic wonders. He was a talented artist who used his creativity and imagination to produce astounding fused glass artwork as well. He was a member of the River Walk Art Fair and the Paradise Center for the Arts for many years.

Dale enjoyed spending time with family each year at the Annual Brown Summer Get Together. You could always find him on a dock or in a kayak with one of the nieces or nephews showing them how to catch that "Big Keeper".

Anything to do with nature was his gig. He loved to hike, explore, camp, and most of all fish! He found peaceful solitude while ice fishing, casting off some bank of a lake, river, creek, or pond.Dale came from a large farm family where hard work, honesty, faith, and togetherness were instilled in him. He valued these attributes throughout his life.

Dale will be missed deeply by every family member and by his communities. He will be remembered for his dedication to family and community, his love of nature, his artistic eye, his mischievous pranks, and his infectious laugh.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy; son, Tommy, his foot warmer dog, Ellie; sisters, Jean (Steve) Pietig, Bonnie Brown, Jan (Marv) Brown Helgeson, Amy (Dave Pennock) Brown; brothers Don Brown and Ken (Usha) Brown; brothers-in-law Ed (Jean) Keogh, Dennis (Sandy) Keogh and sisters-in-law JoAnn Kozitza and Betty Vargo; godsons Erik Helgeson and Aidan Mason and many other beloved nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Dennis and Patrick, godson Ryan Brown along with both maternal and paternal grandparents. We are thankful that they will be there to welcome him to heaven.A private Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Dominic in Northfield. Interment will be held at Calvary Cemetery, Northfield. Dale's service will be livestreamed through a link found on his obituary page.

Visitation will be held on Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home of Faribault.

In lieu of flowers donations to Dale's family Go Fund Me page are preferred.

Dale requested casual attire to be worn, jeans, flannels, denim shirts, Mickey Mouse, Life is Good, he was a comfy down to earth beloved TreeHugger.

Kent Maffitt

Kent Maffitt passed into eternal life on Saturday January 23rd 2021.  He was born on February 24th 1936 in Shenandoah, Iowa to Floyd and Helen (nee Newton) Maffitt and grew up on a family farm near Sidney, Iowa.  Though he lived in Missouri while earning his bachelor's degree, he lived 63 of his 85 years in Minnesota.

Kent met his lifetime sweetheart (Lois) Elaine Blezek as a boy.  They dated through high school and recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.  They had been soul mates for more than 70 years.  Together they raised their two sons in Minneapolis.

Kent truly lived the American dream.  He was born a poor Iowa farm kid, but somehow managed to make it through graduate school at the University of Minnesota while supporting a growing family on a very modest stipend. Later he enjoyed a successful career as a research physicist, teacher, mentor, inventor, and industry executive.  In 1985, Kent and Elaine moved from southeast Minneapolis to Lake Elmo.  Their dream home was nestled into thick woods that he promptly equipped with a dizzying array of birdfeeders.  He dearly loved watching the birds and grousing about the squirrels from the comfort of his chair by the window.  Much to the chagrin of the squirrels (and amusement of his family), Kent employed his deep understanding of physics and electricity to skew the balance of seed strongly in favor of the birds.

Kent enjoyed fishing in the north woods, woodworking, birdwatching, traveling with Elaine and spending time with his family.  His wooden creations were both numerous and beautiful, but he was most proud of the heirloom creations that he made for the weddings and births of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  He had an incredible singing voice and sang in the 3M Male Chorus, The Mellow Fellows, and his church choirs.  The many wonderful friends that he met through singing formed the core of Kent and Elaine's rich social circle.  In recent years, you didn't have to visit long with him before you would learn that his great grandchildren were the absolute apples of his eye.

Survivors include his wife, Elaine Maffitt of Stillwater, sons Mark (Kay) Maffitt of Madison, WI, Neil (Bonnie) Maffitt of Rochester, grandchildren Kari (Andrew Tsai) Maffitt of St. Paul, Jeffrey (Adrian) Maffitt of Eden Prairie, Rachel Maffitt of Madison, WI and great grandchildren Vivienne, Gwen and Dorian.  He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Clark Maffitt and sister Barbara Maffitt.

