Lygre

John Lygre 1944–2019 Northfield/Lakeville—John Gerhard Lygre died May 7, 2019 from complications of Parkinson's disease. His family was blessed to be at his side. John was born March 19, 1944 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Rev. Gerald and Esther Lygre. He grew up in a very musical, Lutheran missionary family. When John was only 6 months old, his family sailed through the Panama Canal in route to South Africa where John's father established a mission church in Untunjambili. Three years later they returned to serve their congregation in Omaha. John spent much of his youth and teenage years in Yankton, SD, and Montevideo, MN where his dad served as senior pastor at two different Our Saviors Lutheran Churches. While at Montevideo High School, as student body president, he was nicknamed "Electric" due to his wit, warmth and quick sense of humor. At Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, he majored in Classics and also minored in German. That same summer, he married his college sweetheart, Jeanne Robinson of Mt. Horeb, WI. The newlyweds lived in St. Paul, MN for three years while John attended Luther Seminary. John's love of languages and biblical studies led him to Princeton Theological Seminary where he studied New Testament theology. With incredible strength and determination he received his Ph.D. while simultaneously earning his MEd from Rutgers University. For 32 years, John served St. Olaf College as a loyal administrator, teacher and advocate for the liberal arts. He held positions of college registrar, associate dean for academic resources, director of academic internships, and senior stewardship officer. John taught interim New Testament courses for the religion department. Some special campus accomplishments were introducing on-line registration and chairing the planning committee for the Ditmanson addition to the Rolvaag Library. John was truly a renaissance man in the sense that he had so many passions, interests and skills in life. He served as President of the Northfield Arts Guild and was a founding member of the Northfield Area Foundation. He was an active member of St. John's Lutheran Church serving as President and chairing several boards. He enjoyed stamp collecting, "literary club", following his beloved Twins team, rounds of golf at Northfield Golf Club, noon-time tennis, table tennis, and reading all forms of literature. John loved listening to the works of Bach and Handel and occasionally rocking out to Elvis and The Big Bopper! By far John's biggest passion was being a family man. Sara and Anne remember him planning road trips down to the last detail, designing blue-ribbon winning costumes for them for the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days parade, sharing his love for tennis and "shooting the moon" in the game of Hearts. John and Jeanne loved attending plays and concerts, taking long evening walks, and traveling around the U.S. as well as Norway and other European countries. Always cherishing time spent with his four grandchildren, John was one proud grandpa! His attendance could be counted on at tennis matches, soccer and basketball games, and dance competitions. He loved sharing his time and energy with his "grands." John wanted them to enjoy life and to value the truth that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone. Both family and friends felt that John left a lasting legacy of a life that inspires others with his love, kindness, and integrity. John is preceded in death by his father, Rev. Gerald Lygre, father and mother in-law, Lloyd and Alverna Robinson. He is survived by his wife Jeanne, two daughters, Sara (Wade) Johnson of Eden Prairie, MN, and Anne (Josh) Kutzler of Lakeville, MN, four grandchildren, Emily and Alexa Johnson, Benjamin and William Kutzler, mother, Esther Holte of Peoria, AZ, brother, David (Laurae) Lygre of Ellensburg, WA, sister, Carol Sherfesee of New Castle, NH, sister, Lois (Carlton) Mitchell of Spirit Lake IA, sister-in-law, Anita Nagle of Fitchburg, WI and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of John's life will be held on Friday, May 17 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield. Visitation will begin one hour prior, with a reception immediately following. Interment will be at OakLawn Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to the Parkinson's Foundation (parkinson.org), Luther Seminary (luthersem.edu), or donor's choice. northfieldfuneral.com

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