Life Story / Obituary
With unwavering faith and an enthusiastic heart, Norman Jay Noordeloos lived a life rich in faith and family. A natural people person, Norm welcomed every stranger as a friend and embraced each moment as a gift. He embodied the principles of his faith and devoted his life to his family and community. Norm led by example, loving fully and turning to his faith in both times of joy and sadness. Treasured by many, Norm will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression and the growing conflict in Europe, many families found the way to continue to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in the home of Anne and Noor Noordeloos as they welcomed their son Norman into their family on February 28, 1936.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Norm was raised upon a firm foundation of faith and family values. While his father provided for the family with his work for US City Service, his mother took on raising the children and tending the home. The oldest of the Noordeloos’ four children, Norm attended Engelwood Christian School in Chicago. When his father’s job transferred him to Grand Rapids, Michigan, Norm attended Seymour Christian School.
After proudly graduating from Grand Rapids Christian High with the class of 1953, Norm attended Calvin College for a year. In 1954, Norm enlisted in the U.S. Army. From 1954 through 1956, he was stationed in Fort Gordon, near Augusta, Georgia, where he worked as a cook for women studying for the signal corps. He liked cooking, and they liked his food.
While visiting Bylsma's Dairy on Leonard Street NW, Norm had the good fortune of meeting his beloved, Adeline Andree. Instantly smitten, the two became a couple and set their eyes on a future spent in one another’s good company. Norm later admitted that he was impressed by her car, a 55 Oldsmobile 2 door hard top, it was black and white and fast. On March 5, 1955, they married and began their 58 year adventure.
The newlyweds made their first home in an apartment on Alpine Ave. NW. Here they were blessed to welcome their three children, Norm Jr., Dawn, and Tammy. Shortly after Tammy turned two, the family moved into their home on Eight St. NW.
For a time, Norm and Adeline both worked in manufacturing at Knape and Vogt. For a time, Norm worked as a meat cutter, a job he really enjoyed but did not allow him to be outside as much as he liked. Norm eventually found work at Oven Fresh Bakery, where he drove a delivery truck. He thoroughly enjoyed driving all over the state while still being home with his family every night. After many years on the road, he moved into management. With unwavering dedication, Norm served the bakery for 40 years. He enjoyed his work for the bakery so much that he continued to drive for them part-time, long after retiring. In addition to his work at Oven Fresh, Norm was a volunteer fireman. For decades, he selflessly gave his time and talents as a valuable member of the Grand Rapids Fire Department 321 Fire Association. He always kept his scanner on and never hesitated to go out and help.
Norm was a man of many interests and talents. As a high school senior, he made the All-City Baseball team. He played semi-pro baseball for Sullivans and later played fastpitch softball for many years at the CRC Rec Center. He loved to golf, fish, and tend to his beautiful garden roses. Norm never passed up an opportunity to grill a delicious meal, typically meat and potatoes, and he always enjoyed a Fricano’s pizza. Norm loved music. The Gaither Vocal Band sang his favorite tunes, and he was very enthusiastic about singing. For many years he joined his passionate voice in the church choir. In his quiet time, Norm liked to read history texts and historical fiction. Norm lived a faith-centered life that was enriched by his lifelong church membership. Always willing to serve, Norm sat on the church council many times, was a Sunday School teacher, and advised the youth group.
Norm and Adeline rented a cottage up north every summer either on Burt Lake or near Bellaire. Norm loved spending time fishing on Burt Lake. Later in life, Norm and Adeline liked to take mystery bus tours together. They also enjoyed many winters at their timeshare in Florida. As their family grew to include grandchildren, Norm and Adeline relished in their roles as grandparents. Norm loved attending his grandkids’ events and sports, and he enthusiastically supported each of their endeavors.
Sadly, Adeline died in 2013, and Norm found himself deeply lonely and feeling isolated in the absence of his best friend and constant companion. Fortunately, he was given the gift of being set up on a date with a former classmate, Judie Mulder, who was also a widow. The two quickly found much enjoyment in each other’s company. Their social lives grew fuller, and soon, they fell in love. In October of 2015, Norm and Judie married and settled into their lives together in Holland, Michigan, where they were members of Christ Memorial Church.
Happily merging their families and friends, Norm and Judie enjoyed a full and happy life. With even more treasured grandkids and great-grandkids, their calendar was filled with events to attend. Even during their winter months in Florida, the couple stayed busy, enjoying eating out and visiting with friends. After Judie died in April of 2018, Norm returned to Grand Rapids and made his final home at Edison Christian Independent Living. His final years were spent enjoying a room with a beautiful view of the woods, a library filled with books, the comforts of loving care, and a warm sense of community.
Without a doubt, the world is undoubtedly duller in the absence of Norm’s steadfast presence. While we mourn his loss, may we find comfort in his own words about finding strength in the face of loss: “I receive strength through Jesus Christ. It’s so sad when our loved ones pass on, but it’s also joyous because we know they’re in a better place.” May we also find comfort in carrying Norm’s legacy forward in our own lives. With each gospel song we sing, stranger we meet as a friend, long road trip we take, line we cast, and moment we freely give of our time and talents, we celebrate the many ways Norm gifted us. And in these ways, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Norman Jay Noordeloos, 84 of Grand Rapids, went to be with his Lord and Savior on July 10, 2020. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Adeline; second wife, Judie, and son, Norman Jr. Norm is survived by his daughters, Dawn and Arnie Geldermans and Tammy and Martin Jonker; grandchildren, Hillary (Adam) Billmeier, Jake (Emily) Noordeloos, Justin (Camila) Noordeloos, Anna (Jeff) Moore, Erin Geldermans, Peter (Kara) Geldermans, Jonathon (Ashley) Geldermans and Kyle Jonker; 6 great-grandchildren and one expected. Also surviving are his siblings, Ron (Linda) Noordeloos, Carol Poel, and Bob (Barb) Noordeloos; sisters-in-law, Irene Andree and Carol (Ron) Rykse; several nieces and nephews; Judie’s family: Todd (Dana) Geerlings, Scott (Jaclyn) Geerlings, Kent (Deborah) Geerlings, John Mulder Jr. and Stephanie (Chip) Netzel; 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. A memorial service (masks required) will be held at 1 PM on Monday, July 13, 2020, at Westview Christian Reformed Church, 2929 Leonard St NW. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Kyle Jonker Education Fund. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Norm’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook online.