John Owen Edstrom, 65, of Winona, died from lung cancer, unrelated to smoking, on Sunday, June 24, 2012. He died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family.
He was born August 31, 1946, in Winona, Minn., to Harold Edstrom and Josephine Kjelland Edstrom. He received his primary and secondary education in Winona Public Schools. He began his bachelorís degree at Lawrence University, then left to explore big-city life and study at Columbia University. After having had his fill of New York, he returned to Winona, and met the love of his life when they both had parts in a play at the College of Saint Teresa. John earned his bachelorís degree at Lawrence, and he and Frances Muraine Bowler married on August 16, 1969. He began his career as an English teacher at Winona Junior High, and left after a year to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Washington. Again unable to ignore the call of the Hiawatha River Valley, he returned
to Winona and found his lifeís work when he and his wife began the Winona Shopper in 1971. After surviving the first few very lean years, the publication grew into what is known today as The Winona Post, a thriving newspaper which has won many state and national awards for journalism and art, including many for Johnís editorial writing.
John was most at home when he was on the river hunting ducks, in the woods pursuing grouse or pheasant, or hiking along a stream fly fishing. Many dogs assisted him in these pleasures, some more ably than others. He never followed any passion halfway, and made many life friends of his fellow outdoorsmen.
Equally devoted to the people of Winona, John played a behind-the-scenes part in many political campaigns, and had prominent roles in several activities related to Winonaís business, civic and cultural life.
Never one to operate on the fringes, he shared his opinions courageously, popular or not. A lifelong learner, John subscribed to many hobbies. His pastimes included fly-tying, learning foreign languages, translating and writing poetry, playing the piano and trombone solo and in various bands and ensembles, studying the Bible, appreciating art, and reading fiction and non-fiction, especially poetry and history.
John was a member and officer of many groups. He served as president and a board member of the Minnesota Free Paper Association, and chair of the City of Winona Merit Board. He was a member of Minnesota Newspaper Association, Independent Free Papers of America, Winona Civic Association, Ducks Unlimited, Minnesota Trout Association, Eagles Club, Elks Club, Winona County Historical Society, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Pickwick Mill, and the NRA. Most recently, he and his wife were chosen to be the Grand Marshals of the Winona Steamboat Days parade.
The most remarkable thing about John was his ability to make and maintain friendships with people from all over the world, as well as locally, from many different backgrounds and political leanings. He will hold a place in the hearts of many.
John is survived by his wife, Frances; his daughters Cassidy (Angie Ause) and their son Harold, and Morgan (Dan Gish) and their daughters Peyton and Andalucia; his mother, Josephine; his siblings, Lee (Kathy), Tom (Roxanne Pergola), Nancy (Steve Bachler), and Nick (Lori); his aunt Mary; his many cousins, including Winona cousins Steve, Patty, KRS, Kate, and Kim; nieces Megan, Katie, and Jenny; nephews Luke and Jason; in-laws John Bowler, Susan Bowler, and Mary Ann Bowler, and Omaha family, especially Kay and Paul Bashus, and Mary Borowiak.
He is preceded in death by his son, John Harold (Jake); his father, Harold; his in-laws, John Bowler and Margaret Bowler; Terri Bowler; Michael Bowler; and favorite uncles Ev Edstrom and Roy Stark.
His memorial service will be Sunday, July 1, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Winona with Tom Schoen and Pastor Timothy Forester presiding. Visitation will take place Saturday, June 30, 2012, from 4-7:00 p.m. at the Fawcett-Junker Funeral Home in Winona, and one hour before the service at the church.
His honorary pallbearers will be David De Lano, Sherman Smith, Dennis McGann, Butch Beier, Roger Tollefson the Cool Guys, Dan Weis, Quinn Holtan, Mike Norris, Tom Gibson, Patrick Marek, and the staff of the Winona Post.
Memorials may be directed to the Jake Edstrom Music Scholarships at Cotter High and Winona Senior High, Winona Health Hospice, Winona County Historical Society, Minnesota Trout Association, and Great River Shakespeare Festival.
Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com. Services entrusted to Fawcett-Junker Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Winona.