Donna Charlotte (Courtright) Norem, passed away on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at Martha and Mary Health Care Services in Poulsbo, Washington. She was 99 years of age.
Donna was born on April 13, 1918 in Newark Illinois, the fourth of 5 children. She was raised there through the difficult depression years but still had fun in the Glee Club and played guard on a basketball team that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.
She left that 3 year school when she was 17 to finish her final year in DeKalb, Illinois. At that point she went to work at Montgomery Wards in Aurora where one day a Navy Lieutenant walked in and asked her to a movie. Can't blame him, she cleaned up pretty good. She had known Quentin Eugene Norem from her school days and respected him and his family, so she accepted. Fast forward, they were married where Dad was stationed in Pensacola, FL not long after.
Daughter Julie came along a couple of years later while "QE" was flying bombers in WWII out of Attu Alaska. After the war they settled back in Newark where son Robert came along and her pilot made a 3 point landing in the Farm Implement business. Primarily a stay at home Mom, she did a great job of raising the 2 kids and as it turned out, in the same home where she grew up. For those who remember the Saturday Evening Post and the Norman Rockwell covers that depicted the wholesome American lifestyle at that time, that is the life she and her husband provided their family. Thank you Mom and Dad.
Our Mom was very social and enjoyed entertaining. While her siblings were alive and still living in the area, there wasn't a week that went by when breaking bread with some of them didn't happen. Usually a highly animated hearts game followed dinner and later in life, Mexican Train. She never thought of herself as a great cook but her style was UPOD, under promise and over deliver. We kids always thought she was a good cook and we never went to bed hungry and never had trouble cleaning our plates. We are still using her recipes and trying to duplicate the results.
She had some extracurricular activities along the way which took up most of her free time. She was active in the church, singing in the choir, working at "Lady's Aid" and "Willing Workers," she would sew cloths for herself and Julie, knit and was on a bowling league for a time and a Girl Scout Leader. And more often than she would have liked, finished Rob's paper route when bad weather would have meant a tardy Rob at school. She was even a Detasseling (Google it) crew chief several summers where Julie was part of her crew.
Later in life, Quentin went back to college for a Masters in Math and then began teaching in Blue Island IL and later in Geneva IL. They developed new friendships and enjoyed life there until Dad's retirement. At that point they moved to Bainbridge Island where Julie and her husband resided. They enjoyed traveling in a 5th wheel trailer and were both active in the community. They celebrated their 50th and had 8 more years together until Quentin's passing in 2000. Mom then moved to assisted living and for the past 6 years has lived at Martha and Mary nursing home. Marginal health and dementia set in and her final couple of years weren't the happiest. But the care she received at Martha and Mary was exceptional and she was loved by her care givers and will be missed by them.
Donna is survived by her Daughter Julie Lightfoot of Bainbridge Island and son Robert Norem (Diana) of Sunriver Oregon.
Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Memorial Service on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Port Madison Lutheran Church on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Inurnment will take place at Kane Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family welcomes memorials to Port Madison Lutheran Church, PO Box 4787, Rolling Bay, WA 98061. Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home.