A private family service will be held Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 2:00 P.M.  The service will be livestreamed at https://vimeo.com/event/340831

Both Kent and Elaine moved to the Boutwells Landing campus of Presbyterian Homes in 2018. The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the many loving staff for taking such great care of them. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St Andrew's Lutheran Church Choir, Mahtomedi, MN, or the National Audubon Society.

Dale Roy Peterson

Dale Roy Peterson, 85, of Bloomington, passed away peacefully at home on Oct. 1, 2020.  He was born on Dec. 29th, 1934 in Rockford, IL.  Dale served in the United States Air Force, received a BFA from the Minneapolis School of Art and Design and a MFA from St. Mary's University, Winona, MN.  He retired from Normandale Community College in June 1998, having started the photography program within the art department in 1973.  His art mediums were: black and white/color photography, oil painting, stone, wood, metal and cast sculpture.  Dale had many one person shows in Minnesota and beyond.

Dale has been involved with art in the Bloomington community since the time of the small Bloomington Art Gallery on Penn Avenue and Old Shakopee Road.  He donated a large sculpture piece "Growth" to the Bloomington Center for the Arts. It is located on the east side of the Bloomington Center of the Arts/CityHall.
 
He was an active longtime member of Christ the King Lutheran church in Bloomington. Dale did countless art pieces for Christ the King including the signage in front of the church.He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary and their children, Daniel Peterson of Littleton, CO, Dala (Steve) Hynek of West Salem, WI, Diane (Jim) Kachel of Woodbury, MN, and Derrald (Janelle) Peterson of Minneapolis, MN, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Leroy C. "Lee" Kopp

Kopp, LeRoy C. "Lee" 86, passed away peacefully on October 9th. He is survived by his devoted wife Barbara of 61 years, sons Terry (Debbie) and Brian, daughters Debbie and Kristin (Chris), grandfather to 12 grandchildren (Shaun (Erin), Angela, (Bryce) Jennifer (Joe), Christopher, Matthew (Justina), Monica (John), Alex (Sam), Stephen, Gabriel, Peter, Henry and Leah, 17 great grandchildren, brother to loving siblings, sister Donna (Owen) Kane, brothers Bill (Connie) and Ron and sister-in-law Pat, uncle to many nieces and nephews, countless friends and colleagues (his devoted assistant Lindsey Lang, John Flakne, Adam Engebretson, and Jill Martin) and loving caregivers.

He was a remarkable man who truly lived a remarkable life. He will never be forgotten. All those who knew him knew him as a man of tremendous integrity, kindness, generosity and great wit. He was born in St. Cloud Minnesota on September 23, 1934, son of Wilmont and Irene. He graduated from Patrick Henry High School with honors and then went on to graduate from University of Minnesota's Business School in 1956. Upon graduation, Lee spent 3 years of active duty in the Navy. He met the love of his life, the charming Barbara, in Washington D.C. They were married in 1959. He then joined J.M. Dain (now RBC Dain Rauscher) where he served as branch manager. In 1990, he established his own company, Kopp Investment Advisors, which was recognized as one of the top money managers in the nation. He was a great philanthropist who established the Kopp Family Foundation in 1986. His generosity has touched the lives of thousands. He will be truly missed. Funeral arrangements pending. Washburn-McReavy, Edina Chapel 952-920-3996

Willi Volkmer

Wilma Castrup" Willi" Volkmer died unexpectedly, but peacefully, July 19 at her home at Summit Place in Eden Prairie.

Remembrances that have come to us since her death have highlighted her wit, her sincere interest in the people she met, and her welcoming and caring nature. She was those things and more. Willi was born and raised in Ripley, West Virginia and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at West Virginia University (Go Mountaineers!). She spent her working years as a counselor in community colleges, completing her 25-year career at Normandale. She was especially dedicated to the success of adult women and international students. She was a keen proponent of the unique opportunities community colleges offer and worked with her students to achieve them. Willi met Will at the wedding of her Alpha Phi sister and his Delta Upsilon brother. Lt. Volkmer was stationed in Alaska at the time, so romance blossomed through letters and audio tapes. Married June 8, 1957, they began their union driving from West Virginia to Alaska, after which they were sure their relationship would stand the test of time. It did, indeed, for 60 years during which they welcomed their daughter Susan; moved to Florida, Colorado, and Minnesota with Honeywell; traveled the world; motorhomed the U.S. and Canada; and boated every body of water they could find. All the while, they were making lifelong friends and wonderful memories that, along with their beloved family, sustained them for the rest of their lives. After Will died in 2017, Willi focused on maintaining friendships, reading, cherishing time with Susan and her family, and keeping a close and wary eye on the state of our nation (Vote!).

