Norman Kenneth Bakken was born in St. Croix County, Wis., on June 7, 1926, passed away on Friday, May 19, 2023, in the nursing care facility of Brandon Oaks retirement community in Roanoke, Va.
The son of Norwegian immigrants, Norman was raised in Everett, Wash. and married his childhood sweetheart Ginger in 1946.
He received his undergraduate degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and continued his education with graduate studies at Wittenberg University School of Divinity. Receiving a Master's degree in 1954, he then entered Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University in New York City. While studying there he was employed as a Teaching Fellow and served as interim pastor for Lutheran churches in Brooklyn. Completing his residence work at Union Seminary in 1958, Dr. Bakken went on to become a professor of New Testament Theology at Mt. Airy Seminary in Philadelphia and then at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in Minneapolis. He also taught Hebrew, Ancient Greek and the Gospel in contemporary literature.
In 1981, Norm and Ginger left the country to embark on a new chapter of experiencing different parts of the world. Dr. Bakken continued his teaching career in various ecumenical and Lutheran graduate schools in Brazil, India, Jamaica, Tanzania and Kuala Lumpur.
Norm enjoyed many forms of sports and exercise, and began an amateur boxing career in his teens. He was an (almost!) life-long tennis player, loved biking, sailboating, swimming and a good game of bridge.
He was an avid reader, and in recent years led discussion groups centered around literature and spiritually themed texts.
Norm was preceded in death by his wife of almost 70 years, Ginger; their first born child, Minda Marie, along with many other cherished family members and friends.
He is survived by four children, Mark, Mary, Baheru and wife, Ayalnesh, and John and his wife, Liza; five grandchildren; Marija, Tiana, Mateo, Meklit and Abel, as well as many devoted nieces, nephews and friends.
A Celebration in honor of the life of Dr. Bakken will be held at a later time, as yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Dr. Bakken's name to the Augsburg Fund. Find it online at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Augsburg University, The Augsburg Fund, 2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454.
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