Norman Conrad Johnsen - born May 8, 1928 in Mineola, NY, son of Anne Hewel Johnsen and Conrad Gabriel Johnsen. He died July 1, 2012 at Anderson Hospital in Maryville, IL. He is survived by his wife, Carol Johnsen; son, Chris Johnsen; daughter, Jackie Johnsen Hammer and son-in-law, Jeffrey Hammer. He is also survived by two sisters, Thelma Riedel of Florida and Astrid (Attie) Sharman of New Mexico.
After graduating with a masters degree in Economics from Syracuse University, Norman moved from New York to Illinois in 1962, and was hired as an urban planner, joining with the Community Development team to assist in the planning and implementation of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. After the university was completed, he joined the faculty as a professor of Urban Planning and Local Government.
He created and led the Labor Institute bringing labor leaders to the campus and offering programs to meet their needs. He also started and headed the Institute of Housing, Renewal and Code Administration where he brought housing officials and experts from all over the country to a week-long program of professional development.
Norman also consulted and provided services to a variety of organization and communities in the region. He led a project to help community volunteers in East St. Louis build their leadership capacity; he consulted with the East West Gateway Coordinating Council; and through that relationship with the Coordinating Council, he assisted the new City of Arnold, MO in developing its planning and governance infrastructure, including preparing its first comprehensive plan.
Norman also served his hometown, the City of Edwardsville. He served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from May 1977 - May 1981 and on the Planning Commission from May 1985 though May 1989. He enjoyed many a spirited debate with his colleagues.
He was devoted to his family and his dog, and was passionate about politics, fairness and equality. He had a quick wit, sharp mind, and sharper tongue, yet he was compassionate for those less fortunate and a champion of the underdog. He strived in every aspect of his life for integrity and decency and expected the same from others.
When frustrated with local politics, he was often heard observing, "Just remember, people have a right to be stupid and they exercise that right at every opportunity."
Per his wishes, no formal viewing, visitation or burial. A gathering for friends and family will be held at home, 15 Eagle Ct. in Edwardsville, Friday, July 6th, 2-6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Siteman Cancer Institute at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Hope Rescues in Granite City, the fire department of Albertson, NY or the Glen Ed Pantry in Edwardsville.
Arrangements by Sunset Hill Funeral Home in Glen Carbon, IL.
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Published by Edwardsville Intelligencer from Jul. 5 to Jul. 6, 2012.