Willi was preceded in death by husband Will, infant daughter Pamela Ann, parents Grover and Lucille Castrup, and sister-in-law Iva Volkmer. She is survived by daughter and son-in-law Susan and Jim Ahrens, grandson Fred Ahrens, brother-in-law Eldon Volkmer, dear cousins in Minnesota and Texas, and cherished childhood friends in West Virginia. A life well-lived and well-loved has ended.

Please consider honoring Willi with a gift to the Minnesota Orchestral Association or the Music Ministry of Colonial Church. A small gathering of family and friends will be held in September.

Dennis Peterson

Dennis Walfred Peterson was born July 24, 1943 in Minneapolis. He died at the age of 77 on August 27, 2020 at his home in Prior Lake.

He was married to Maureen (Murphy) Peterson on December 30, 1972 and they were married for 47 years. Dennis worked as a parochial schoolteacher and in student services/admissions at Normandale Community College for 25 years. He enjoyed photography, oil painting, traveling, gardening, and bird watching. He also loved to spend time finding the best power tool deals at Harbor Freight, eating Chinese at a lunch buffet, or taking long road trips with his friends in the car. One of his favorites places to take his son and grandsons would be Richardson Nature Center. He was kind-hearted and loved to laugh. He was a devoted Catholic, articulate/engaging lector, and went to church every Sunday. He enjoyed relaxing in his recliner, wearing comfy slippers, and finding good car deals on Craigslist.

He was a beloved father and grandfather and will be greatly missed by all his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Emmy Flasch Peterson.

He is survived by his wife, Maureen Elizabeth Peterson; one son, Matt (Hanna); and two grandsons, Liam (8) and Julian (6).

Aaze, Elvia "Bunnie" 

Aaze, Elvia "Bunnie" Age 90 of Bloomington. Passed away surrounded by love on May 15, 2020. Born April 27, 1930 in New York City. Co- founder of the Normandale Japanese Garden, Bunnie devoted over 53 years and countless hours to her beloved garden. Bunnie was a self-employed wedding florist for many years, an avid gardener and a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church. Bunnie loved life and was deeply proud of her family. She was indeed the original Energizer "Bunnie." Bunnie is preceded in death by husband, Clifford; parents, Roger and Tomy Arroyo. Survived by sister, Norma Roldan; children, Lynn Aaze, Roxanne (Tom) Senne, Karen (Brian) Holcomb and Drake Aaze; grandchildren, Caroline Senne (Adam Ackerman), Sarah Senne (John) Martin, Dan (Caitlin) Holcomb, Matt (Gina) Holcomb, Kelly Holcomb (Aaron) Bolduc, Vaughn Aaze-Wiitala, Grace Aaze (David Griffin) and 9 great grandchildren. A private service will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations preferred to Normandale Community College Foundation / Japanese Garden - Bunnie Aaze Memorial, 9700 France Ave S. Bloomington, MN 55431 or directly through the Japanese Garden by clicking Give Now.

Richard Brown

Brown, Richard E., age 77, of Burnsville. Passed away due to complications from ALS on June 20, 2020. Raised in south Minneapolis, graduated from De LaSalle High School, 1961. Attended University of Minnesota, majored in psychology. Served in the Minnesota National Guard and worked as a probation officer for Hennepin County until 2003, at which time he returned to school, earned two Master's Degrees, and embarked on a career teaching English at Normandale Community College. In 2016 he was the recipient of that school's Distinguished Faculty award, especially important in that it was a student-voted honor. Dick loved his family and friends, the pursuit of education, camping in nature, stargazing, bicycling, cross-country skiing, the poetry of Wallace Stevens, the Minnesota Twins, and a medium rare steak. His gentle, easygoing manner and calm intellect will be sorely missed. He is survived by wife Sandi, son Jason (Marta Sibirica), beloved granddaughter Nadine, brother Jerry Brown (Sue), sisters Carol Brown and Bridget Soja (Rick), mother-in-law Joan Spell, nieces, nephews and cousins. Date and time of a memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. Memorials may be directed to the Normandale Foundation, savetheboundarywaters.org or to the National Park Service at www.nps.gov

