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Charles R. Herrmann, 96, Owatonna

Charles R. Herrmann, 96, Owatonna, obituary

Charles R. Herrmann, age 96, passed away on May 22, 2024, in Owatonna, at Benedictine Living Community.

Charlie was born Feb. 17, 1928, to John M. Herrmann and Evelyn (Wingstrand) Herrmann in Rochester. Charlie grew up in Lanesboro, during his formative years, but moved with his family to Windom, and eventually New Ulm, during high school.

Following graduation, Charlie enlisted in the United States Navy before studying economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, graduating in 1954. It was while at Macalester that Charlie met his future bride, Emily Jean Hindman of Red Wing. They were wed on July 26, 1954, and had 67 years together before her passing in 2021. They had three children: John, Tom, and Robert.

Charlie spent his entire business career with Jostens, beginning as a Scholastic division salesman in Oconomowoc, Wis. Returning to Owatonna to work at the home offices of Jostens after two years in Wisconsin, Charlie became a marketing services manager, and shortly thereafter, for reasons he never quite understood, Jostens assigned Charlie the state of Alaska as his “in house” sales territory. He made numerous trips to schools across the state, often enlisting the service of a bush pilot to fly him to his sales calls. His diligence paid off. After two years, Jostens hired two Alaskan salesmen to cover the state for the company. Charlie spent the next 12 years as the national sales trainer before Jostens made him a vice president in 1970.

It was during his years as a sales trainer that Charlie’s gift for public speaking became apparent. Throughout the remainder of his career, he enjoyed a national reputation as a motivational speaker of exceptional skill and humor, providing positive and inspiring messages to groups ranging from high school graduations to major corporations across North America.

Charlie’s contributions to Owatonna included: School Board member and chair for more than 20 years, Owatonna Foundation, Owatonna Education (761) Foundation, Steele County Free Fair Board, and Rotary Club of Owatonna.

Charlie is survived by his sons John and Tom (Sandy); five grandchildren; and two great- grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the 761 Foundation, Owatonna Foundation and the Steele County Historical Society. Mail is warmly received at 854 Oriole Lane, Chaska, MN, 55318.

A celebration of Charlie’s life is planned for Friday, July 26, 2024, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Steele County History Center, 1700 Austin Road, Owatonna.

For more information or to leave an online message of condolence, go to

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