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Obituary: Carl Nordstrom ’45

Carl Nordstrom, 91, who devoted his life to education and social justice, died at his home in Franklin, NY Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, after suffering a stroke on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010.

Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 28, 1919, he was one of the three children of Evert and Frieda Nordstrom. He graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. At the outbreak of World War II, he was drafted into the Army and served as a tank commander in Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star for courageous and meritorious service and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Carl married fellow Antioch student Jane Schmid on July 3, 1943. He took advantage of the G.I. Bill and continued his education, earning a master's degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research. He was a professor of Economics and Social Science at Brooklyn College for 25 years.

Carl and Jane lived and raised four daughters in Nyack, NY. Upon his retirement, he and Jane moved to Peru, Mass., where the two took up second and third careers as country mice, writers and makers of cheese and maple syrup.

Both enjoyed long-distance running. While living in Peru, Carl began coaching high school cross country and continued coaching high schoolers until last year. Most recently he coached the shot put at Franklin High School.

Carl was a strong advocate for racial and gender equity and a noted author. His last book, which eloquently addressed these issues, was "Nyack in Black and White" published in 2005. While living in Peru, and Franklin, Carl served on local planning boards and served as chairman of the Berkshire County Regional Planning Commission. Carl and Jane settled in Franklin in 1990.

A tireless traveler, Carl visited remote corners of the globe where he participated in archeological digs and studied Qigong. He continued his overseas adventures into his late 80s.

His wife, Jane, died last May while on vacation in Croatia.

Carl was exceedingly generous to his friends, his children and especially his grandchildren. His motto was: "Millions for education and travel, but not one cent for weddings."

Carl leaves three daughters, Carla Nordstrom of Franklin and New York City, Rebecca Nordstrom of Amherst, Mass., and Martha Nordstrom of Ellsworth, Maine; three granddaughters, Lila Nordstrom of Los Angeles, Calif., Rebecca Fay of Binghamton and Susanna Fay of Ellsworth, Maine. A fourth daughter, Claudia Larcombe, of Santa Fe, N.M., died two years ago.

Gifts in Carl's memory may be made to Franklin Emergency Squad or the Franklin Stage Company. Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting the website Arrangements are by the Kenneth L. Bennett Funeral Home, Franklin.