Norma J. Roanhouse, 81, of Burlington, passed away peacefully Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at Oak Park Place in Burlington.
Norma was born in Richland Center on July 28, 1941, to Norman and LaDema (nee Beeman) Chitwood. She grew up on the family farm in Bosstown and won many awards during her 4-H years showing her Jersey cows. She graduated from Richland Center High School, Class of 1959 and then went on to the two-year teacher college. She did her first teaching job in Kenosha where she met and fell in love with the boy upstairs, Bill, whom she later married on June 8, 1963 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Burlington. Together, they had four children. Norma was able to stay home with the children during their younger years. Later she went on to receive her Bachelors Degree from UW-Whitewater and a Master’s Degree in Education from UW-Platteville.
Norma worked as a teacher for over 30 years at St. Mary’s Grade School. She remembered every student, colleague, and family she had the opportunity to work with during her years there. She had an overwhelming impact on the community and will be remembered and loved by everyone.
Outside of teaching, Norma enjoyed attending live theater shows in Milwaukee along with local productions. She served hot lunch at St. Mary School after her retirement, in addition to cooking for a soup kitchen and was devoted to working the election polls. She babysat the grandkids on a regular basis. You could find Norma and Bill playing cribbage in the kitchen, where she had the winning record for over 20 years. She was a social person, talking for hours to friends and family. She had the ability to make people laugh, was a great storyteller, and had a story for everything.
Norma was a wonderful cook, baking from scratch without a recipe, not letting anyone leave her house hungry. Her grandkids remember her homemade cookies each time they visited, her cranberry relish, deviled eggs, and banana bread. She also loved making and serving the highly controversial suet pudding at Christmas. She enjoyed vegetable gardening and canning the vegetables she harvested, along with tending to her flowers.
Her love of reading afforded her many opportunities. She passionately led literary circles at the school level while teaching. She was a member of multiple book clubs in the community. She even founded the Norma Roanhouse Book Club in her last months at Oak Park Place.
Norma was known for her back scratches by her family and was her grandkids #1 fan at their sporting events. She loved cheering at her sons’ high school and college football games. She was also a devoted Green Bay Packer fan. She enjoyed camping, bird watching and was a Girl Scout leader.
Norma is survived by her children, Robin Roanhouse (Coleman), Jennifer (Claire Rutkoske) Roanhouse, and Steven (Lisa) Roanhouse; grandchildren, Christen (Javon) Moore, and Andrew, Lucas, Allison and Matthew Roanhouse; great-grandchildren, Aaron, Alycia, Aariel and Anaiah Moore, and her grand-dog Minnie.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, son Christopher Roanhouse, and son-in-law Edward Coleman. Together Norma and Bill started a college scholarship in honor of their son, Chris, after his passing.
The family would like to thank Dr. Webber and Dr. Virani for their exceptional care and love, along with Molly and Sandy from Aurora at Home Hospice, and Oak Park staff, especially Renee and Nallely, and residents.
Norma will be remembered for her sense of humor, kindness and wit. She handled everything with grace and strength, even through losing her son and battling cancer. She felt she had no pain – perhaps her reward from teaching middle school for so many years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family so that they may purchase books for the children at St. Mary School.
Visitation will be held Friday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Schuette Daniels Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church with burial to follow at St. Mary Cemetery.
Mrs. Roanhouse would like her students to remember: “The bird flew ____ the cage.”
Well-wishers may visit www.danielsfamilyfuneral.com.