John Schwartau, 89John Henry Schwartau, 89, of Red Wing, died Friday, Oct. 12, at the Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing.
John Henry Schwartau, 89, of Red Wing, died Friday, Oct. 12, at the Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Wing.
He was born on Dec. 21, 1922, in Red Wing, to John Carsten and Ida (Bleckman) Schwartau. He graduated in 1940 from Red Wing Central High School and then attended the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture.
On Feb. 1, 1946, he married Bernice Gustafson at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Welch. They farmed 1946 to 1987 in Featherstone Township on their century farm until his retirement. Research on this farm contributed to GPS/GIS use for fertilization/yield mapping used in farming today. In 1997, they moved to Red Wing.
John devoted his life to family and the wider community, giving leadership and service in areas of health care, political campaigns, agricultural and historical efforts. He was chairman of the following organizations: Goodhue County Dairy Improvement Association, Featherstone Town Board, Goodhue County Township Officers Association, Goodhue County Farm Bureau, and Minnesota Suffolk Sheep Association. He served as a 4-H project leader for the Featherstone Boosters and was active with St. John's Lutheran Church - Red Wing, South East Farm Management Association, U of M Parents Association, Kiwanis, and Golden-K. He was named 1984 Goodhue County Citizen of the Year.
He was also active with the Goodhue County Historical Society, Goodhue Area Historical Society, Minnesota State Historical Society, Red Wing Collectors Society, Cannon Valley Collectors, and Midwest Tool Collectors. He was a collector of vintage tools, pottery, and memorabilia, and enjoyed giving rope-making demonstrations. He photographed more than 300 historical barns of Goodhue County for its historical society. John and Bernice conducted research and fundraising to recognize the first area potter, John Paul, and the Claybank clay pits with a historical marker on Highway 58.
John chaired the St. John's Hospital Board of Trustees during 7 of his 20 years on the board, following in the footsteps of his uncle and his great-grandfather John Gerdau, who was one of the founders of the hospital. Because of his interest and leadership in health care service and agriculture, John was asked to serve both on the U of MN Institute of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics Citizen Advisory Council and the U of MN Health Science Advisory Council.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Bernice; one daughter, Judy Schwartau of Minneapolis; one sister, Kathryn Matthees of Moorhead, Minn.; one brother-in-law, Don (Joyce) Gustafson of Red Wing; special cousin, Dorothy (Don) Anderson of Cannon Falls; and many other cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three sisters, Mary Egbert, Gertrude Helms, and Ruth Cain.
Funeral will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Red Wing, with Rev. Todd Engel officiating. Burial will be in the Hope Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel, and at the church for 1 hour prior to the service. Memorials are preferred to St. John's Church - Red Wing, Goodhue County Historical Society, Goodhue Area Historical Society, Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Minnesota Foundation Scholarship Fund, or donor's choice.