Salon 15

Norma Forstrom

April 2, 1932 ~ June 26, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old


Norma (Thram) Forstrom, entered her eternal rest on June 26, 2023, of natural causes, at the age of 91, at Tidewell Hospice House in Sarasota, FL. Norma previously lived in Venice, FL; Spicer, Clara City and rural Lamberton, MN.

Norma was born April 2,1932, in Germantown Township, in rural Cottonwood County, MN, to Robert and Ella (Krause) Thram and was a lifelong lutheran. She was baptized and confirmed in the German Lutheran Church.

Born during America’s Great Depression, Norma’s youth knew much sacrifice and loss as a result of the economic times and onset of World War II. Norma faced her personal sacrifices without regret or self-pity.

Her family farm did not have electricity (and therefore no running water) until she was 18-years-old due to rationing of copper wiring for the war effort. A tragic loss incurred at a young age was the life of her brother, Stanley, at the age of 20, during WWII’s Battle of Hurtgen Forest. Another loss followed a few years later when her father was killed in an auto accident.

During her high school years, Norma enjoyed going to dances

in Springfield, MN with her closest friend, Marilyn Halvorson. This friendship sustained itself for the duration of Norma’s life. In 1950, her graduation year, Norma was crowned Homecoming queen.

After high school, Norma attended college for two years in Mankato, MN and continued her education with summer school while also teaching full time. She taught grades K-8 in a one-room schoolhouse in District 39 (south of Kandiyohi, MN). This schoolhouse brought back memories of her youth as it too did not have indoor plumbing

or electricity.

As a young lady, Norma met C.R. (Kelly) Forstrom and the two were married on July 25, 1953, at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar, MN. Norma was a member there until they moved to Clara City where she joined Immanuel Lutheran Church.

From the earliest days of their marriage, commitment, faith, sacrifice and determination defined Norma and Kelly. Newly married, Norma’s

$5,000 savings from teaching (and countless years of babysitting and doing odd jobs) wasn’t touched while they lived off of Kelly’s income that he earned as an employee of First National Bank of Willmar (now US Bank). They sold her car and saved whatever and whenever they could.

It was Norma’s $5,000 in savings that was used as a down payment to purchase part of what was Citizens State Bank of Clara City and is now Citizens Alliance Bank. Together, they ended up purchasing 100% of the bank and the associated insurance agency. Norma was always the quiet, poised, supportive wife and mother.

Over Norma’s lifetime, volunteering was extremely important to her. For 30+ years Norma participated in the Priscilla Club, a local lady’s organization that raised money for community projects in Clara City. Norma was also a member of the Willmar Shriner’s Auxiliary.

As a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Norma was active for many decades teaching Sunday School, confirmation classes and summer Vacation Bible School as well as participated in Women’s Circle.

Norma was instrumental in the startup of a bookmobile service to Clara City and because of her educational background she assisted in securing a much-needed library in Clara City.

After Norma and Kelly moved to Green Lake in Spicer, MN, she enjoyed volunteering at the annual Green Lake Bible Camp quilt auction.

Sponsoring children through the World Vision organization was another cherished element of Norma’s life. Over the years she loved receiving letters from the numerous children she and Kelly sponsored and seeing how they were growing in knowledge and life skills. Norma shared these letters with her children and instilled in them the responsibility and blessing it is to give to those less fortunate.

Throughout her life, Norma was known for her welcoming hospitality and soft spoken demeanor. She winced at criticism of others and looked for redeeming traits in everyone she met. She often reminded her boys that, “we don’t know what others have gone through” and that adverse judgment was dangerous and reserved for God alone.

Norma lived in a household dominated by five males (including Kelly), and that made for interesting one-sided dynamics. Norma held her own and when necessary, subtly made course corrections for “all her boys.”

Each year on her birthday and on Mother’s Day, Norma looked forward to the only thing she wanted on these occasions which was “Four nice boys.” Hopefully, once in a while she was able to realize her wish!

Norma was preceded in death by her parents, Robert Thram and Ella Thram; her siblings ,Stanley Thram, Lila Thram, Gordon Thram and Ruth Burmeister; her husband, Kelly; son, Paul C. and granddaughter, Lauren (Paul’s daughter).

She is survived by sons, Philip (Marsha); Perry (Erin) and John (Janet); her grandchildren, Alison (Marco Cruz), Amanda, Ashley (Brandon Hildreth), Nicole (Chad Dack), Zachary (Sarah), Olivia, Amelia and Alex; her great-grandchildren Antonio and Elizabeth Cruz and Evelyn and Theodore Dack; and her sister-in-law, Mae Forstrom.

Norma’s funeral will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar, MN. Visitation will begin at 9:45AM. Seating for the service featuring Christian orchestral music of reflection will begin at 10:45AM with the service to follow at 11:00AM. A catered lunch will be hosted in the church’s fellowship hall immediately after the service. A private interment at Fairview Cemetery in Willmar, MN and the family Hunting Shack will take place later this fall.

The funeral will be live-streamed at beginning at 10:45 AM CDST.

Memorials for Norma may be given to Immanuel Lutheran Church or Bethel Lutheran Church.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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September 23, 2023

9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
Bethel Lutheran Church (Willmar)
411 Becker Avenue SW
Willmar, MN 56201

Memorial Service
September 23, 2023

11:00 AM
Bethel Lutheran Church (Willmar)
411 Becker Avenue SW
Willmar, MN 56201


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