Larry Jodsaas

Jodsaas, Larry Elvin Age 84, lost his battle with Alzheimer's April 27, 2020 in the peacefulness of his Summit Hill home in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  

Larry's life story was remarkable from the beginning. His family moved several times after he was born due to his parents' work in road construction; he attended 27 different schools before they settled back in Lisbon when he entered seventh grade. Larry's father died a short time later and he was mentored by his uncles, Robert and Reuben Jodsaas. Larry left high school at the time of his father's death as well, at age 15, to help support his mother and their family. Larry acquired adaptive resistance and intuitiveness for work at an early age. In 1954 at the age of 19, Larry enlisted in the US Navy as a submariner electrician's mate while at the same time earning his GED. After serving in the Navy, Larry entered a 2-year pre-engineering program at the North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton, where he also sang in the college choir. He then completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Dakota in 1962. That same year, Larry began his career at Control Data with an engineering position. During his 25 years there, he discovered he liked managing electrical engineers better than being one himself and became the Senior Vice President of Quality and Operations Effectiveness.

In 1988 Larry became President and CEO of VTC, Inc., a subsidiary company of Control Data, and two years later, he purchased VTC from Control Data for $1 plus it's added financial encumbrance. VTC (Value The Customer), a semiconductor manufacturing business, grew to capture 65% of the worldwide market share of the microchip industry under the direction of Jodsaas. In 2000, Larry sold the brand, sales and marketing portions of VTC, but kept the manufacturing portion and launched his own company - PolarFab - the only privately held semiconductor foundry in the United States. Jodsaas retired in 2005, but his already established noble investments and lifework of generosity continued to change lives. In business, Larry dedicated himself to leading his employees "bull-headed and big-hearted". He was known as a tenacious and fair CEO who inspired those he led in both work and fun. Larry set clear and direct expectations and rewarded his employees for performance. Attrition in his company was exceptionally low; during his time as owner of VTC, he gave away millions of dollars through profit sharing, calling it "giving the sleeves out of your vest."

Larry wasn't only a hero in the realm of science and technology, he also served as an affiliate on the Board of Directors for a myriad of organizations over the years, most of which he chaired and/or was president of at one time or another. These include: The University of St. Thomas Foundation; Normandale Community College Foundation; American Electronics Association; Alzheimer's Association - National, Minnesota/North Dakota, and Minnesota Lakes Chapters; Minnesota High Technology Association; Paralon Technologies, Inc.; People Net Communications Corporation; Norwest Bank; Centronics; Engineering Technologies Associates, Inc.; Progeny Venture Capital; University of Minnesota TTAC; and University of North Dakota School of Engineering Advisory. Larry was key advisor for two Presidents at Normandale Community College. Larry has been honored with numerous awards through the years. His pivotal philanthropy and significant business innovation have contributed back to organizations and colleges in many ways. His monetary and educational contributions continue to transform the industry, aid students learning math and science, benefit his community roots, and create a pathway to opportunity in engineering through learning.

Larry's notable awards include: 1996 Minnesota High Technology Special Achievement Award; 2006 North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year; 2006 UND Center for Innovation Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductee; 2007 Normandale Community College Connection Award; 2008 Minnesota Science & Technology Hall of Fame Inductee; 2008 MN High Tech Association Tekne Award for Lifetime Achievement; and 2008 UND Alumni Association Sioux Award. School scholarships in Larry Jodsaas's name are given annually at the University of St. Thomas and Hope Academy, and Larry has given sizable donations to The Works Museum and the Lisbon Opera House. In 2003, Larry's generous gift to Normandale Community College, as well as his work for their "Creating Futures...Changing Lives" major gift campaign opened the 43,000 square foot Jodsaas Science Center, a state-of-the-art science learning and teaching facility. In 2008, Larry's generous gift to the UND College of Engineering & Mines opened the Jodsaas Center for Engineering Leadership and Entrepreneurship, a teaching and research building, and supports SEED (Society for Engineering and Entrepreneurial Development) which assists the development of student-lead ventures in business technology.

