Dick Jorgensen was born October 31, l927 in St. Paul, Minnesota and died Saturday April 15, 2017 at the age of 89.
His father died when Dick was two years old and he moved to Beardsley, MN where he was raised by his grandparents Peter and Lydia Haanen, and pretty much had the run of that small town. He graduated from Beardsley High School in l945, and spoke of graduating in the top l0 in his class. What a yarn; there were only 11 in his class.
In the fall of l945, he attended Hamline University as a freshman. After serving in the United States Army for 18 months, he returned to Hamline, ultimately graduating from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Dick married Barbara Lehrer of Springfield, MN on June 27, l953, and celebrated almost 64 years of marriage. Barbara and Dick have six children: Mary (Tom Haynes), Susan, Jean (Haywood Boston, Jr.), Mark (Susan Alm), Nancy (Bradley Meyer), and Paul (Amber Hummel). They have nine grandchildren: Cassondra, Chad, Olivia Boston (Jean Boston), Jim Haynes, (Mary), Janelle Jorgensen (Mark), Anna Heibert (Susan), Kathryn Meyer (Nancy), Sara, and Dan Jorgensen (Paul). He also had very special neighbors Brad, Heather, Taleigha, Nash, and Tatum Bigler.
He has been a resident of Marshall since November l, l951 and spent his entire working career in the real estate, credit and vending business and as an author of nine books and numerous articles.
As a Marshall community leader, he served as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Marshall Junior Chamber of Commerce and as State Vice President of the Minnesota Junior Chamber of Commerce. He also served as President of the Marshall-Lyon County Library Board and was a member and acting Chairman of the Marshall Charter Commission.
Dick was one of a group of community leaders who met in October of l956 and formed the Marshall College Committee to push to establish a college to serve the people of southwest Minnesota. He remained a member of the college committee through approval and the opening of Southwest Minnesota State College in September l967. Continuing his involvement, in September l969, Dick became a founding member of the Mustang Booster Club to encourage, support, and promote intercollegiate athletics at Southwest State.
These accomplishments led to one of Dickâs proudest achievements: being appointed to the Minnesota State University Board in l986 by Governor Rudy Perpich. Dick was then elected by his fellow board members as Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee.
He continued to be generous with his time and support for SMSU including supporting the Mustang Booster club, the music department, the athletic department, the student body through the Richard and Barbara Jorgensen Scholarship Fund. In 2002, at the request of the Southwest Foundation, he wrote A History of Southwest State University, with all the proceeds from the sale of the book going to the foundation. In February 2011, Dick was named a recipient of the Southwest Minnesota State University Hall of Honor for his service and dedication to college athletics.
Dick was funny and irreverent and fun. He loved Barb and his six children with all his heart and was so proud of his nine grandchildren. Family was everything to him. His favorite past time was going to his cabin on Big Stone Lake, mowing walking paths, puttering and taking care of the land. He was a lover of SMSU sports, the environment, travel, reading, a good screwdriver, burnt popcorn and weak coffee. Not necessarily in that order. He loved music, from the Bee Geeâs to Lawrence Welk. Dick took fashion cues from no one. His signature look was a threadbare, button-down shirt, baggy khakis and a well-worn SMSU cap. Dickâs gregarious nature, mechanical genius with duct tape and general resourcefulness helped him to succeed in everything he did.
In lieu of flowers, it is his wish that donations be made to the Richard and Barbara Jorgensen Scholarship Fund or the Athletic Department both at Southwest Minnesota State University.