Obituary, John Elliott Norman

Former Lake Crystal Mayor John Elliott Norman, 86, passed away on March 14, 2007 at the Lake Crystal Health Care Center after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He will be marked in death by the life he brought to so many people. His passing serves as a reflection on a world
that changed profoundly during his short stay. A memorial service will be held at 10:.30 a.m. Saturday, April 7, 2007 at the United Methodist Church in Lake Crystal, with Rev. Debbie King Quale officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in Lake Crystal Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 6, 2007 at Lake Crystal Mortuary. John is survived by wife, Beth of Lake Crystal; seven children, John (Mary) Norman Jr. of Waconia, Tom Norman of Lake Crystal, Joyce (Charlie O’Connell) Norman of Hoffman Estates, IL, Judith (Jim) Hepworth of Lake Crystal, James Norman of Ramsey, Diane (Michael Flaherty) Norman of McFarland, WI, Robert (Leatha)
Norman of North Mankato; 17 grandchildren; 7 greatgrandchildren; three siblings, Ralph (Thelma) Norman of Lake Crystal, Joan (John) Roth of Lake Crystal, Mary (William) Mensing of Mapleton; nieces and nephews. He and his wife of 64 years, Beth were the cornerstone of life for his large family. John Elliott Norman was also mayor of Lake Crystal for 14 years – a responsibility he took extremely personally for a community that he loved and in which he spent his entire life. As mayor, he was committed to building a Lake Crystal for the future, helping build support for a new water treatment plant, road and highway improvements, and a number of community development projects. His weekly newspaper column, simply called “Mayor’s Column”, was his blunt reflections on life in Lake Crystal and his assessment of Lake Crystal’s progress and challenges. Born in Lake Crystal in 1920 in the farmhouse in which he was raised, John Elliott Norman began farming before electricity, harvesting corn by hand, tossing the ears into a
horse-drawn wagon. He milked cows by hand in lantern light, fought many cold winters and drought, and remembered fondly the county fairs and the 4-H competitions in which he participated. He saw America struggle through — and survive – the Great Depression, a World War, many downturns and upturns in the farm economy, and the modernization and mechanization of America. John Elliott Norman married Beth Mather in 1942 on her family farm in Madelia, just before leaving to enter the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific in World War II. He was
nearly killed when his aircraft carrier, the USS Franklin, was bombed, killing nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines. Norman survived and returned to spend the rest of his life farming and raising children on his farm near Lake Crystal.

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