Norman D. Fintel, 92, retired President of Roanoke College, passed from this life into the Lord’s keeping on Friday, April 7, 2017, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born on Wednesday, January 21, 1925, to Nora and Ernst Fintel in California. Norm grew up on a farm near Deshler in southern Nebraska and his life was formed deeply in a strong German Lutheran tradition that called him to a life of service.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jeanette (Jo) Kosbau Fintel, who was the light of his life and a lifetime partner in all their adventures. He is also survived by their children, Peggy Fintel Horn and her husband, Doug, Barbara Fintel Collins and her husband, Greg, and William Fintel and his wife, Connie; as well as 9 grandchildren, Julie Fintel Stokes, Leslie Horn Clark, Andrew Fintel, Stephen Fintel, Robert Horn, Michael Fintel, Nora Collins, David Fintel and Jeanette Collins; and 6 great-grandchildren. His wife and extended family were a great joy and support for him.
Norm graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in 1953. He attained his Masters in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a PH.D. in Higher Education from the University of Minnesota. Norm’s vision for merging higher education with moral based leadership is seen on Lutheran campuses across the nation. More broadly his calling was to guide those around him to live lives of purpose and meaning. For him that meant helping young people find their vocations through a liberal arts education.
A committed servant leader, Norman assembled a talented team of colleagues who together developed the first strategic plan at Roanoke College. He set them free to realize that plan, which led to a transformative time in the life of the college. The college thrived with advancing enrollment, faculty, endowment, academics and national recognition. At the same time he strengthened the college’s relation to the Lutheran Church and to its historic Christian heritage. Retiring from Roanoke in 1975, Norm and Jo successfully took on several interim presidencies at other Lutheran colleges who were facing serious challenges. In 1979, he and Jo were invited to spend 5 months working with Bishop Qweka to work with building the strength of the Lutheran Church and its services for the people.
In recent years they moved to the Brandon Oaks Retirement Community, where they delighted old and new friends with their presence.
Though Norman would be the last to claim such praise, it is quite likely that on that Great Day the Lord will greet him with: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)
A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2017, in the Antrim Chapel at Roanoke College. A reception will follow, also at the College.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to The Fintel Scholarship at Roanoke College. Online condolences may be conveyed to the family at www.johnmoakey.com.