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Obituary of Norma J. Johnson
Norma Jean Hanselman was born on October 7, 1928, on the family farm near LuVerne, Iowa. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on September 22, 2018, in Iowa City, Iowa – just two weeks short of her 90th birthday. She was a surprise baby; her oldest brother (Art) was 21 years older than Norma. Father Charles Hanselman was a German immigrant farmer. Her mother Martha (nee Ristau) did everything that farm wives do. Siblings Arthur, Dorothy, Edna, and Charles preceded her in death.
Norma attended LuVerne schools graduating in 1944. She played the bass drum in the marching band. After graduating at 16, she spent a year studying business at Waldorf College in Forrest City, Iowa. Norma then worked in a doctor’s office in Fort Dodge where she met, through mutual friends, her future husband - Ray Johnson. Ray was a Navy veteran of WWII and an up and coming building contractor. They married on May 2, 1948 in Algona, Iowa where they made their future home. Norma used her business skills to support the growth of the family business.
Norma and Ray moved quickly into family building. Roger (Manhattan, KS), Ruth (Englewood, CO), Debra (Iowa City, IA), and Bruce (Stoughton, WI) were born in rapid succession. By the age of 24 she had four children. After a hiatus, Cathy (Brush, CO) and Christy (Algona, IA) joined the clan. Norma was a good and loving mother who took great pride in the accomplishments of her children. She was always ready to listen and offer support as her children faced the trials and tribulations of growing up.
Once Norma’s children grew older, she worked in the office of the Algona Publishing Company and later at Chrischilles Clothing. Norma was gregarious and loved the interaction with customers. She was actively engaged in several social groups at the Lutheran Church, a sorority, and a long running sewing club. Norma and Ray enjoyed playing golf at the River Road Golf Course.
Norma was the quintessential proud grandmother and adored by her grandchildren: Blake, Evan, Drew, Mindy, Katie, Andrea, Erik, Haley, Aksel, Asa, and 12 great-grandchildren. She was as accepting and loving of her children’s spouses as she was to her own children. Norma was an amazing mother-in-law.
Norma announced some years ago that she was writing her obituary. It was a lengthy list acknowledging her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all the family members who passed before her. The list rivals anything in Genesis. Norma measured her own success not by material accomplishments but by the people she nurtured, loved, and guided toward becoming loving people themselves. Her delightful sense of humor and the joy she brought to all around her will be missed most of all.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 10:30 am at the First Lutheran Church in Algona, Iowa. Burial will be at the East Lawn Cemetery in Algona at a later date. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made in Norma’s memory to Iowa City Hospice @ 1025 Wade Street, Iowa City, IA 52240. To share a thought, memory or condolence with her family please visit the funeral home website @ www.gayandciha.com.