Norm Gatzlaff, longtime Springfield businessman, died Thursday, September 24, 2015, at St. John Lutheran Home. A service was held in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at St. John on Tuesday, September 29, with interment in the St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery.
Norman August Gatzlaff was born February 21, 1914, on the family farm in Stately Township, the last of six children born to John Frederick and Bertha Hardtke Gatzlaff. He was baptized and confirmed, in German, at Christ Lutheran Church in Stately. He attended District 61 School in Stately through eighth-grade, and then graduated from Springfield High School.
On September 23, 1941, he was united in marriage to Esther Maas at Trinity Lutheran Church in Johnsonville Township, and they established their lifetime home in Springfield. After the Pearl Harbor attack in December of that year, Norm enlisted in the US Navy. He served in the Navy communications division in Washington, DC, and Plymouth, England.
After his discharge, Norm returned to the Vogel-Miller Insurance Agency, where he became a partner, and later the sole proprietor. He subsequently sold the business to the F&M Bank, where he was a director, and became the manager of the F&M Agency until his retirement.
A pillar of his community, Norm was a long-time member of the American Legion, where he served as Post Commander, and the Rotary Club. He was a founding member of the Springfield Golf Club. He served on many committees and boards, including the local School Board and the Church Council of St. Paul Lutheran Church. He also enjoyed singing, and lent his tenor voice to the church choir for many years and to the Nativity Pageant choir until age 88.
Norm enjoyed playing golf, especially the stop at the nineteenth hole, card games, traveling in the U.S. and Europe after retirement, and spending time with family – especially holidays and golf cart rides with his grandchildren.
Norm is survived by sons John D. (Jeanne) Gatzlaff of North Oaks and Bryan (Angela) Gatzlaff of Mahtomedi, and daughter Joanne (Daniel) Dunatchik of Portland, Oregon; grandchildren Sarah (Chris) Popek of Las Vegas, Nevada, Kristin (Joseph) Ceronsky of Shoreview, Molly (Adam) Wagner of Madison, Wisconsin, Michael Gatzlaff (Carly) of Shoreview, Andrew Dunatchik of Portland, Oregon, Anne (David) Barclay of Portland, Oregon, and Allison Dunatchik of London, England; and five great-grandchildren, Trystan Popek, Rylan and Henley Ceronlsky, John Michael Gatzlaff, and Anders Wagner.
He was preceded in death by his wife Esther; all of his siblings, August, Ervin, Herbert, Elsie Tadewald and twin Sal Hageman; and granddaughter Heidi Gatzlaff.