Norma Jean (Steinfeldt) Norton, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend was reunited with her loving husband, Donald, on January 22, 2018.
Growing up in the gray stucco house on Reid Street was an adventure for Norma and her siblings. Although she was born a “city girl,” Norma and the Steinfeldt children spent much of their time working and playing outdoors. Apple, plum, peach and pear trees bloomed and a massive garden occupied a sunny spot in the family’s backyard. The narrow alley that ran behind their home was a favorite gathering spot for neighborhood kids who were always willing to start a game of “kick the can” or stickball. In spite of all the opportunities for mischief, Norma rarely got into trouble… her five older brothers ensured that she was always looked after!
Norma attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School and graduated from Nicolet High School with the class of 1951. Her friendly personality and ever-present sense of humor made her a perfect fit for a career helping others. After high school, she was hired by the Green BayPublic Service Corporation as a telephone switchboard operator. Physically connecting and disconnecting calls along with answering caller questions made for a hectic work day! Norma once laughingly recalled when she and her coworkers answered their phones with the phrase, “Bumble bees” instead of “Number, please!” and no one noticed the difference.
Norma was proud of her work and for establishing a career for herself at such a young age. Taking the trolley each day, she commuted to and from work in Green Bay. Norma excelled at her job, she dutifully saved her money from each paycheck and then did the unthinkable… she bought her own car! Having a car gave Norma the opportunity to travel — it started her life-long love of exploring new places and visiting friends. One car soon followed another and with the same adventurous spirit she showed as a child, the girl from Reid Street continued her travels all over the U.S. Often joined by her friends, Norma traveled to distant and not-so-distant places. Her prized, cream-colored Samsonite suitcases were constantly with her and soon became layered with stickers from each of the many exotic cities she visited.
Her life as a single-career girl didn’t last long, however, as she was soon swept off of her feet by Donald Norton. Whether it was his kind smile or gentle sense of humor, Norma had no reservations about leaving the city to join him on his farm. The couple was married on July 20, 1963 and soon started their own family. She and Donald would eventually raise nine children–four sons and five daughters– on their dairy farm.
Raising a family and running a farm was no simple matter, but Norma was the perfect woman for the job. She frequently ran the bunk to get the cows fed. She was renowned for her culinary and baking skills. Norma used her talents to prepare massive meals that could both feed an army and rival those created in restaurants.
Norma’s greatest gift to her family was her dedication as a mother and wife. She loved caring for her children and seeing them create their own lives. Once their children had grown and moved away from the farm, she and Donald found their greatest joy in spending time with their 8 grandchildren.
Norma’s talents expanded far beyond caring for her family. She served for many years on the De Pere Unified School District board, as a 4-H knitting leader and volunteered at Syble Hopp school. An accomplished seamstress, she designed beautiful clothing not only for her children, but for countless 4-H drama activities. When she wasn’t sewing, Norma used knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn to create afghans, sweaters, baby bonnets and endless pairs of mittens for family members and friends. Never a person to brag about her talents, Norma did admit that she was very proud that her hairpin lace afghan won her “Best of Show” at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Always a social person, Norma enjoyed doing anything that would allow her to spend time with family and friends. She was a avid sheephead player, enjoyed bingo, and had an uncanny ability to locate patches of wild asparagus. Norma could take common items and create beautiful crafts for others: corn husk dolls, spoon rings, India ink silhouette pictures, and horseshoe nail jewelry were just a few of her specialties. As her children grew, Norma took up a hobby that got her out of the house once in a while: cake decorating. Her skills developed from making simple birthday cakes for her children to creating beautiful tiered wedding cakes for friends, neighbors, and her daughters.
Norma will be remembered as a caring woman who lived a life dedicated to helping others. A loving wife, a devoted mother and grandmother and unwavering friend, she is an example of what we all strive to be.
Survivors include her nine children: Anne (Don) Kamps and their children Paul and Olivia of De Pere; Kevin Norton of De Pere; Colleen (Jeff) Loppnow and their children Makayla and Caleb of Reedsville; Sean Norton of De Pere; Michael Norton of Madison; Michelle (David) Anderson and son James of De Pere; Noreen (Jeff) Borchardt and their children Colin, Simon and Emerson of Greenleaf; Timothy Norton of De Pere; and Monica Norton of De Pere; brother-in-law Bill Clancy of Greenleaf; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Norma was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Donald; her parents Arnold and Odelia (Bellin) Steinfeldt and mother and father in law Timothy and Alice (Kane) Norton; Brothers and sisters: Ione (Joseph) Bushmaker, Marie (Melvin) Colson, Bill (Rosalie) Steinfeldt, Warren (Irene) Steinfeldt, Carlton (Dorothy) Steinfeldt, John (Marian) Steinfeldt, Rupert (Delilah) Steinfeldt, Donald Steinfeldt, Shirley Clancy; Sister-in-laws Catherine (Edward) Driscoll, Mary Norton and Agatha Norton.
Family and friends may visit at Cotter Funeral Home, 860 N Webster Ave, De Pere, on Thursday, January 25, from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm followed by a Parish Prayer Service at 7:00pm. Visitation will continue at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 220 S Michigan St, De Pere, on Friday, January 26, from 9:30 am until 11:00. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 with the Rev. Richard Getchel officiating. Online condolences may be expressed at www.cotterfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established.
The Norton family would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to Mark and Sheila and all the staff at Angels Touch Assisted Living, as well as the staff at Compassus Hospice and the staff at Ledgeview Nursing Home.