Neil Morem, 85, once of Harmony
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 10:13 AM
Neil Roderick Morem, 85, once of Harmony, suffered a massive stroke and died Friday, March 15, 2013, in Naples, Fla.
He was born April 5, 1927, to Geolene (Gay) and Tillman (Till) Morem in Harmony. He attended Harmony High School until he enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1945. His parents received his diploma because he left school to join the Navy.
In 1946, he was released from his duties (helping to decommission ships after the war). He then attended school at Winona State College and the University of Minnesota where he received his business degree in 1949. He and some classmates bought a small house near the football stadium and lived there while going to school. They called it Harmony House after their hometown.
He married Joan Clarice Kanne in 1951. Harmony House served as their first home as a married couple. He then graduated from law school in 1952 and was hired by Northwestern National Life Insurance. A year later, Green Giant hired him as its very first in-house attorney.
He was very proud of his decades of work at the Green Giant Company. At his retirement, he had been the company's senior vice president and general counsel. Over many years, he represented Green Giant at trade and industry conferences and conventions around the nation. He kept in close contact with the Leo Burnett agency, making sure all Green Giant TV commercials and print ads met the company's needs.
In order to keep Mr. Morem's executive skills sharp, Green Giant sent him to Harvard Business School where he took the three-month Advanced Management Program in 1974.
After he took early retirement from Green Giant, he joined John Schmidt's law firm in Le Sueur. When Schmidt was named a judge, Mr. Morem became the sole practitioner. He handled many estates and court cases over the years until his retirement.
He was very active in the business community, joining many professional associations, including the Minnesota Bar Association, and becoming the president of the Minnesota Association of Commerce and Industry.
Mr. Morem was involved in and led many community endeavors during his working years, including planning and building the hospital (now the Minnesota Valley Health Center) and the Le Sueur Community Center. He thoroughly enjoyed watching hockey games and wanted his sons to play, so he was one of the main forces behind building an ice rink and a hockey program in Le Sueur. He arranged for the high school's first varsity team to get uniforms through Green Giant.
He was also very proud to have served as chairman of the board of the Cosgrove Fund for many years. The Fund has helped support many activities and organizations in Le Sueur since its inception.
He was a member of the Le Sueur Rotary Club. He also served as a member of the Le Sueur Planning Commission and was appointed to the city council for part of a term.
He was a devout member of the Le Sueur Presbyterian Church. He served as an elder and in other leadership roles over the decades.
He belonged to the Torske Klubben men's club in Minneapolis and in the Phoenix area where he wintered for years. He and his wife took two trips to Norway to sightsee, explore the areas where their ancestors came from, and do some genealogical research. They met several distant relatives at what had been one of the original Morem farms. He also thoroughly enjoyed eating lefse, Norwegian meatballs, and other Norwegian treats.
He also loved to fish, so he took his family up to Otter Tail Lake every summer where he caught many sizeable walleyes. Later, he and his wife bought two tiny cabins on a lake in Nisswa, Minn., connected them with a new great room, and continued to add on until they were sure there was plenty of room for guests. This became their retirement home.
He is survived by his wife, Joan; six children, Philip (Deborah), Sally, Judith (partner Eric Oie), David (Debra), Jon (Debra) and Kurt Morem (Jeannie); seven grandchildren, Andrew (Emalee), Katelyn, Ashley, Amanda, Aaron, Ryan, and Clayton Morem; a brother, Donald (Arlene); a sister, Marjorie (Erik) Ellingson; a brother-in-law, Miles (Marge) Kanne, and many nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Curtis; a sister-in-law, Peggy Morem; a sister-in-law, Helen Arnott and her husband, Hermon.
A memorial service will be held later this spring. Burial will take place at Greenfield Cemetery in Harmony