John Metzke, 71, Northfield

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, November 13, 2013

John T. Metzke, 71, of Northfield, died on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday. Both the funeral and visitation will be at Bierman Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

John Metzke

John Metzke

John Metzke was born Sept. 19, 1942, in St. Peter to Carl and Mary (Bakalyar) Metzke. He graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1960. He went on to Mankato State College where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1964. He taught social studies in Simi Valley, Calif., for several years before returning to Minnesota, where he taught geography and social studies at Northfield Middle School from 1968 until his retirement in 2000. He earned a Master of Science degree in 1973 from Mankato State, coached track at Northfield High School and was active in the Minnesota Council of Social Studies. He was a member of the Cannon Valley Sportsman’s Club and the Morristown Gun Club. In these organizations he continued to be an educator, teaching fishing, gun safety and trap shooting to middle and high school students.

John married Maggie Odell on June 29, 2002. He was very dedicated to supporting her teaching and scholarship. Their projects in recent years included fixing up an old house, raising chickens and establishing a vegetable garden in their backyard. Especially with the years-long project of enriching the garden soil, he taught Maggie patience. They shared a love of music and took pleasure in his growing family of stepgrandchildren, grandnieces and grandnephews. In a previous marriage to Christine Ellison, John was a good dad to Aaron and Kimberly Tilock. Christine wrote, “neither they nor I will forget how he let them into his life. He taught them so many important skills that they will take with them forever — from parallel parking to looking at the world through open unbiased eyes. He encouraged them to always do their best and to have the courage and confidence to go out on their own and explore the world around them.” Through quiet, gentle persistence, John touched many lives in Northfield, and he will be greatly missed.

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John is survived by his wife, Maggie Odell; stepchildren Aaron (Tasha) Tilock of Falls Church, Va., and Kimberly Tilock and husband, Matthew Lovick, of Nairobi, Kenya; sisters Carol (Robert) Erickson of Mission, Texas, and Marilyn (Bill) Danielsen of Albert Lea; four stepgrandchildren Alexander, Gavin, Spencer and Quinn; and four nieces and nephews Staci (Jay) Waltman of Albert Lea, Brendan (Carrie) Danielsen of Burnsville, Cheryl (Don) Rodriguez of Hulto, Texas, and Darla Robinson of Austin, Texas. John is also survived by many cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents and by many aunts and uncles.

Funeral arrangements are by the Bierman Funeral Home in Northfield.