Norma A. Wolfgram

Norma Wolfgram

Norma Wolfgram, 96, of Dickinson, ND, passed away on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at the Oak Terrace Memory Care Center in Jordan, MN.  Funeral Services will be held on February 6, 2018 at 2:30pm at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Jordan, MN with Father Timothy Yanta officiating.

Norma Nettie Kalina was born near Troy, SD on July 23, 1921. Because it was a hot day she came into the world out-of-doors, under a large shade tree. Norma grew up on a farm near Bowman, ND with her father Joseph Kalina, mother Mary Mrnak Kalina, and 11 siblings. She graduated from Bowman High School and attended Dickinson Teacher’s College where she earned her teaching certificate. Over the next 30 years she taught hundreds of students at Bullion View, Richland Center, Sand Creek, Amidon, and Mott, many of whom would later seek her out and say she had been their favorite teacher. Norma loved her work and regaled friends and family with stories about her years as an instructor, which she would tell with mischief in her eyes and an infectious giggle.

Norma married Norman John Wolfgram on November 22, 1941. They had three children, Lawrence, Leonard and Lynette. They finally settled north of Rhame where they farmed and ranched for over 30 years. You could see their grain bins in the distance from Amidon on a sunny afternoon. Norma was the embodiment of a farmer’s wife. She could cook up three delicious meals a day along with homemade bread and sweets while also keeping the house and helping outside. Norman had quite the sweet tooth, so she had to keep a dessert around at all times. During many of those years she was also teaching school at Richland Center, in a tiny clapboard building below a hill on the ranch. On winter days she and Lynette would get to school riding a sled.

As time passed, Norma loved having her grandkids and great grandkids come to visit. She worried about them and would constantly remind them to watch for snakes when they went out the door at the ranch. Through the years, Norma met people all over southwestern North Dakota and never forgot a face or name.  She had the uncanny ability to strike up a conversation with anyone, and if they happened to be stranger when the conversation began, they were friends when it finished.

Norman passed away in 1983. After his death and subsequent sale of the ranch Norma was never able to settle down. She moved many times but never really found another home, because from her perspective “home” was always north of Rhame on a beautiful hill overlooking cattle pastures and grain fields, with antelope and wild turkeys on the horizon. She cherished her family pictures, and the growing collection went with her each and every move. She was never settled in until the dozens and dozens of framed photos were hung on the walls and scattered about the rooms.

Norma Nettie had a larger than life personality.  She cherished the time she spent with family and friends, and she loved it when anyone came to visit. She was always at the center of the action, whether it was a family wedding or just dancing in her kitchen. Her family will remember her for her love of them, her friends and her late husband. For teaching them the “Ruth and Jacob” game and being the first to volunteer to be blindfolded. For playing charades and acting out whatever silly word she picked. For using her dishwasher as a pantry, and for never knowing what you would find in her fridge or freezer (like batteries and nail polish). For being accepting and loving, always with a smile on her face. For her 80th birthday trip to Los Angeles with her granddaughters, complete with tickets to The Price is Right (where she was actually picked as a contestant and even kissed by Bob Barker, but never ran into anyone she knew). For the trip to Las Vegas for her 81st birthday where she actually ran into someone she knew. For making famous the line, “Who has more fun than people?”

Norma is survived by her son Leonard Wolfgram (Marlys) and daughter Lynette Kos (Karleen), daughter-in-law Mary Wolfgram, grandchildren Warren Wolfgram, Wendy Christensen (Denny), Ann Brodeur (Laurence), Becky Davis (Ryan), Molly Henderson (Robbie), Moria Vezina (Jaque), Matt Wolfgram (Lexie), Mary Erickson (Randy), Leah Rajewsky (Rich Wooten), and Kelly Wilkinson (Mike), dozens of great-grandchildren, three siblings, extended family members, and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Norman, son Lawrence, parents Joseph and Mary Kalina, and eight siblings.  She will be laid to rest next to Norman at Bowman Cemetery on February 8, 2018. Friends and family are invited to a visitation from 2-3 pm at Krebsbach Funeral Home. There will be neither beer nor polka music – something for which we hope Norma eventually forgives us.

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Condolence Messages

  1. What an amazing life Leonard’s Mother had. How fortunate she was to have my dear cousin, Marlys, as a daughter-in-law!

  2. I am so glad I got to met and be with your mother the times I did. She was a delight!! I am hoping my grandchildren feel the same way about me someday. She was a rare and interesting woman. Love, Eldeen

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