Carl C. Nordstrom, 103, died peacefully while sleeping on August 16, 2019 at Aldersgate Village. He was born in Topeka on March 5, 1916, to Edward and Betty Nordstrom. Carl’s father died when he was five years old leaving his mother to raise 5 children alone during the depression. This experience shaped his life. He had the highest appreciation for what he had, he knew the value of work and he viewed his purpose in life as being of service.
A graduate of Topeka High School, he attended Washburn College, graduating cum laude in 1938 and joined the staff of the Kansas Legislative Council Research Department. During WWII he attended OCS at Columbia University in New York, and served aboard the USS Ormsby, a combat attack transport in the South and Central Pacific, earning six battle stars. On his return from the war he joined the staff of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce where he served for 36 years, the last ten as Executive Director, prior to his retirement in 1982. He also served as President of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce Executives and on the Board of Advisors of the National Chamber of Commerce. He was co-founder of Leadership Kansas, the first such program in the United States.
Carl was an officer and life member of the Kansas Calvary, member of the Board of the Kansas Development Credit Corporation, the Employment Security Advisory Council and was recipient of the Governor’s Silver Stirrup Award for economic development.
Nordstrom helped found what is now the Washburn University Foundation and served on its Board of Trustees. He also served as President of the Washburn Alumni Association and received distinguished service awards from the Alumni Association, Sagamore men’s honorary society and Alpha Delta Fraternity. He was later inducted into Washburn’s Athletic Hall of Fame for tennis and received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University. In 1982 he was awarded Kansan of the Year by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.
Longtime member of University United Methodist Church, he served as Chairman of the board, Chairman of the building committee and where he and his wife served for 40 years as sponsors of the senior high group. He was past president of Topeka Fellowship, Inc., organizers of the Kansas Prayer Breakfast.
Survivors include children, Carla Hearrell and husband, Randy and Mark Nordstrom and wife, Dona; grandchildren, York and Zack Hearrell, Luke (Jodi) and Matt (Misti) Foster, Adam (Kristi) Nordstrom and Leigh (Noe) Nordstrom-Cadena.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia (Hamm) Nordstrom; a daughter, Mary Foster; and siblings, Vern, Al, Bea Green and Ruth.
The family will receive friends during a visitation on Wednesday evening, August 21, 2019 at Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka.
A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at University United Methodist Church, 1621 SW College Ave, Topeka. Burial with military honors will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, 6th & Gage.
Memorial contributions may be made to University United Methodist Church, 1621 SW College Topeka, KS 66604 or to Washburn University Foundation, 1729 SW MacVicar Ave Topeka, KS 66604.
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