Tuesday, November 13, 2018
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Rosary Service will begin at 8:30 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
2:00 PM EST
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
224 Carrier Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
224 Carrier Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Please Pay an act of kindness forward.
Life Story / Obituary
Elaine Norton was an exceptional person who lived her life fully by extending herself selflessly to others. She modeled a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. Overcoming many difficulties and hard times, Elaine lived her life with grace. There is no doubt that family was important to Elaine. She leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories that will forever be remembered by all who knew and loved her.
So much of our nation’s history was characterized by the year 1941. It was the year that marked the fateful attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo" was the number one hit single and Franklin D. Roosevelt was leading the United States into unprecedented times. Richard and Ethelyn (Alberts) Brechting welcomed home their firstborn daughter, Elaine Margaret on April 1, 1941 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought her parents great joy and promise during an era of great change.
Growing up the oldest of four children on a family farm, Elaine knew the value of a hard day’s work at an early age. She also learned about loss and hardship when her younger brother was involved in an accident that would require extra care and her father died when she was just a teen. As a result, Elaine helped take care of her siblings and pitched in to care for the house as well as the farm. Her childhood was filled with memories of spending time with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who lived in the area. They remained especially close throughout her life. Amidst her busy schedule she kept up with her studies at Holy Trinity Elementary School as well as Sparta High School. Graduating with the Class of 1958, she set off for beauty school.
Not to be forgotten was meeting Bob Reynolds on a blind date. They instantly hit it off and joined in marriage on June 16, 1962. After moving a few times in their early marriage, they settled on a piece of land on the family farm where they built the family home that Elaine remained in for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, their marriage didn’t last, but they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Kim. She was Elaine’s pride and joy! Elaine’s hard work at various salons as well as working with Michigan Bulb and Wolverine World Wide helped provide she and Kim with the necessities as well as affording them memorable vacations. The two of them enjoyed many years of camping as well as visiting Mackinac Island, Disney World, and the World’s Fair. Elaine was especially proud of their trip to Graceland and she was an avid Elvis fan! Later, the two of them saw Elvis live at the Silverdome! Although she worked outside the home, Elaine continued to style hair at her home for many years. She loved to talk with her clients and would purchase the latest Inquirer and Star Magazines to keep abreast with the hottest topics.
Taking great pride in her independence, Elaine kept a meticulous home. She was very organized and liked to have everything in its place ensuring her home remained tidy. Outdoors was equally as kept as the inside as Elaine loved to plant flowers and keep the yard watered and mowed. Elaine was never one to remain idle, she enjoyed spending time with her sisters and cousins often playing cards and dice! When she was feeling lucky, she’d head to the casino and enjoyed playing Bingo at the local halls. Although she was content and happy, she allowed love back into her life after reuniting with Larry Norton, an old high school boyfriend. After high school their lives had taken different ways when Larry joined the service, and then many years later it seemed as if time stood still. Happy to be back together, they joined in marriage in 1984. Sadly, Larry died in 1989, yet the five years they spent together they were madly in love. The two of them enjoyed traveling as well as going out for fancy dinner dates!
Although Larry was deeply missed, Elaine picked back up with her routines and many special interests. She continued cutting and styling hair at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. She started each morning with a cup of coffee and ended each day with a Killian’s beer! She loved to look her best and was known to dress in outfits with matching shoes! Elaine was an avid reader and enjoyed her daily newspaper, as well as completing the crossword puzzles and word searches. She was an avid Detroit Tigers fan and enjoyed listening to them on the radio. For many years, she enjoyed her “Big Mac” Mondays where she would pick up a Big Mac and then help Kim in her classroom at Greenridge Elementary. Described as spunky with a bit of an attitude at times, Elaine’s loving and caring ways will be deeply missed by her many special loved ones. May they look back fondly on their time spent with a woman as vibrant as she was and share her story for generations to come.
Elaine Margaret Norton, age 77, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, November 10, 2018, after putting up a valiant fight against cancer. She was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Ethelyn Brechting, husband, Larry, sister, Donna Farr, brother, Richard Brechting, brothers-in-law, Fred Farr, and David Holtzlander, niece, Missy Farr-Barnhart, and special cousin, Marlene Carris. Elaine styled hair as a beautician for over 50 years at such places as Shapeene’s, Powder Puff, Golden Touch Hair Salon, and numerous nursing homes including, Alpine Manor, Grandview Resident Home, Holland Home, and most recently Raybrook Manor. She was a member of St. Alphonsus Church where she helped with the Supper House program. She leaves to mourn her daughter, Kimberly (Kimmy) Reynolds; favorite son-in-law, Jim Orlowski, who so affectionately referred to her as “Mumsie;” sister and her Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night dinner date, Patsy Holtzlander; special niece, Heidi Krueger, who entertained her for many holidays and her husband, Steve and their kids Andy, Izaak, Victor, Allie, Caleb and Emma; incredible nephew, David Holtzlander III who took her places she never thought she’d go; great niece, Mandie Farr-Jordan who spent many nights on the phone with her great aunt Elaine and her husband Kevin; great niece Kendra Farr-Payton who visited no matter the weather and her husband Chris and their kids, Keely and Alexander, great nephews, Kameron Barnhart and Mason Barnhart who always made her laugh, her cat, Buddy and many cousins and friends. The family would like to thank those who stopped by for a visit, sent a card and/or talked on the phone with Elaine as well as Tandem 365 (especially Tod), Faith Hospice (especially Bethany, Ben, Younga, and Ruth) and Elders’ Helpers (especially Gaye, Jockyn, Mary and special caregiver Pat) for their time and help with Elaine. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Alphonsus Church or the family asks that you “Pay it Forward” in honor of Elaine. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 14 at 2 PM at St. Alphonsus Church. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with one another on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where the Rosary will be prayed at 8:30 PM. To share a memory or photo, visit www.lifestorynet.com