Robert O. "Red" Nordgren, 92, and Jerrine E. Nordgren 92, of Sioux City, passed away at Countryside Nursing Home in Sioux City. Jerrine passed away Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, and Robert passed away Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
A celebration of life service for the couple will be held in the spring, so all family members can attend. The date will be announced.
Jerrine was born on Aug. 23, 1924, in Akron, Iowa, the daughter of Mark and Lottie (Beach) Coleman. She attended school in Akron, and graduated from Akron High School in 1942. She was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith.She married "My Everlovin" Robert Nordgren on Feb. 14, 1948.
Robert was born Aug. 9, 1926, in Centerville, S.D., the son of John and Delia (Brown) Nordgren. He was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith.
In 1941, at age 15, his best friend, Bob Lanagan, told him he should quit school and come to San Francisco to work in the shipyard at Bethlehem Steel. Robert asked his parents if he could do it and they surprisingly said "Yes." Delia had to borrow money from the bank to pay for the bus trip. So off to San Francisco he went.
Two years later, 1943, Robert was now old enough to enlist in U.S. Navy, He worked as an electrician on the amphibious ships from 1943 to 1947, during World War II.
After the service, he moved back to Sioux City, and hired out with the Great Northern Railroad in August of 1947 as a brakeman, then conductor. He worked 40 years, retiring in 1987.
Robert went back to finish school to get his high school diploma from Central High School, in the fall of 1947, graduating in 1948. It bothered him that he hadn't finished.
Also during the fall of 1947, Robert met the love of his life, Jerrine E. Coleman. They were united in marriage on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 1948. It would have been 69 years of marriage, but Jerrine passed on Jan. 8, 2017.
Together they had three sons, Robert, Mark and Jeff, all two years apart. Sports were important in the family with baseball, golf and bowling. In retirement, Robert, "Red" as he was known to everyone, golfed at Green Valley Golf Course with his friends. Five days a week, 18 holes a day, then on Saturday they would travel to another course to play. In the winter, Jerrine and Robert bowled in two leagues.
Red's love for landscaping and gardening resulted in purchasing and converting the five empty lots next to his home into a beautiful park. "The Nordgren Park," on the corner of Transit and Rustin, became famous with high school bands in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Sioux City. They would practice there, before the Battle of the Marching Bands and then walk to Roberts Stadium. Many weddings were also held there, including youngest son, Jeff and Vivian's.
Later years, Red suffered a light stroke on his left side. This prevented him from golfing and bowling, so Robert and Jerrine discovered the Riverboat. They both enjoyed going in the morning and playing their favorite machines.
Red was known to his family and friends for his culinary skills, his laughter, his wit and his hard work ethic. An organized neat freak, with a sharp memory to the end, demanded that each day started off with a goal. He loved having projects to work on and maintaining his beautiful park. But when all the work was complete for the day, evenings were for relaxing with his favorite beer, smoking and listening to sports.
Robert and Jerrine are survived by their son, Robert Nordgren of South Sioux City, his children, Bobby, Jessie and her son, Allan; son, Mark Nordgren and his wife, Kathleen of Sioux Falls, their three sons, Jason and his wife, Katie of Eugene, Ore., David and his wife, Amber, and their children, Owen and Claire of Sioux Falls, and Michael Nordgren of Charleston, Ill.; and son, Jeff Nordgren and his wife, Vivian of Jacksonville, Fla., and their children, Jeremy and Rachel of Minneapolis, and Andrew and Katie of Jacksonville.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents, John and Delia Nordgren; brothers, Marvin, and Arthur; and sister, Margaret.
Jerrine was preceded in death by her parents, Mark and Lottie (Beach) Coleman; and her sister, Joy and husband, Darcy Fletcher.
He will be deeply missed by family and friends. Jerrine has been waiting for him for two years, so I am sure they are probably looking for a riverboat in heaven now.