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Norm Lindblad

February 21, 1936  – April 10, 2020


We are grateful for what we learned and how our lives were enriched because of the unique life of Norm Lindblad. Norm Lindblad was a hard worker, proud Swede, Global Citizen, and lifelong learner with a great sense of humor. He was born on the Southside of Chicago in 1936 the only child of Swedish immigrants.  He attended Ruggles Grade School, represented his school on the WLS Quiz Down show and led the Safety Patrol. At Hirsch High he enjoyed Science and played basketball and softball with a Church League while making a little money as a soda jerk and stock boy at Kirschenbaum Drug Store. The family were active in the Evangelical Covenant Church and he enjoyed Summer Church Camps at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.


At the University of Illinois Norm majored in Metallurgy and helped pay his college bills by delivering milk during the summer. Upon graduation in 1958 he worked briefly at Inland Steel before he was drafted, joined the Navy, and was sent to Officer Candidate School in Newport Rhode Island.  During his his three years in the Navy Norm served as Nuclear Weapons Officer for his Squadron on USS Ranger Aircraft Carrier in the Far East, taught at the Naval Air Intelligence School in Washington, DC, and met his wife Judy O’Neill, aide to Representative Morris Udall of Arizona, at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church during coffee hour. They married in 1962 and had 3 children and 6 grandchildren.


Norm worked for the General Electric Company in Schenectady, NY and Cincinnati, OH developing high temperature alloys for gas turbines and jet engines.  He has five patents and found the work challenging and interesting. His final assignment was on a collaborative development team tasked to create a “High Speed Civil Transport” that could fly to Asia from the US in six hours. Norm’s management skills helped competitor Pratt Whitney, GE, and NASA work together and make progress; but money was shifted to the Space Station in 1997 and Norm decided to retire in 1998 at 62.


This allowed time for trips with each of the six grandchildren, Winters in Tucson and Summers in Long Beach Indiana (corn hole anyone?), while taking classes and volunteering in community service with churches wherever he was.  His thoughtfulness and caring for the least of these was noted and appreciated.


In 2005 Norm summarized a bit of his life journey in this way:  “From 108 degrees in Tucson to -22 degrees F in Schenectady we survived – ballgames and skiing and great kids. Ran into Ecumenical Institute in 1967 which changed our thinking and life directions for the last 38 years.  Took a Global Odyssey in 1974 and between the two of us, we’ve been in over 30 countries and will hit our 50th State (Alaska) in two weeks with our oldest grandchild.”


Another note found recently in his files: “I led an engineering group at GE.  I used our ICA methods and enabled staff to come up with their own decisions, not just management. They bought into engagement and using their own ideas and plans for new engine developments for the future.  It was great to see people creating the future and not waiting for management to tell them what to do.”  I received a sympathy card this week from one of Norm’s team who commented on how effective and enjoyable Norm was to work with and called him a “Butterfly Effect “ manager…quiet, soft wings flapping and big results.

Norman R. Lindblad passed April 10, 2020 in Cincinnati, OH after almost 10 years of Alzheimer’s disease challenges, during which he took up painting and drawing, hiking, and attending grandchildren’s soccer matches, musical programs, and plays.  Norm used to describe giving to the ICA as getting more bang for your buck!  We have felt we are supporting Approaches that Work and collaborative action as ICA thinks ahead comprehensively and risks pioneering the new that is needed…good reasons for giving.