On Friday, September 4, 2020, Norm saw the light of eternal life and jumped at the chance to be with his soulmate, Betty Ann (nee Peshak), his wife of 56 years. His body wore out after a long battle with cancer, interstitial lung disease and heart disease. Cherished dad of Mike (Terry), Mary Kay Buckley, and Laurie (Rick) Cox. Loving grandfather of Tyler (Myranda) Schultz, Michael (Dana) Nicola, Danna Schultz, Kristin Cox, Ashley (Chris) Suchla, and Emily Cox, as well as great-grandchildren Alexa, Lincoln, and Emerson Nicola. Also loved by other relatives and friends.
Born on June 16, 1929, Norm was a man who deeply valued family. Growing up in Milwaukee, WI during the depression made a lasting impression and Norm always held an appreciation for the “little things” in life. He favored a straightforward approach, never afraid to follow his instincts and do the right thing. He enjoyed basketball, swimming and volleyball and at the age of 15 be began working at a local theater. He was a hard worker and soon was promoted to manager.
Norm was drafted into the US Army in 1951. Beginning in 1952, he served in active duty as a supply sergeant in Japan and Korea. Norm recounted feeling like he grew up in the Army, and appreciated the perspective his military experience provided as he shaped his future.
After his discharge from the army, Norm met the love of his life, Betty, a nurse in training, while receiving treatment for a severed tendon in his hand that required hospitalization. Norm was a patient on Betty’s floor. All the nurses thought he was really cute but that’s not what really got to Betty. He got her attention through his kindness. There was an elderly man in the bed next to him that used to get very upset at night. He’d make a huge commotion by banging his bed pan on the bed. Betty walked in on Norm gently talking to the man and calming him down and that’s what won her over. The following week, Norm was set to attend his best friend’s wedding with no date. He asked Betty to join him. Betty accepted and the two of them had such a wonderful time, they declared their togetherness that would last forever. They said they both knew by the second date that they were meant for each other.
Norm and Betty bought their first house on Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee and started their family of three, Mike, Mary Kay and Laurie. In 1963 they moved to Wauwatosa on 118th Street, where many memories were created during their 30 years there. Norm worked for Boston Store for over 25 years, overseeing store layout and development including flagship stores at Brookfield Square and Southridge, plus handling his regional buyer/manager responsibilities. Eventually Norm and Betty moved to Pewaukee and then to Oconomowoc.
In 1983, Norm and Betty visited Germany and learned about becoming dedicated to the Schoenstatt Movement, which they remained dedicated to throughout their lives. Norm and Betty helped establish the first Schoenstatt Federation Course in Wisconsin--the first in the United States outside of Texas. Together, they aimed to help reach individuals by connecting their daily lives with the love of the Blessed Mother, Mary.
Fiercely loyal and independent, Norm cared for Betty through her 6-year battle with breast cancer until 2011. He was grateful for the support he received from his family and the church. He continued to drive and thrive on his own until a visit to the hospital in June of 2019 sent him to the long-term care unit at Shorehaven. Ever the realist, Norm handled the transition bravely and with clear eyes. He spoke graciously and with gratitude for the people and the quality of the facilities in his time of need. He never complained about his maladies and played the cards he was dealt. He was sharp, witty and made his own decisions until his unexpected passing. His smile and love will be missed by his family and friends.
Visitation at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 6-8PM. Additional visitation at Fr. Kentenich Hall at the Schoenstatt Retreat Center, W284 N698 Cherry Lane, Waukesha, WI 53188, on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 9-1030AM. Mass of Christian Burial at 1030AM. Norm's service will be live-streamed at 1030AM, please use this link to view: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4yr34hUX1p6SGYlHtogGQ. Burial with committal prayers and Military Honors will take place at St. Mary’s Visitation Cemetery, 1260 Church Street, in Elm Grove, WI 53122. Please meet at 1PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials appreciated to the Schoenstatt Retreat Center.
The family would like to thank the nursing staff at Shorehaven for their care of our father/grandfather.
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