John Thorn Wangberg, 58, of Cass Lake died Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 at his home.
Memorial Services will be 3:30 pm Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 at the First Lutheran Church in Bemidji, MN. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home of Bemidji.
John was born Nov. 13, 1954, in Madison, Minnesota, the son of Reuben and Harriet (Thorn) Wangberg. At the age of 5, John moved with his family to Thief River Falls where his father was the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. John was an avid athlete participating in football and track in high school and hockey in high school and college. He graduated from Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls in 1973 and from Concordia College, Moorhead, in 1977, with majors in Physical Education and Social Studies. He spent many summers working for Pathways Bible Camps at Minne-Wa-Kan and Emmaus. John taught in Sleepy Eye for three years. He married Vicki Lynn Anderson on December 30, 1978, in East Grand Forks. Their marriage was blessed with three wonderful boys: Ben, Stephen, and David.
In 1980 John and Vicki moved to Bemidji to teach. John taught at various elementary schools for the Bemidji school district. He loved being a coach for many sports including Girls Track and Bantam Hockey, winning the state tournament in 1983. A special joy for John was coaching his sons in Bemidji Youth Hockey. He was the Bemidji Junior Varsity Hockey coach and then the head coach for 5 years. Later, 2008-2009, he returned to be an assistant coach for varsity hockey. He also coached his son David in Special Olympics.
Golfing was a passion for John, and he was a member of the Bemidji Town and Country Club since 1980. He loved hunting with his boys and friends at the hunting shack. John grew up spending time at his familys cabin in the summer, and he felt at home on the water. He enjoyed fishing, waterskiing, and cruising the lake with family and friends, including trips to Star Island. Nieces and nephews loved playing games with Uncle John as he turned ordinary days into fun events. John was a life-long learner and used new skills in building and landscaping his home. He loved crossword puzzles and brain teasers. He relished traveling with his wife and experiencing good theater, musicals, and movies. Above all, John was dedicated to his family and was at peace when he was with them.
He is survived by his wife Vicki of Cass Lake, 3 sons- J. Benjamin (Lindsey) Wangberg of Bemidji, Stephen (Katharine) Wangberg of Shevlin, David Wangberg of Cass Lake, a granddaughter Olivia and a granddaughter due soon, 5 siblings- Paul (Wendy) Wangberg, Coral Springs, FL; Eunice Phillips, Ypsilanti, MI; Rolf (Pat) Wangberg, Rochester, MN; Joayne (Alan) Judson, Park Rapids, MN; Mark (Vickie) Wangberg, Bemidji, MN; He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother-in-law Donald Phillips.
Memorials preferred to Pathways Bible Camps, Bemidji Special Olympics, or American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association. Messages of condolence may be left at ceasefuneralhome.com.