Agriculture advocate, politician Norm DeBlieck dies at the age of 95

Norm DeBlieck

By Per Peterson

A man who made a local, statewide and international impact on various levels is being remembered for his work in both the political and agricultural field.

Norman DeBlieck, a veteran, politician and agricultural difference-maker, died on Dec. 24 at Hospice of Murray County in Slayton.

A complete obituary can be found on Page 11 of this week’s paper.

DeBlieck formed a special relationship with Pam Cooreman and Tam Schons back when the sisters owned Tracy Floral, which they purchased in 1995 well after DeBlieck’s public service had ended.

“We planted a garden behind the greenhouse but never had time to take care of it, so Pops (DeBlieck) — we had no idea who he was — he started taking care of the garden,” Schons recalls. “He came across the back yard to take care of our garden and we never let him go home. They (Norm and his wife, Edith) kind of became our adopted ‘Mama’ and ‘Pops.’ He always said taking care of the garden ‘kept a retired farmer off the streets.’ We kind of took him in and they took us in under their wing.”

DeBlieck also was there for the sisters after Pam’s accident at the greenhouse that left her paralyzed.

“Pam and Pops had a very close bond,” Tam said. “We both do, but Pam was definitely closer to him. Since her accident, he was amazing and did a lot of stuff with her. He was always around the greenhouse helping us. He was a very special man. He had a heart of gold, but he could be stubborn, too.”

Born near Walnut Grove and confirmed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tracy, DeBlieck began farming in 1944 and would later serve his country in the Korean War after joining the Minnesota National Guard in 1948.

After his discharge, he returned to the ag field and then delved into the world of politics, serving as chair of the Lyon County DFL.

In 1986, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, serving Minnesota’s District 27A, from 1987-1989. At that time, D27A consisted of both Lyon and Lincoln counties. While in St. Paul, his committee assignments included various Agriculture committees, Government Operations/Government Structures, Local and Urban Affairs and Transportation/Safety.

“He really enjoyed his time in the Legislature,” said DeBlieck’s son, Bruce. “He was kind of disappointed when he didn’t get re-elected, but that’s how politics is. He did accomplish a few things though.”

According to his obituary, DeBlieck was called by then-Gov. Rudy Perpich to represent Minnesota in Panama and Honduras on a fact-finding mission. He would also travel to Europe and Germany to inspect military installations in those areas. Bruce said, as part of the National Farmers Organization, his father spent a lot of time with farmers during troubling times in the 1960s.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.