Eric W. Musgjerd was worldly yet down-to-earth.
He was born in Alaska and also lived in Arizona, Alabama, Nebraska and Norway. At work he wore a suit and tie, and he often traveled to business meetings.
As a volunteer, he got down on his hands and knees to lay tile and squatted down to the girls' level when he coached basketball.
He died Sunday at the Nebraska Medical Center, said his wife, Karen Musgjerd of Omaha. He was 50 and had cancer.
Musgjerd worked for Swanson Corp., Mutual of Omaha and Commercial Federal Bank before moving to First National Bank of Omaha 13 years ago. There, he was vice president of commercial real estate lending.
“Bob (Horak) was one of the reasons Eric wanted to go to First National,” said his wife. “The two of them had a lot of respect for each other.”
Horak, who began the bank's commercial real estate division in the 1960s, also died Sunday.
Musgjerd was a 14-year volunteer with the Greater Omaha YMCA. In 2010, he was chief volunteer officer, chairman of the board and chief of the search committee for a new president.
The committee hired Len Romano, who said Musgjerd stayed on as board chairman for a second year to help the new employee's transition.
“I could tell he had a servant leader's heart,” Romano said. “He was not afraid to get his hands dirty. He pitched in wherever he was needed.”
Pitching in included spending one day retiling a locker room floor at the Council Bluffs Y. Musgjerd and his family spent another day “de-shrubbing and de-foresting one of our camp locations,” Romano said.
He also volunteered to coach girls basketball at the Y and for Pete Force Basketball.
“He's part of the heartbeat of our Y,” Romano said. “He typifies what a leader is.”
In other leadership roles, Musgjerd was treasurer for St. Mark Lutheran Church and for the Burke Band Boosters at Burke High School, where his two daughters are students.
In his spare time, he ran 5K races, did road and mountain biking and competed nationally in adventure racing.
He was a sports enthusiast who followed Creighton University basketball and soccer, his wife said. He had a fantasy baseball team for 25 years with the same group, she said.
He also completed the FBI Citizens Academy while having chemotherapy treatments.
Musgjerd graduated from Plattsmouth (Neb.) High School in 1981 and received his bachelor's degree from Creighton in 1986. His master's degree in business administration came a decade later from the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Besides his wife of 23 years, survivors include his daughters, Kaia and Kelsey, and parents, William and Judith Musgjerd of Plattsmouth.
A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 1821 N. 90th St.