Alzheimer’s research was of the utmost importance to Larry. After he watched his grandmother and mother both pass away from Alzheimer’s, he became involved in the work and vision to someday cure the devastating disease. He is an Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Society Member and wrote a compelling business journal article on the cost of the disease and our aging nation. Larry was honored at the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum in Washington D.C. for his work in helping to create AIM (Alzheimer’s Impact Movement) which drives policymakers to invest in Alzheimer’s research, enhanced care for patients, and improved support for caregivers. Larry donated his brain to the Mayo Clinic for Alzheimer’s research. Larry’s work passion was to pioneer and drive the unlimited profit potential in electrical engineering semiconductor advancement. A Star Tribune article over 20 years ago quotes Larry, “We’ve seen a tremendous change in the impact of technology on the economy. Just look at Amazon.com; they are restructuring how to deliver product to the market.” Larry’s life passion was his vision of having unlimited potential in world-wide global boating adventures. A 2012 Yachts International article describes in detail Larry’s 102 ft. custom momentous exhibitioner, and quotes Larry, “I want to be able to go anywhere in the world, and to stay any length of time, in any port."

Rex Gaskill

Gaskill, Rex William 77, passed away the morning of April 10, 2020 at home. Rex was originally from Kansas and a long-time resident of Minneapolis, MN.

Rex was born on December 21, 1942 in Hutchinson Kansas to Floyd M. Gaskill and Betty Jane (nee) Kuntz.  He was raised by his grandparents and graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1960.  He received his Associate of Arts degree from Hutchinson Community College in 1962 then transferred to Fort Hays State University.  While at Fort Hays he was active in Forensics and Debate.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 1964.  He attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, earning his Master of Arts in Communication in 1969 and completing coursework toward a doctorate at the University of Minnesota.

He taught at several colleges and universities, ultimately beginning a long career at Normandale Community College in 1973.  He was a faculty member in Speech Communication and the Director of Forensics.  Rex coached many national champions and award winners in forensics and was awarded Phi Rho Pi's Distinguished Service Award and the Outstanding Contribution to Speech and Theatre by CTAM. While a faculty member, he served as president of the faculty.  He became Dean of Liberal Arts in 1999.  He also served as interim dean of business on several occasions. 

He is survived by his husband and life partner of 34 years, Paul John Strandberg. They were married in January of 2016.

Rex will be remembered for his dedication to the college and higher education, his love of travel, his commitment to anything that he participated in.  He didn't just join, he was active, serving on committees, taking leadership roles, and welcoming others.  He was active in the Minnesota Community College Faculty Association and the National Communication Association.  He served as chair of the Community College section of the National Communication Association and he was the recipient of the Community College Outstanding Educator Award in 1997.  Even after officially retiring from Normandale, he continued to volunteer regularly in the Normandale Foundation office and served on the Foundation Board.

His love of travel was lifelong.  He and his former wife, Gayle Gaskill enjoyed traveling the world.  He traveled for work, and he traveled for pleasure.  He and Paul traveled extensively and frequently.  He encouraged others to travel, see the world, and get new perspectives.

Rex volunteered at First Universalist church, as well as the MSP Airport Commission in the Travelers Assistance Program.  He was also an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church, serving in a variety of roles.  His dedication and involvement in anything that he participated in will long be remembered.  His calm demeaner and warm personality resulted in friends traveling around the country, mentioning Normandale only to be asked if they knew Rex Gaskill.  He was memorable.  He always made people feel important and at ease.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his grandparents.  He is survived by his husband Paul, brothers Marvin L. Gaskill (Ms. Marti Dole) and Terry L. Gaskill of Kansas, numerous nieces and nephews and many devoted friends.

