Nov. 7 was a sad day in Duluth. On that dark day, Dennis Norlander, one of the pioneers of the Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority, or Duluth HRA, passed away at the age of 86.
Dennis had served in a number of capacities with the Duluth HRA and performed his duties with a competence and an expertise few people can muster. Always an advocate for and a defender of the needs and the rights of both the public and his staff, Dennis championed the cause of public housing for those in need and led the agency with a charm and wit only he possessed.
I had the honor and privilege of working with and for Dennis for almost 20 years, and his demeanor and his leadership were an inspiration for me. Although he retired more than 25 years ago, his work, his legacy, and his memory are still relevant today. The Duluth HRA was nationally recognized for its housing program innovations during his tenure. Even more impressive is how those who knew him still hold him in esteem as a human being after all these years.
Dennis has moved on to a better place. Thanks to him, thousands of people have been able to move to better places in Duluth.
Dennis Norlander may be gone, but he certainly is not — and never should be — forgotten.