Jordan Johnson, the nephew of Dr. Norman Luebkeman, remembers his uncle as a kind and gentle man.
“I don’t know anyone who didn’t like and respect him,” Johnson said. “He was all about his church and his family and his faith and about the practical application of that.”
When Norman died in 2015, he left the majority of his estate, in excess of $2,000,000, to charity—with over $216,000 going to the Ranch. The gift supports the Hope in the Heartland Campaign for the expansion of the Fargo campus to include a gym, nutrition center, and chapel. The Ranch will recognize the gift through the naming of the Science classroom on the Fargo campus. A plaque outside the classroom will read, “The Science Classroom is dedicated to the Glory of God in the memory of Dr. Norman Luebkeman.”
Norman learned about the Ranch, a Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), through his church. Norman was a life-long devoted member of the LCMS, first as a member of the church his father founded, Grace Lutheran Church in Hayward, CA, and then as a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Danville, CA.
Johnson said, “Norman embraced the philosophy and underlying mission of the Ranch. Apart from being a doctor, he was very interested in education and youth in general. When he retired, he mentored a lot of kids through his interest in boxing.”
As a long-time fan of boxing, Norman assisted several youth boxing programs. He served as an attending fight doctor at amateur bouts, traveling with the U.S. team throughout the U.S. and to England, Thailand, and Ireland. His visit to Ireland came at the invitation of the Irish Boxing Association after he diagnosed one of their fighters, who was in the U.S. for a match, with a potentially fatal condition. He was recognized as “Physician of the Year” in 1994 by USA Boxing, but was most proud of the young men he mentored.
Johnson said, “He had a lot of acquaintances that might have started on the wrong side of the tracks—he helped them attain a good family life and good future.”
Norman’s gift will allow children and families to find professional care, compassionate expertise and new possibilities at the Ranch. Through his gift, he will help children find their value and true identity in the world and in Christ.
“My uncle, Norman, had a deep affinity for children, and he really appreciated the overall mission and philosophy that guides Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.”