Norma E. Ward, age 93, received her angel wings on November 16, 2022. She was born to Robert and Marie (Kirkwood) Gifford on November 20, 1928, on the family farm in Drammen Township, Eleva.
For eight years, she attended the Hilliard Country School before moving on to Mondovi High School. Later in life, she studied to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
On September 20, 1946, she married James E. Ward of Mondovi, WI, to this union six children were born, all who survive her; Ken (Mimi) of Virginia Beach, VA; David (Marianne Neidermyer) of Mondovi; Jane Schultz (Jim) of Mondovi; Janet Loomis (David) of Eleva, Joanne Roehrich (David Talbot) of Big Lake, MN, and Mark Ward of Thorp, WI. They later divorced.
Her life was dedicated to helping others. While raising her family; she was deeply involved in their activities in school, church and 4-H. As a CNA, she worked for 20+ years at the American Lutheran Home where her compassion for others was demonstrated daily. Upon retiring, she became a home health employee and later helped with hospice care where she continued to show her empathy and the desire to help those in need.
As a life-long member of Our Savior’s Methodist Church, she was active in the Ladies Aid and enjoyed the annual Mother/Daughter Banquet with family.
She loved to dance and when dancing became more difficult for her, you could still see her toes and fingers tapping to the beat of the music. Bowling was one of her favorite activities and she was a member of a bowling league at the Valley Golf Club. She eagerly looked forward to the state tournament and attended those for many years. One of her many hobbies was making ceramics and made many special items through the years. Norma nurtured and valued her lifelong friends and neighbors.
Her spirit of adventure encouraged Norma’s love of travel. With her young family, she journeyed to the Seattle World’s Fair and the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade. When her oldest son, Ken, joined the Navy, Norma was given the opportunity to visit places she had only before dreamed of visiting. When in Sicily, Italy, she hopped on a train to expand her visit to include Spain and Greece. Over the years, she loved to tell her friends and family of her many adventures. Her later travels included trips to Hawaii, California, Mississippi, Virginia, Rhode Island, New York, Texas, Florida and Minnesota. She thoroughly enjoyed her visits to New Orleans and Niagara Falls and a cruise to the Bahamas was a highlight. Norma was always ready for a road trip around Buffalo County which she thoroughly enjoyed. Her favorite trip was to take visitors through the Alma bluffs and then to Nelson Cheese Factory for an ice cream treat.
Norma is now in Heaven with her parents, Robert and Marie Gifford: brothers; Warren, Richard, Gerald and sister, Iva Bahr, sisters-in-law, Bonnie Gifford and Gertie Gifford and brother-in-law, Bud Bahr.
Besides her children, Norma is survived by sister-in-law Mary Gifford and 13 grandchildren: Kendra (Scott) Drew, Andy Ward, Kyla (Sean) Phillips, Mitch (Marann) Ward, John (Katie) Ward, Amy (Jason) Meister, Jason (Heather) Schultz, Jennifer (Joe) Serum, Kristen (Casey) Ellifson, Adam (Ashley Hendricks) Loomis, Ashley (Joe) Johnson, Judy Getty and Kari Getty, 25 great grandchildren: Tanner, Riley, Kensley, Kamdyn, Merrick, Macade, Marae, Kip, Jay, Skylar, Charlie, Owen, Trevor, Ryan, Mason, Jensyn, Jorgia, Jayden, Landon, Montayo, Talia, Shakaha, Eli, Alivia and Gabriella, numerous nieces and nephews.
When surrounded by her family, Norma was her happiest. She was blessed with children and grandchildren who honored and respected her and she enjoyed many years as the matriarch of her loving family. She always found unique qualities in each one and when the great grandchildren began arriving, she delighted in their youth and the continuance of her family. The art of a great mother is the ability to make everyone feel special, and she did. She will be dearly missed.
The family would like to thank the staff at Hillview Senior Living for their friendship, dedication, professionalism and excellent care and thank Mayo Clinic Hospice for their care.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, November 26 at Our Savior’s Methodist Church, Mondovi with visitation from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Burial will be in Oak Park Cemetery in Mondovi, WI.
Kjentvet-Smith Funeral Home in Mondovi is assisting the family. To express online condolences, visit obituaries at www.kjentvet-smithfuneralhome.com.