Norma Jean Friestad Obituary – Rockford Register Star

Norma Jean Friestad (née Marken), age 94, went home to be with the Lord on December 28, 2022. Norma was born in Copley, Ohio on January 17, 1928 to LM and Rena Marken. Growing up in the Seville, OH area, she graduated from Westfield High School in 1946. While attending Lutheran Bible Institute in Chicago, she met Lee Friestad and, after graduating in 1948, they were married in August. They moved to Canton, South Dakota for Lee to pursue his studies at Augustana Academy while Norma worked at the bookstore, returning to Ohio in 1950 and another move to Rockford, Illinois in 1951 for Lee’s work. They eventually settled in Stillman Valley, IL, where they raised their four children. Lee always promised Norma that they would move back to Ohio when they retired, moving to Loudonville, OH in 1990. One more move in 2014 brought them south to Leeds, Alabama to be closer to the children.

Norma’s life was one of faith and serving the Lord in her daily life and in every church she attended. She taught Sunday school, served on committees, organized food for mission trips, and led Bible studies. She was a planner, running a small household, babysat in her house for a few years, and then had a 20-year career as a paraprofessional at an elementary school in Stillman Valley. She hosted many Sunday brunches for family and friends, enjoyed reading, sewing, crafts of all kinds, scrapbooking, doing puzzles, baking Christmas cookies, and making fruitcakes each year for Lee’s siblings. She kept up with missionary friends serving around the world and hosted when they were home on leave. She volunteered for 20 years with hospice organizations. She wrote for church bulletins and the resident bulletin in Saint Martin’s in the Pines, where she moved in 2021. Lee and Norma took many cross-country car trips over the years, visiting family and friends. She began keeping a journal in 1953 until just a few days before her death. Her kind and gentle spirit made it easy for him to find friends everywhere they lived.

Norma is survived by three of her children, Angie (Ferril) Davis of Tucson, AZ; Gwen Deierhoi, Birmingham, AL, and Gary (Kathy) Friestad, Smyrna, GA; her 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren from her; her younger brother, Howard Marken of Columbia City, Indiana, and many loving nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 73 years, LeRoy Friestad, her youngest son Dale Friestad, her son-in-law Mark Deierhoi, and three brothers and four sisters.

A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Leeds Methodist Church. Burial will be with LeRoy at the Veterans Cemetery in Montevallo, AL. Memorials may be made to Leeds Methodist Church, Leeds, AL; Zion Lutheran Church, 222 E. Main Street, Loudonville, OH, 44842, and Hospice of North Central Ohio, 1021 Dausch Drive, Ashland, OH, 44805.

Published online on January 29, 2023

Published in Rockford Register Star

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