Life Story / Obituary
There is no greater love than the love given by a nurturing, loving and faith filled woman, and Norma Leopold filled that very role with a grace all her own. Born on January 20, 1930 in Grand Rapids Michigan, Norma Jean was the daughter of Homer and Marie (VanDusen) Schrier. Her family made their home on Frances Avenue SW, and her father supported their household as a salesman for Dexter Lock in downtown Grand Rapids. Norma’s mother remained at home with Norma and her brother, Robert as a homemaker. From an early age Norma was taught the Christian values instilled in her youth at home and through their faithful membership at Fifth Reformed Church.
During her early childhood the Great Depression cast a shadow of economic hardship for all. By the time Norma was in middle school, the U.S. was involved in the throes of World War II. During these trying times, Norma attended the area schools and graduated from South High School with the Class of 1948. She went on to further her education, having attended Grand Rapids Junior College for two years. However, a handsome young man had his eye on Norma in college, and it was only the beginning of their story that spanned over 60 years. They began dating and with a deep, abiding love, Jack and Norma were happily married on November 8, 1950 at Fifth Reformed Church, enjoying a memorable honeymoon in Chicago.
Eager to begin a family, they were blessed with two children, son, Kurt, and their daughter, Kyle. As members of Richmond Reformed Church, Norma and Jack made their home on nearby Acacia Drive NW in 1955. Norma loved nothing more than making a good home for Jack and their children. She so enjoyed working in her yard where she loved tending to her beautiful flowers. As a family many treasured times were spent making lasting memories.
Norma and Jack were active members of the Elks Country Club where they golfed with the “Dirty Dozen” each week, followed by dinner at one of the couple’s homes. As a couple, Norma and Jack often opened their home to friends and they loved entertaining. Norma was a wonderful hostess, having made delicious hors d’oeuvres, dips and sauces for all to enjoy. She also made scrumptious family dinners and other family favorites. Norma loved playing bridge and other card games, and visiting the casinos on occasion. She cherished her two dogs, Freckles and Peanut, yet visiting with her grandchildren always brought her the greatest joy.
With their shared love of travel, Jack and Norma enjoyed many nice vacations but when Jack retired in 1991 they began traveling extensively. They went as far west as Alaska and east to the region of Yugoslavia. In the Caribbean they visited the islands of the Dominican Republic and St. Kitts, and often with their dear friends, Jim and Josie Dirkes.
In 2006 Norma and Jack moved to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes where they made many good friends. When Norma’s beloved Jack passed away in May of 2010, her strong faith, family and friends loved and supported her. She always enjoyed being with her family, and when Norma later moved into assisted living, her son brought one of her dogs every day to see her. As Norma’s health declined, she was recently hospitalized where she later died.
A loving, faith-filled and devoted woman, Norma lived a full and rewarding life. She loved her family dearly, and she enjoyed the friendships of many. Although she will be deeply missed, gone but never to be forgotten are the precious memories she leaves behind.
Norma Jean Leopold, aged 86 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Monday, February 15, 2016 at Spectrum Health–Butterworth Hospital. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Leopold in 2010. She is survived by her children, Kurt Leopold, Kyle and Tim Elting; her grandchildren, Emily (Lee) Leopold, James Elting, Jessie Elting; her brother, Robert (Caroline) Schrier; many nieces, nephews and friends. A service to celebrate Norma’s life will be held on Saturday morning, February 20, 2016, 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home–2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral Home on Friday from 5:00–8:00 PM and on Saturday from 10:00 AM until the service begins. Entombment in Rosedale Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Van Andel Institute for Cancer Research. To sign Norma’s guest book and to leave your own memory of her, please visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com.