John "Johnny" Nordeen '57 January 11, 2022 3:08 PM updated: January 20, 2022 3:07 PM
John Edward Nordeen
November 5, 1935 - January 8, 2022
John Edward Nordeen, age 86, was born to Raymond Royal and Lois Wilson Nordeen on November 5, 1935, in El Campo, Texas. He passed away peacefully in his home on January 8, 2022 with his wife by his side. Johnnie, as he was known by all, was recognized by his infectious smile, his sense of humor and above all else his love for his family.
Johnnie, an avid Ricebird and Aggie fan, was the quarterback and co-captain of the El Campo High School football team before graduating in 1953. From there he attended Texas A & M College where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, Company “Battlin” B Infantry. He entered as a member of the class of ‘57 and graduated with a degree in Business.
Upon graduation, 2nd Lieutenant Nordeen married the love of his life, Gloria Frels, on June 28, 1958. After serving six months at Fort Benning, Georgia and Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, the Nordeens returned to El Campo where their three children were born and raised. While farming rice, Johnnie also operated the Frels Truckline and became co-owner of The Sports Center. After a brief retirement in 1991, he became a rice grader with the Rice Marketing Association until 2016.
Johnnie was very involved in the El Campo community and Texas A&M. He was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist church of El Campo. He belonged to the Aggie Club, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Association and the Texas A&M Association of Former Students. Within the community, he was a member and past President of the El Campo Country Club and the Little League, a member of the Elks Lodge and Ricebird Booster Club, and one of the founding members of the “Morales Hunting Club”.
Johnnie was an amazing man. He received his pilot’s license at the age of fifteen and later in life built a 16-foot scooter boat in his garage. Among his many accomplishments, Johnnie liked to talk about his three hole-in-ones and his trophy fish caught off the end of the pier at his beloved bay house in Port Alto, Texas. He loved golfing, fishing, playing dominos, and tending his summer garden. He looked forward to picking up his golf buddies for their daily cup of coffee. He enjoyed listening and singing to country music, but his signature song was the “Julida Polka.”
His legacy is the memories of his storytelling, his wonderful sense of humor, and his attendance at all the sporting events and other activities of his children and grandchildren. Johnnie was always a true gentleman, a proud Aggie, and most of all a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Gloria; daughter, Tamara Sommerlatte; son, Brett Nordeen and wife Dawn; son-in-law, Rocky Hamman; grandchildren, Bradley Hamman ‘07, Klay King, Katie Hamman Gonzalez, Kenna King Nielsen, Matthew Hamman, Kara King, Jessica Nordeen, John David Nordeen, Kenny Gustafson, and Samantha Sommerlatte; 7 great-grandchildren; brothers-in-law, Kenny Frels and wife Marsha and A.W. Tvrdik; sisters-in-law, Shirley Nordeen and Kathy Frels.
He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Debra Hamman; son-in-law, Keith Sommerlatte; brother, Raymond R. Nordeen, Jr.; brother-in-law, Harvey Frels ‘70; sisters-in-law, Joyce Barker and Carolyn Tvrdik.
The service celebrating Johnnie’s life was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 15, 2022, at First United Methodist Church in El Campo, Texas, with Reverend Richard Young officiating. Graveside services followed at Garden of Memories Cemetery with military honors under the auspices of the American Legion Post 251.
Pallbearers were his grandsons, and honorary pallbearers were his granddaughters.
Donations in memory of John Nordeen may be made to the First United Methodist Church, Houston Hospice-El Campo, or the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association, corpsofcadets.org