Obituary for Andrew R. Een

Andrew Rogness Een, a prominent Mankato educator who served in a variety of administrative positions at Minnesota State University passed away on April 14, 2020 at the age of 98 in Northfield, MN, where he had been living with his wife Betty since 2005. Andrew was born on May 20, 1921, to Knute and Lavina (Rogness) Een in rural Mapleton, MN. Knute had emigrated with his parents from Voss, Norway, in 1884 and settled in northern Illinois, where he met Lavina, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. After their marriage in 1912, the young couple moved to Blue Earth County, MN, […]

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Andrew Rogness Een, a prominent Mankato educator who served in a variety of administrative positions at Minnesota State University passed away on April 14, 2020 at the age of 98 in Northfield, MN, where he had been living with his wife Betty since 2005.

Andrew was born on May 20, 1921, to Knute and Lavina (Rogness) Een in rural Mapleton, MN. Knute had emigrated with his parents from Voss, Norway, in 1884 and settled in northern Illinois, where he met Lavina, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. After their marriage in 1912, the young couple moved to Blue Earth County, MN, and began farming in Medo Township, where Knute had relatives.

In 1939, Andrew graduated from Pemberton High School and enrolled in what was then Mankato State Teachers College. When the United States entered the Second World War in December of his junior year, Andrew was able to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education by joining the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Immediately after graduating in 1943, he reported for active duty as a Navy Ensign. He received additional training in South Bend, IN, and Miami, FL, before being sent to the Pacific War Theater. Promoted to Navy Lieutenant (Senior Grade), he commanded a PT-type boat used for Air Sea Rescue until the end of the war.

While an undergraduate at Mankato State, Andrew had met Betty Druckenbrod of Mankato, who was a fellow member of the College Choir and the Lutheran Student Association. On February 19, 1944, they were married in Los Angeles, CA, where Andrew was temporarily stationed, and they lived in Long Beach, CA, for two months before Andrew shipped out to the Pacific. They subsequently had four children. A daughter, Andrea Ruth, was born in 1947, followed by three sons, John Andrew in 1950, Robert William in 1952, and James Rogness in 1956.

In late 1945, Andrew was mustered out of the Navy and joined Betty in Stewart, MN, where he taught high school mathematics and English until the end of the school year. He then accepted a position as High School Principal in Winnebago, MN, where after two years he was promoted to Superintendent of Schools, thereby becoming the youngest Superintendent in the entire state. After earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1951, Andrew served as Superintendent in Windom, MN, from 1953-56 and in Owatonna, MN, from 1956-58.

Andrew returned to his alma mater (which had been renamed Mankato State College) in 1958 as Associate Professor of Education and founding Director of the Wilson Campus School. In 1962 he became Associate Dean of Education, and in 1964 he assumed the dual position of College Registrar and Director of Admissions. After completing his Ph.D. in Educational Administration at the University of Minnesota in 1967, Andrew served as Associate Academic Vice President (1970-79) and Vice Provost (1979-89) of what had finally become Minnesota State University.

Throughout his career, Andrew was appreciated not only for his administrative skills but also for his ability to connect with students, teachers, and fellow administrators at a personal level. He enjoyed a strong reputation for fairness and impartiality, and he initiated the practice of providing post-career advice and counseling to Mankato State faculty members approaching retirement.

Andrew received many honors during his years in academia. As an undergraduate, he was named to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities” and later received Mankato State’s “Outstanding Alumnus Award.” In the 1950’s, following the Soviet launch of the satellite Sputnik, Andrew served as Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Department of Education committee charged with revising public-school math and science requirements. In the 1970’s, he was named an “Outstanding Leader in American Education,” and was appointed to both “Who’s Who in American College and University Administration” and “Who’s Who in America.”

Actively involved in community affairs, Andrew was a member of the Kiwanis and Rotary service clubs, and was both President of the Congregation and Sunday School Superintendent at Mankato’s Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He served as President of the Mankato Symphony Board for three years and was an Officer of the Board of the newly-formed Mankato Area Foundation for a decade.

During their retirement, Andrew and Betty spent summers at a cabin on Lake Francis in Elysian, MN, and winters at their second home in Mesa, AZ. They also enjoyed traveling the world, taking countless trips throughout the United States as well as to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean, and New Zealand.

Andrew is survived by Betty, his wife of 76 years; one daughter, Dr. Andrea Een of Northfield; three sons, Dr. John Een of New York City, Robert Een (Karin) of Los Angeles and New York City, and James Een (Melanie) of Sacramento, CA; three grandchildren, Jonathan Een Newton of Brentwood, MD, Aria Een of Davidson, NC, and Elaiya Een of Los Angeles; and seven nephews and three nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, one sister, four nephews and two nieces.

A memorial service will be held in the Chapel of the Northfield Retirement Center at a later date, with interment in Medo Lutheran Cemetery in rural Mapleton. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may send memorial gifts in Andrew’s name to the Chapel at Northfield Retirement Center, 900 Cannon Valley Drive, Northfield, MN 55057, or to a charity of their choice.

Arrangements are with Benson & Langehough Funeral Home & Cremation, Northfield. www.northfieldfuneral.com

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4 Comments

  1. gerhard knutson

    farewell for a great neighbor and friend.. love to Betty

    Reply
  2. Maureen Valley

    Andrea,

    I am so sorry to hear about your father. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I probably won’t be seeing you any time soon at the Brick Oven, hence this post. Stay well!!

    Reply
  3. Virginia Windschitl

    Dear Andrea,
    My condolences to you and your family.

    Reply
  4. Jack Clausen

    The only time I met Andrew Een was more than 50 years ago when Andrea’s family was picking her up at Galamian’s Meadowmount Summer Music School. It was an all-too-brief encounter. I deeply regret that I did not meet ….or even talk ….with him……after I reconnected with Andrea a short while ago. His contributions were substantial as an educator and administrator. And his family is fortunate indeed to have enjoyed so many years of Andrew as a loving husband and father. My special sympathy to Betty, his wife of 76 years.

    Reply

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