Rex's desire was to be cremated and interred at the Columbarium at St. John's Episcopal.  While he didn't wish to have a funeral, there will be a celebration of his life when people can again gather safely without fear of Covid-19.  Memorials may be sent to Normandale Community College. To donate online, please click HERE

Shirley Huskins

Age 92, of Edina Passed away Friday, December 27, 2019 Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, William E. (Bill) Huskins, Jr., in 1985. She is survived by daughter Deborah Huskins (Alex Andrea), son William Charles Huskins (Diana Carey), three grandchildren Alyssa Andrea (Takashi Hatta), Kellen Andrea and Estelle Huskins, a great-granddaughter, Hiori Hatta, nieces and nephews, and their children. She has led this wide family network for generations. Shirley was born on December 26, 1927 in Cosmos, MN and lived there with her parents and sisters. She graduated from Litchfield High School and attended Gustavus Adolphus College and the Univeristy of Minnesota. She worked at Northwest Airlines, where she met Bill. They married on June 24, 1950. They lived in Tokyo, Japan in the 1950s and 60s, where Bill held several successive positions with Northwest.

Shirley volunteered in a variety of organizations including: the Japan America Society of Minnesota, from which she received the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership in 2009; the Normandale Japanese Garden, serving on its Board; and, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, serving as Council Secretary for many years, cooking at Cathedral of the Pines camp, and volunteering at Rolling Acres home for children with disabilities. Shirley and Bill loved the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and built a family cabin near Ely, which continues to be a legacy of family activity and appreciation of the wilderness. Shirley lived her life with grace and dignity, guided by the values of her faith and her respect for all people. She had a loving, kind, generous, humble, engaging and adventurous spirit that was recognized and appreciated by all who knew her. 

In keeping with Shirley's passions, donations are preferred in lieu of flowers to Mount Olivet Cathedral of the Pines Camp, Friends of the Boundary Waters, or the Normandale Japanese Garden. www.washburn-mcreavy.com Edina Chapel 952-920-3996. Donations can be made HERE.

Jennifer Isaac

Jennifer had been a part of the Normandale community for over 29 years and has impacted many lives.

Jennifer was an award-winning educator who affected her students in amazingly positive ways. As a faculty member she helped to create Student Success Day and the wildly successful Human Library. Jennifer was also an award-winning storyteller who worked with Story Arts Minnesota to bring a Storytelling Festival to campus last year. Jennifer believed that stories help us to understand one another. The study abroad trips that she co-sponsored sought to help students understand other cultures through their shared narratives. By engaging students in travel programs with a focus on stories and storytelling, she forever enriched the lives of her many students. For her work, along with colleagues Aimee DuBois and Chad Kuyper, she received the 2018-19 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Award for Innovation in Global Education Award.

If you would like to make a donation in her honor, Jennifer asks that you please give it to the CareyOn Study Abroad Scholarship. Donations can be made HERE.

Bill Mcguire

McGuire, William W. age 76 of St. Louis Park, passed away unexpectedly on October 2, 2019.

Bill was born on August 8, 1943 in Minneapolis to Clarence and Beatrice McGuire. Bill is survived by his wife Judy, his children Jennifer, Meghan and Ned, grandchildren Alana, Liam, Bridget, Nicholas and Luke, his brother Tom, as well as many sisters-in-laws, brothers-in-laws, nieces and nephews. His son Chad and 2 granddaughters Rowan and Mariah preceded him in death. Bill's greatest joy was his family. He dedicated his professional life to his students and colleagues at Normandale Community College.

Bill will be buried at his legacy lake property. Memorials preferred to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at the Basilica of St. Mary or the H.M. Faulkner Scholarship at the College of St. Benedict. If you would like to make a donation to the Foundation in Bill's name, please click HERE.

Mary Ellen Seth

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of former faculty member Mary Ellen Seth. You can find her obituary here.

In her twelve years of teaching Accounting at Normandale, she left behind a legion of friends, including both students and faculty. She is fondly and warmly remembered. Mary Ellen wished to set up an endowed scholarship for Normandale students, and you may make a gift in lieu of flowers here, as the family has requested.

Joe Poell

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of former faculty member and Japanese Garden Committee member Joe Poell. You can find his obituary here.

Joe served as the Director of Life Science at Normandale Community College. from 1997 to retirement. Joe enjoyed working, traveling, cultivating plants and flowers, being a committee member of the Normandale Japanese Garden, volunteering at the church and spending quality time with family and friends who he dearly loved. 

A memorial fund has been established for Normandale Japanese Garden. Contributions can be made HERE. Please designate your gift in Memory of Joe Poell.

^ top