Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 2010
Norman Goodwin, 97, of Bayport, Minn., formerly of Austin and later DeWitt, Iowa, entered the peace of Heaven on April 2, 2010 at the Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Minn.
Norman Jerome Goodwin was born on Jan. 5, 1913 in Austin to Nels and Nellie (Jerdet) Goodwin. He attended District #76 Country School, a one room school house in Lebar County. He graduated in 1931 from Austin High School, where he received the American Farmer Degree in FFA, the first that was awarded in Minnesota, and was a Minnesota Champion FFA Dairy Judge. A year later Norman again received Champion Honors for his 4-H demonstration at the Minnesota State Fair. Norman attended college at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, where he worked in the meat lab and animal barns. He joined the Farm House Fraternity, serving as president. He was also president of the freshman and junior classes. During his college years Norman was on several judging teams for livestock, crops and meat. His first job after graduation was as an assistant county agent in Wilkin Co. near Breckenridge, Minn. On June 20, 1936, he married Marion Blomgren. Norman coached their 4-H teams to champion wins at the state fair that year. During this time their first child, Nanette, was born. In 1937, the Goodwins moved to Alexandria, Minn. when Norman was hired as the first emergency county agent for Douglas County. For six years he worked with T.A. Erickson as a state 4-H club agent at the St. Paul campus. It was at this time that their second daughter, Julie, was added to the family. When they moved to St. Peter, Minn., Norman became the field man for Nicollet Hybrid Seed Corn and then as a manager for Cargill Hybrid Seed. While they were living in St. Peter, their son, David, was born. For the next 25 years, Norman worked as the county extension director for Clinton County, DeWitt, Iowa. He became very active in several organizations during this time, including the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, serving as national president; the Iowa County Extension Directors, serving as president; and the Noon Lions Club, serving as president. Another highlight for Norman during this time was the opportunity to travel with the People to People Tour throughout South America.
In 1978, Norman was elected to political office as an Iowa State Senator. He served in the State Senate until 1990. His wife Marion passed away after 52 years of marriage. Norman was then married to Mina Johnson in Kensington, Minn. Two years later they moved back to Douglas Co, Minn. onto Mina’s family farm near Kensington. With all of his many years in public service, it was no surprise that Norman was soon elected to the Solem Town Board; was made President of the Aid Association for Lutherans Branch #10197; belonged to the Kensington Lions Club and the First Lutheran Church, where he served on the Church Council. In addition, Norman served on the advisory committee for the REA Rural Electrical Association Board. For about the last 30 some years on the farm, they were taken care of by Kay and Dale Nibbe.
In 2007, at the age of 94, Norman made his last move when he and his wife Mina became residents of the Croixdale Assisted Living Apts. in Stillwater, Minn.
In addition to his many civic accomplishments, Norman also received the Melvin Jensen award from the Lions Club; the Helen Keller Sight Award; and the Star Gardener Award from the Minnesota Horticultural Society. On April 26, 2010, Norman was to receive recognition at the Minnesota State FFA banquet with his name added to their hall of fame. He had previously been inducted into the Older American Hall of Fame and the Clinton County Fair Hall of Fame.
One of Norman’s favorite past times was being outdoors gardening. He was a master gardener and enjoyed experimenting with various varieties of plants. He once grafted ten varieties of apples to his crabapple tree and all of them successfully bore fruit! He also liked to travel, and after his retirement he and Mina toured Europe and the Holy Land. He enjoyed being with people, whether leading a board meeting or just sitting with friends playing a game of cards. Norman’s leadership skills and willingness to serve his country and community were a testament to his sterling character. He was a dedicated family man who loved his children and grandchildren. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, Mina Goodwin of Bayport; children, Nanette (Howard) Duncan of Eldridge, Iowa, Julie (Larry) Hoffman of West Lafayette, Ind., David (Carol) Goodwin of Burbonnais, Ill.; step-children, Jim (Kathy) Johnson of Alpena, Mich., Jaclyn (Bruce) Halvorson of Kensington, Minn., Patricia (Jim) Keller of Denmark Township, Minn., Kay (Dale) Nibbe of Alexandria, Minn. and Ann Johnson of Lake St. Croix Beach, Minn.; many grand and great-grandchildren; a brother, Nathan Goodwin of Austin and a sister, Ruth Carlson of Celebration, Fla.; several nieces and nephews.
Norman is preceded in death by his parents; his wife Marion; a granddaughter, Barbara Bulens; a grandson, Bradley Hoffman; a step-daughter, Bonnie Isakson and a step-son, Theodore Clifford Johnson.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church in Kensington, Minn. with the Rev. Carl Seamon officiating. A memorial service will also be held on May 8, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. at the DeWitt United Methodist Church in DeWitt, Iowa, with inurnment at the Elmwood Cemetery. A light luncheon will follow the services.
Memorials may be given in Norman’s honor to the Norman J. Goodwin FFA Scholarship, in care of the MN FFA Foundation, P O Box 118, Rosemount, MN 55068.
Arrangements were made by the Roy-Hetland Funeral Home in Osakis, Minn.