Obituary of Gordon M. "Mike" Pieschel
Gordon M. (Mike) Pieschel was born on June 22, 1927 in Springfield, Minnesota, the son of Frank E. and Olivia (Gamble) Pieschel. He attended St. Raphael Elementary School in Springfield and graduated from Springfield Public High School. Following service in the U.S. Navy during WW2 he attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and graduated in 1950 with a major in Economics. He attended Georgetown University Law School and received his LLB degree in 1952. He also was a graduate of the Midwest School of Banking in 1958.
On May 29, 1953 Mike was united in marriage with Shirley Joanne (Jodi) Thommen of Minneapolis at the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Minneapolis. During their 65 years of marriage they were blessed with 5 wonderful children, Brian, Paul, Peggy, Mary, and Martha, 15 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.
Mike began his career in banking at the Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Springfield in June 1953 where he served in all levels including teller, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. He retired from active leadership in 1994 and remained as Chairman of the Board until 2014. He was very active for many years in banking association activities, served as President of the Minnesota Bankers Association in 1974-75, and also served on the MBA Board as well as on numerous MBA committees including Chairman of its Legislative Committee. He saw the importance to the industry of political action involvement and helped to establish MinnBankPac, the Minnesota Bankers Political Action Committee, where he served as its Chairman. He also served as Chairman of the American Bankers Association National Political Action Committee as well as on other ABA committees including its Government Relations Committee. Mike also served as an instructor at the Minnesota School of Banking at St. Olaf College. He served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors of Northern State Power Company and on the Board of Forward Minnesota, and economic development organization.
In 1964, Mike acquired ownership of the Ochs Brick and Tile Company of Springfield, with offices in Minneapolis and Fargo, and operated the company for many years. Mike was also very active in the community affairs of his beloved hometown of Springfield. He was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, served many years as City Treasurer, and was a member of the founding Board of the Springfield Community Hospital and served on it for many years as Chairman. He helped organize the first Economic Development Group in the city and was its initial Chairman, and also was active in the Chamber of Commerce for many years. He was an active member of the Springfield Historical Society. Mike was an organizing member of the Springfield Golf Club, served as its President and helped organize several long running golf tournaments. Mike was a Grand Knight and also the Financial Secretary of the Knights of Columbus Council. He was active in St. Raphael Catholic Church where he was a Lector and Communion Distributor. He was a recipient of the Bishops Medal of Service. He was a continuous member of the American Legion Post since 1953 and served as Chairman of Springfield’s Centennial Celebration. Mike had a great love for his hometown and in 2013 received its Spirit of Springfield Award.
In 1995 Mike and Jodi established The Pieschel Family Fund of the Minnesota Foundation with a million-dollar endowment designed to enhance the quality of life in the Springfield Community through provision of financial support for its institutions and organizations.
Mike and Jodi maintained a lake home in Alexandria, MN where they enjoyed entertaining their children, grandchildren, and friends, and also spent their winters in San Diego. They loved to travel and made many trips to destinations around the globe. Mike loved all active sports, especially skiing, golfing, tennis, and hunting, but above all he loved his family, and was a great supporter and teaser of his children and grandchildren.
Mike is survived by his wife, Jodi; 4 children, Paul (Sharon) Pieschel of Springfield, Peggy (Matt) Van Hoomissen of Prior Lake, Mary (Tom) Esselman of Kansas City, MO, and Martha Pieschel of Norwood Young America; and 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Brian; brother, Denis; and sisters, Kathleen (Louis) Klabunde and Rosanne Pieschel.
Memorials are preferred to - St. John Circle of Care, Springfield Education Foundation, or Springfield Historical Society.