Joseph "Joe" Magnus Nygaard
91, formerly of Indianapolis, died May 23, 2014, in Clarkfield, Minnesota. He was born to Magnus and Irene (Krantz) Nygaard on September 13, 1922, in Bruce, Wisconsin, and raised in northwestern Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, after serving three years in the U.S. Army during World War II. While at the university, he played baseball with the team that won the Big Ten championship.
In 1946, he married Edna Hanson of Hanley Falls, Minnesota, and they began a series of moves as he assumed various teaching and administrative positions in Wisconsin and Minnesota, with one year spent on a Fulbright introducing baseball at the University of Cairo, Egypt. After earning a doctorate in school administration at the University of Wisconsin, he accepted a professorship at Butler University in 1958 teaching school administration and school law. In 1968, he was named dean of the College of Education and held that position for thirteen years. Following his deanship, he developed and launched an innovative program at Butler called the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP), which continues to provide prospective administrators with hands-on training. When he retired from Butler in 1986, he transitioned to part-time work with EPPSP until he moved back to northwestern Wisconsin in 2003.
Joe received numerous awards over the years, including a Sagamore of the Wabash, the Distinguished Hoosier Award, a proclamation of "Joseph Nygaard Day" in Indianapolis, a Bellringer Award from the Superintendent of Public Instruction, a scholarship named in his honor in the College of Education, and the prestigious Butler Medal.
Joe was a long-time active member at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Indianapolis where he served as treasurer for seventeen years. He coached youth and church baseball teams, was an avid golfer, and played a rigorous game of badminton. He and Edna traveled to all fifty states and a number of foreign countries, including five trips to Norway where they had many relatives.
He was preceded in death by Edna in 1998 and their son James. He is survived by son Jon (Maxine) of Cupertino, California, son Stephen of Indianapolis, daughter Kristin of Hanley Falls, Minnesota, four grandchildren: Kari Nygaard (Justin Brown), Erik, Anna and Isak Kispert, and sister Ramona (William) Martin. His first great-grandchild is due in October.
Visitation will be from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 526 E. 52nd St., on Monday, June 16, with a memorial service to follow at 7:00 p.m. A service of burial will be held in Hanley Falls, Minnesota, on June 21.
Memorials to the Joseph and Edna Nygaard Scholarship at Butler University, EPPSP at Butler University, or Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
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