The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

John D. 'Jack' Nordberg

 

WAUSAU, Wis. - I, John D. Nordberg, passed away peacefully at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

I was born on July 22, 1930, in Ashland. My father passed in July of 1945, leaving me to be the man of the house at 15 years old. I was the oldest of five children so I took on the responsibilities for the farm my family owned. I spent many days home from school to help with the dairy cattle and crops my family raised. The vegetables and berries had to be sold to help the family, so the sheriff gave me a driver's license so I could deliver the berries, corn, sacks of potato and other vegetables to a warehouse in Ironwood, Mich. I also used to do odd jobs such as threshing and making hay with my neighbors to help the family.

I graduated from the Saxon High School in May of 1948 as valedictorian of my class. After graduation, I worked at the Saxon Cheese Factory and later at the Meredith and Corrigan Meat Packing Plant.

In May of 1948, I was drafted into the U.S. Army, starting at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. I served in Korea and became skilled at working with heavy equipment. I would send my army earnings home to my mom and siblings. Some of my other responsibilities in the Army were, PT instructor for more than 200 soldiers and assisted medics on many flights to help save my fellow soldiers. During the war I was awarded an opportunity to attend West Point. Knowing my family would need me, I had to decline. I did whatever was asked of me for my country and finished my service as a lifetime member of the VFW Post 9084 in Wakefield, Mich.

When I came home, I again joined my family at the farm and started making maple syrup to sell. I then attended Gogebic Community College for two years, before working in the woods and selling pulp wood for those using wood to cook or heat their homes.

I had learned to hunt and butcher meat to provide for my family. My goal was to protect and care for them. My father would've wanted me to do that. I guess you could call me a "Jack of all trades."

I purchased my own logging equipment and started delivering lumber to Kimberly Clark in Marenisco, Mich., and also Nagel Lumber Company in Land O' Lakes. It was in Marenisco that I met my wife Peggy McLeod and you may say, "I started my second family."

I continued to log, but found an interest in excavating, so I bought equipment and did my share of development on Lake Gogebic. I bought a "40" by Lake Gogebic as a staging area and started making driveways, septic fields and basements in the 1970s. I also did landscaping for cottages along Lake Gogebic and the Thousand Island Chain.

I owned a garage on the main street of Marenisco where I had an office and am proud to say I maintained my own equipment.

Sales, sales, sales! Yes, I sold equipment for Mid-State Equipment for a time. I traveled all throughout Michigan and Wisconsin and at times my family would join me. I loved attending the Logging Congress with them!

Knowing how to butcher landed me after-hour jobs at the Marenisco Red Owl cutting meat. Later on, to keep my knives from rusting, I helped process deer for hunters at Leo's grocery. I really enjoyed making my own sausage.

As a member of the Northern Woods Producer Co-op in Park Falls. I contributed to many changes in the logging industry.

My family and I managed the Gogebic Lodge for the Cordy family for three years. It was there that I met a lot of fine people who are still a part of the family today. Great years!

I sold my equipment and went to work for the Gogebic County Road Commission where I mostly operated a grader for 10 years before retiring. I just wanted to keep moving.

I was a member of the Marenisco Township Volunteer Fire Department for almost 50 years. When I wasn't able to respond to calls anymore, I took great pride in collecting the donations at the Fourth of July fireworks every year. I kept track of how much we earned every year to see if we could beat it.

I am ready to join my parents, Bessie and John; my two younger brothers, William and Edward; and numerous aunts and uncles.

Let me introduce my loving family. There is my wife, Peggy; and my two daughters, Jackie Nordberg Charles and Holli (Greg) Tooke. Also, my two sons, David (Janice) Nordberg and Alan Nordberg.

I have the most amazing grandchildren, Adam (Julie) Nordberg, Bethany (Jeff) Anderson, Colleen (Mike) Granato, Dustin (Tasha) Nordberg, Jessie Nordberg, Zachary Nordberg and Suzanne Nordberg. Added to that, my great grandchildren, Trevor, Landon, Allie, Bryce, Grant, Ryder, Grace, Grady, Wyatt and soon to be baby Anderson due in August. I am so proud of them and I know that they will bring much joy to this world.

In my free time I enjoyed gardening. I love sharing my harvest with family and friends. Sunflowers and marigolds were my favorite flowers. I kept a garden diary so I could look back to recall past years. My kids helped me establish a garden this year. As my body slowed down I took great joy in making photo collages, my collection of memories. I made and shared these with my family. Birdhouses were a passion of mine too. I would build them out of hollow logs or anything I could find.

Early morning coffee and breakfast with friends started my day. My other breakfast treat was Sunday morning breakfasts with my daughter Jackie. This tradition started in 1983 and continued until health issues kept me closer to home. I still remember carrying Holli on my shoulders to breakfast when she was just a little girl. I also loved helping my son David's family with making maple syrup at the "Slate River Valley" sugar bush. Collecting sap and keeping the fire going, brings me back to my younger days. I always visited the Saxon Cemetery and planted flowers for family, friends, men I used to employ, and Civil War veterans. My daughter Jackie joined me in this in recent years, and I hope the tradition carries on.

If you would like to plant a seed or plant in my honor, whether it's in your garden or sent to my family, please do. This shows us that life goes on. Cards and visits are always welcome of course.

I was not afraid to leave this earth. I lived a good life. I am very proud of my family and proud of the way I lived my life. My mother and father instilled in me to be honest, loyal and remember to always keep a promise. Take these words with you and you too, will live a fulfilled life.

Not going to say goodbye, but see you later.

- JD

The family will greet relatives and friends on Thursday, June 9, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Marenisco Town Hall, with the honor guard beginning at 10:15 a.m.

A funeral service will follow the visitation at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Roy Speck officiating.

Pallbearers will be Adam Nordberg, Dustin Nordberg, Zach Nordberg, Mike Granato, Jeff Anderson and Rick Rowe.

Following the service, military rites will take place at the town hall under the auspices of Marensico American Legion Post 523, Wakefield American Legion Post 11 and Wakefield VFW Post 9084 Honor Guard. Also in attendance will be the Marenisco Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Lunch will be served at the town hall following the military service.

A committal service will be held Thursday, at 3 p.m., at the Lake View Cemetery, Saxon. Interment will follow.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner-manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. Condolences may be expressed online at lakesidememorialchapel.com.

 
 

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