Joseph Iverson
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Joseph Iverson


Northfield—Joseph G. Iverson, Jr., Professor Emeriti St. Olaf College, was born on February 26, 1926 and grew up in Watson, MN. He graduated from Montevideo High School in 1944 and his father handed him his draft notice for WWII as he marched in for the graduation ceremony. Three weeks later this small town 18-year-old found himself in field artillery basic training at Camp Roberts, California before heading to Europe on a transport ship with the 71st Division Field Artillery. He arrived in France in early 1945 and the 71st fought across France and Germany and wound up in Austria in May, 1945 when the physical fighting ended. Joe remained in Europe working for three different Generals until his service was complete in 1946.

Upon his return to Minnesota he enrolled at Gustavus Adolphus College. He was a teacher and counselor in LeSueur, MN for 8 years before becoming Assistant Superintendent at Thief River Falls, MN in 1958. He joined the St. Olaf College faculty in 1960 and served as a Professor of Education until his retirement in 1986. The teachers he trained have impacted, and continue to impact, the lives of thousands. In retirement he served as a Guardian Ad Litem for Rice County District Court, golfed, painted and created stained glass.

After 66 years of silence relating to his war experiences, Joe was finally able to process the horrific experience of the 71st Field Artillery liberation of the Gunskirchen concentration camp. His teaching continued with his need to speak about, educate and highlight Holocaust remembrance.

Joe passed away on Friday morning, April 19, 2019 at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife of nearly 66 years, Jeanette; his children: Jeffrey (Lorie Lockwood), Jon (Susan Harper), James (Patricia Ramsey); 7 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, and two grandsons.

A celebration of Joe's life will be held on Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Northfield. Internment will be at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery at a later date.

Memorials are preferred to US Holocaust Memorial Museum (, St. Peter's Lutheran Church or St. Olaf College.

Funeral Home
Benson & Langehough Funeral Home & Cremation
201 4th St E
MN 55057-2243
(507) 645-5123
Printed Obituary
Published in the Northfield News
on April 22, 2019
Click to view a printable version