Monday, January 4, 2021
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Capacity limits will be enforced.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
11:00 AM EST
St. Mary's Catholic Church - Marne
15164 Juniper Dr
Marne, MI 49435
Life Story / Obituary
Norma Thorpe was a beautiful person to know and to love. An exceptional wife, mother, and grandmother, she relished in bringing joy to the hearts of the ones she loved. A lover of all people, she treated each and every person she met with kindness. Her bubbly personality and her sweet and nurturing ways will be deeply missed by her many special friends and family.
During the 1920s, the nation was growing rapidly in both the economic and cultural realm. Radio stations were gaining in popularity throughout the US, and the media was focused on jazz musicians and celebrities. In the same year that Charles Lindbergh completed his solo flight across the Atlantic, Norwegian immigrants, Mentz and Mathea (Halvorsen) Thorpe welcomed their newborn daughter, Norma Eleanor, into their hearts on April 27, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born the youngest of seven children, her birth brought great joy into the family home.
Growing up on the west side, Norma lived a typical childhood of the times. She was always proud of her heritage and learned to bake traditional Norwegian baked goods at a young age. In her later years, she would make cookies and carry on this tradition with her grandchildren each year at Christmas time. At the tender age of three years old, her father passed away leaving her mother to care for her and her siblings. As a result, she learned to be frugal and learned the value of a hard day’s work at an early age. Norma learned how to sew from her aunt and made her own clothes for many years. After graduating with the Class of 1945 from Union High School, Norma entered the world of work as an office clerk at Bissell. One evening out at a local dance hall in 1951, she met Don Sidor, who would steal her heart forever! Smitten right from the start, they joined in marriage at St. James Catholic Church on February 23, 1952. They settled into their first home on 16th Avenue before later moving to 42nd Avenue and eventually building their longtime family home on Johnson Street.
Norma relished in her role as a mother. As a homemaker, she enjoyed spending time with them and was very active in their school events over their growing years. While Don worked the second shift, she was busy driving the kids to and from school and managing their activities. Resourceful as well as thrifty, Norma canned as well as froze vegetables and fruit from their garden. As a family, they cherished taking many memorable vacations together. They started out tent camping before purchasing a travel trailer. They visited most of the state parks in Michigan and took a six week trip to California pulling their trailer behind the station wagon. Enjoying the scenic views and surrounded in beauty, the kids talked about this trip for many years. Once the kids were older, she and Don splurged on renting a cottage in Cadillac during the summer. They modeled a wonderful marriage and the value of family for their children.
Norma held many special interests over the years. She was an avid reader, and was known to always be in the middle of a Christian or Norwegian fictional novel. She also enjoyed playing cards, especially Kanasta and Spider Solitaire. Generous as well as thoughtful, she liked to give away many of the hats and items she hand crocheted. Close with her siblings, she kept in close touch with each of them and looked forward to her sisters’ annual shopping excursions together. Norma had a warm personality that drew others to her. She was talkative and outgoing and never lacked for friends. She and Don were active in their home church, St. Mary’s Church, in Marne. They enjoyed supporting many of the fellowship events and regularly attended mass each Sunday. Artistic as well as creative, she also enjoyed making beautifully crafted homemade cards for people in her church family.
Norma was blessed with an abundant family. She adored her grandchildren and loved to dote on them. Always one to fix a quick snack or treat, she made sure they never went home hungry! Norma was immensely proud of each and every one of them. Visits with grandma Norma were uplifting and they always felt her love lingering for hours after they parted ways. A devoted partner to her husband, Don, no greater testimony of her love was shown than through her daily visits with him when he was moved to a care facility. She never left his side and was there to support him until the very end. Fiercely independent, Norma managed to live on her own for over a decade with the support of her son who lived nearby. She lived peacefully knowing that she had always lived by Jesus’ example. She modeled a faithful life of accepting others, showing kindness, and never holding a grudge. Her family meant the world to her and she celebrated their every success over the years. Norma’s greatest legacy will be the many happy memories she leaves behind for her family and friends to cherish forever.
Norma Eleanor Sidor (nee Thorpe), age 93, of Marne, passed away December 29, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald, in 2007 and by her two infant sons, Richard and James; her brothers, James and Arnie Thorpe; and sisters Ruth Zuller, Lucille Nowack, Marie Malmen and Margaret Thorpe. She is survived by their children Tom (Coralee) Sidor, Kathy (Jim) Simmons, Julie Sidor, Mary Ryon (Jeff Schulze); many grandchildren and great grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and many friends. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church in Marne on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 11 AM. Friends are invited to visit with her family on Monday from 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home where the Rosary will be prayed beginning at 8 PM. To share a photo or memory, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com