Judge Noah Rosenbloom: a man of many interests

NEW ULM – Judge Noah Rosenbloom was remembered this week as a thoughtful and fair jurist, an avid historian and a man of many interests, ranging from building airplanes to building fireplaces in his home.

Rosenbloom died Wednesday at the age of 89 at Reflections on German in New Ulm.

Rosenbloom served on the Fifth Judicial District Court in Brown County from 1963 to 1990, a 27-year tenure that made him one of the longest serving judges in the county. He had practiced law with his father, Eli Rosenbloom, in Redwood Falls before being appointed to the bench.

Terry Dempsey, an attorney who argued many cases before Judge Rosenbloom before being appointed himself as a District Judge in Watonwan County, recalled Rosenbloom as a judge who “made hard decisions, but he never gave you the feeling that he was against you or he was going to argue with you. His attitude was that both sides had the right to be heard, but once he made a decision, there wasn’t much you could do to change his mind. He was very thorough at explaining why he made his decision.”

Demspey said that Rosenbloom was respected by attorneys who practiced in his courtroom for his fairness, and for his even-handed consideration.

“Sometimes you go away from court mad because you think the judge was against you, but Noah never gave you that feeling,” said Dempsey.

One of Rosenbloom’s successors on the court was John Rodenberg, who served as District Court Judge in New Ulm before being appointed to the Minnesota Appeals Court.

“He was a wonderful, thoughtful judge, and a great historian on the history of the District Court,” said Rodenberg. “He remembered how it had all happened, and who had served in the district.

“It was an honor to be a successor to the seat he held,” Rodenberg said.

Rosenbloom kept vast and detailed logs of the cases he had heard, said Rodenberg, and had the ability to remember cases and the people who had appeared before him. Often, when a person would appear before Rosebloom again, even years later, Rosenbloom would have notes from the previous cases before him.

One time, when Rosenbloom was serving as a visiting judge in northern Minnesota, according to Rodenberg, a man came before him who had appeared in a previous case back in New Ulm. Rosenbloom remembered the man and the case even though it had happened years before.

Rosenbloom was a man of many interests. An aviation enthusiast since his college days at the University of Minnesota, Rosenbloom started building his own airplane in his basement after retirement.

Linus Guggisberg, a fellow flying enthusiast who had assisted Rosenbloom on his plane project, recalls when the Mankato flying club they both belonged to took a tour of members who were building planes.

“When we went to Noah’s house, he was very proud of the plane, and also of the fireplaces he had built in the basement and the first floor,” said Guggisberg. “There was a beautiful granite wall with the fireplace, and another one upstairs that he had built. He said he had granite shipped in from St. Cloud or someplace, and in the morning he’d get up and lay some stone until it was time to go to court, then he’d hop on his bicycle and peddle to the courthouse.”

Guggisberg said Rosenbloom was well-known for bicycling wherever he had to go.

“When the city extended North Highland Avenue out to Highway 14, with all the sidewalks and curb cuts, and no houses, people would talk about why they would do that. We all thought it was so Noah could bike out to the airport without having to peddle down to Garden Street,” Guggisberg said.

“He is definitely going to be missed,” said Guggisberg. “He was a true gentleman in the best sense of the word.”

Services for Rosenbloom will be held at the Nora Unitarian Universalist Church in Hanska tomorrow, at 2 p.m. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. today at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home North Chapel at Broadway and 3rd North St., and from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Sunday at the funeral home, and from 1 to 2 p.m. at the church on Sunday.

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