A memorial Mass for Glenn Amundsen will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rochester, with the Rev. Mark McNea officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the Mass.
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Glenn B. Amundsen, a well-respected local track coach and lifelong Rochester resident, died at the age of 78, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. He will be fondly remembered and much missed.
Glenn was born in Rochester on Dec. 24, 1935, to Norma M. Evans Amundsen and Glenn O. Amundsen. He graduated from Rochester High School 1953. He attended RCC and Hamline University in St. Paul, before joining the U.S. Air Force and serving in Japan with the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. While overseas, he competed on the Air Force track and field and football traveling teams, winning both Pacific and U.S. Air Force titles. Returning stateside, he took a job at the City of Rochester in their engineering office where he worked until his retirement in 1994. He married Doris M. Kochenderfer on July 27, 1963, at St. Pius Church in Rochester.
Glenn enjoyed many hobbies throughout his life, pursuing each of them with his special combination of energy and devotion. As a young man, he was active in the fledgling Rochester Civic Theatre and garnered praise for his portrayal of Happy Loman in "Death of a Salesman," and as Luther Billis, the great comic role, in "South Pacific." He was also instrumental in the formation of the Rochester Track Club and the All-Comers Track Meets.
After his retirement, he spent much of his time painting, drawing, woodworking and woodcarving, often with the family's Golden Retrievers at his side. Recently, he devoted several hours each day to designing and constructing intricate wooden boats and airplanes. Always an early adapter, Glenn loved new technology and would use it in both his artwork and his coaching.
His greatest passion, though, was reserved for his work with youth sports; coaching youth football and basketball, as well as shot putters and discus throwers. For many years, he volunteered to coach high school track athletes from across southeastern Minnesota; he'd assist any athlete who had the drive and desire to improve their throwing technique. His innovative and motivational coaching style led to great success for his athletes. Under his thoughtful tutelage, athletes went on to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as well as to successful college track and field careers at Purdue and Oregon among others. Over the years, he coached 12 athletes to 16 Minnesota State Track and Field championships.
His decade at Stewartville High School was, perhaps, the highlight of his coaching career. The Glenn Amundsen Invitational Track Meet, held in Stewartville each year, is named in his honor. Among his great joys was seeing athletes that he'd coached become coaches for the next generation.
Glenn is survived by Doris, his wife of 50 years; his daughter, Michele Lee of Danbury, Conn.; and his elder sister, Margit.
Memorials are suggested to the family.
Macken Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Online condolences are welcome at mackenfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Post-Bulletin on Feb. 19, 2014