Monday, June 22, 2020
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Social distancing guidelines will be strictly enforced ~ Please wear a mask.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
Rosedale Memorial Park
50 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
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.
Capital Area Humane Society
7095 W. Grand River Avenue
Lansing, MI 48906
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Noralee Baker, words such as caring, compassionate, and fun-loving come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of her is selfless. She never let a moment in life pass her by without being grateful. Known for, her sarcastic sense of humor, and her beautiful authentic personality, Noralee will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
The 1960s were characterized by great social changes. Known as the era of optimism, many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. Midway through this promising decade in our nation’s history, Noralee was welcomed on January 4th, 1965 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to her loving parents, James and Joanne (Tannis) McClurken. Born the youngest daughter of seven children, her birth brought great joy and happiness to the family home.
Many happy memories were made during her childhood years growing up on the family’s dairy and crop farm. There was always work to be done on the farm teaching her and her siblings the value of a hard day’s work. As a family, they faithfully attended services at Grand Valley Baptist Church. Noralee attended Sand Creek Elementary and was never without a group of friends to play or hang out with over the years. She was active on the softball team in high school and graduated with the Class of 1983 from Grandville High School. Successful and skilled in many areas, Noralee always had her mind set on being whatever she wanted to be in the moment.
After graduation, she started off taking classes to become a dental technician while also working at the local pizza shop. She later chose to train at a telephone answering service which eventually led her to her job as a dispatch operator at Hermitage Towing Company. It was here that she met her first love, James Baker. The two of them began dating, joined in marriage and settled into their home on Sunset Avenue NW. Later they were blessed with the arrival of their son, Brandon in 1992. Although she and James shared many memories together, their marriage later ended in divorce.
Noralee left Hermitage and became an anthropological research assistant working for her brother, James in Lansing. She enjoyed the work of building databases and remained a loyal employee for twenty years. Working afforded she and Brandon many opportunities including a memorable trip to Disney World in Florida. She loved any amount of time they were together. Brandon was her greatest achievement in life and she was incredibly proud of the man he became. As a child Brandon began collecting autographs and sports memorabilia, which soon became something that Noralee loved to do with Brandon. Lansing Lugnuts baseball games were a summer favorite for her and Brandon. Over the years she befriended many of the players and staff. Sports were one of her favorite things to keep up with. She enjoyed football, hockey and NASCAR. She loved many teams and players (or drivers) including the Red Wings, Brad Keselowski, and of course her Dallas Cowboys!
In her spare time Noralee loved to scrapbook, cross-stitch and make homemade gifts for family and friends. She enjoyed working in her yard and tending to her flower beds. As much as she relished in her role as Brandon’s mom, she also enjoyed nurturing many pets over the years. She rescued many of her pets from the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing. She also raised several litters of kittens, the latest one being a litter found at a park near her home where she cared for each kitten until a loving home was found for them. Her dogs, Kai, Shadow, Harley, Oreo, and Rex were her special companions. She also owned many cats including Monkey, Hooba, Stinkey, Buddy, Peanut Butter, and Sweety. Her pets provided her with many years of supportive and unconditional love.
Sadly, Noralee struggled with diabetes and other health conditions over the years and recently suffered a heart attack. She received a stent to repair the damage to her heart yet her health declined until she passed away. Described as a kind, courteous, and loving person, there is no doubt that Noralee will be deeply missed by the many special people she leaves behind. May her loved ones be touched by her presence whenever they are gathered together and may her many warm memories live on eternally in their hearts.
Noralee Baker, aged 55, of Lansing, Michigan, formerly of Grand Rapids, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at Henry Ford Hospital, following a brief illness. She was preceded in death by her mother, Joanne McClurken, and her brother, Brian McClurken. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Brandon and Liz Baker; her father, James W. McClurken; her siblings, James (Sergei Kvitko) McClurken, Tim (Chris) McClurken, Kevin (Cindy) McClurken, Cynthia (Doug Hoople) McClurken, Daniel (Claudia) McClurken; many nieces, nephews, and friends. Noralee worked as a research assistant for the last 20 years in Lansing. She was a kind person who dearly loved her many pets. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, June 23, at 11:00 am at Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Monday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm with social distancing guidelines strictly enforced. Please wear a mask. Contributions in her memory may be made to Capital Area Humane Society or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. To sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.heritagelifestory.com