Daniel Jordet died Dec. 27, 2016, at J.A. Wedum Residential Hospice in Brooklyn Park, Minn., of cancer. He was 62.
When it came to developing budgets and strong financial systems for local governments, Dan Jordet did not shrink from a challenge. In fact, he sought situations where he could make a difference. “He had a passion for finance and doing it well for communities where he worked,” said Cory Kampf, Finance and Central Services Division Manager, Anoka County. “He cared about people and systemic change, and brought new ways of thinking.”
Dan Jordet grew up in Brooklyn Center, Minn., as the oldest of three children. He was a strong musician and drum major for Park Center High School. After graduating from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, in 1978, he studied French at L'Ecole Fraternelle, Chambon sur Lignon, France, to prepare for a job that allowed him to be an “accountant without a cubicle.”
As administrator for American Lutheran Church activity in Ngaoundere, Cameroon, he managed accounts, legal and operational affairs, and was treasurer of a high school. Upon return to the United States he became Vice President, Finance for Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. Jordet served as municipal finance director first in Waverly, Iowa, moving on to serve the Cities of Saint Peter, Mankato, Brooklyn Center, Otsego, Minn., and Council Bluffs, Iowa. In Saint Peter, he also held the position of City Administrator for three years. “He was a serious professional but had a side that made working with him fun,” said Lori Johnson, former city manager, Otsego, now deputy chief finance officer, City of Minneapolis. He sought inclusive, participatory processes. “Whether he was out front or working behind the scenes, he was genuine and interested in people, and skilled at presenting complex information so it was easy to understand. The city council was grateful for that.”
For nearly two decades, as a member of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and the League of Minnesota Cities, Jordet taught peers and newly elected city council members throughout Minnesota how municipal finance works. In 2014 he organized the GFOA national conference, held in Minneapolis. “Dan helped people grow professionally,” said Kampf. "He livened up a room, and when he walked in he made everyone feel important. He welcomed everyone.” “There was something of Don Quixote in Dan, tilting at windmills,” said Al Erickson, a lifelong friend and advisor to local governments. “We talked constantly about how things work, and wished for better. He really cared, and he wanted to share what he'd learned with younger people, to enlarge their thinking. And closer to home—we never had a conversation that didn't touch on how proud he was of his own kids.”
Jordet is preceded in death by his mother, Marjorie (Johnson) Jordet and brother, Gary Jordet. He is survived by daughter, Signe Jordet, of Park City, Utah, son Peter Jordet and fiancé Catherine Dunn, of Springfield, Ill.; former wife, Nancy North ‘78; father and stepmother, Howard and Diane Jordet; sister, Nancy Jordet; and niece, Sasha Jordet. A memorial service was held in the spring. The family asks for memorial gifts to be sent to Heifer International (heifer.org).