John O. Gilbert
Age 76, Mpls, MN (formerly of Appleton, WI) died on April 6, 2019, following complications of Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson's Disease. Born on August 30, 1942 in Morris, MN to Oren and Thelma (Hall) Gilbert. Baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith at First Lutheran Church in Morris, MN.
Preceded in death by parents. Survived by loving wife of 52 years, Marilyn Erickson Gilbert; son Brad Gilbert; daughter Erica Gilbert; grandsons Bailey and Dylan; sister Carole (Norlin) Boyum; nephew John Boyum; niece Stephanie Boyum; sisters-in-law Ilo (Gary) Diehl, Shirley (Ray) Gummer, Lois Erickson; and many other family members and friends.
John graduated from Morris (MN) High School in 1960 and from the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) in 1964. He met his future wife while at UMM and they married on November 26, 1966. He attended graduate school at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and earned an MBA degree from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He also received a Doctor of Science degree (honoris causa) from UWO and was a recipient of the UWO Distinguished Alumni Award. John began his career in the life insurance industry in 1965 at AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) in Appleton, WI where he served in many and varying roles. He was appointed Chairman, President and CEO in 1996. It was while in that role he was instrumental in the merger of AAL and Lutheran Brotherhood to create Thrivent Financial (Appleton, WI and Minneapolis, MN) where he also served as Chairman until his retirement in 2005.
John served numerous industry, community and non-profit organizations in roles ranging from board member to benefactor, including the Habitat for Humanity International Board of Directors. His leadership was crucial in bringing to fruition the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, WI.
His life was guided by his strong Lutheran faith. Both his professional and personal lives reflected integrity and humility. He served in many capacities in his local congregations and the Lutheran church at large. Together he and Marilyn were generous philanthropists and fundraisers for many charitable causes.
Above all, John loved and cherished his family. Following his children's and grandson's sporting events was a highlight of his life. He had great interest in current events and enjoyed being in his workshop. He and Marilyn also enjoyed traveling, watching Big 10 sports, relaxing at their cottage in northern Wisconsin, and driving their Corvettes.
He was a member at Advent Lutheran Church. The funeral will be held at Advent (9475 Jefferson Highway, Maple Grove, MN 55369) on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be two hours prior to the service at the church. Memorials can be directed to Habitat for Humanity International (121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA 31709-3498), Advent Lutheran Church, or a charity of donor's choice if so desired.
Glen Haven Chapel 763-533-8643