Verna Norden


Verna Eloise Norden, 95, passed peacefully with loved ones near on September 29, 2020 at Neilson Place in Bemidji.

She was born Verna Eloise Olson on July 8, 1925 in Hawley, MN to Grace and Victor Olson. Verna and her five siblings were raised by her mother on a farm northwest of Puposky, MN. She graduated from Bemidji High School in 1943. While in high school Verna did babysitting to earn money to buy a violin and enjoyed playing in the orchestra. She completed courses in shorthand and typing. She also worked at the National Tea Grocery in Bemidji and at the Veterans’ Administration Office.

Verna married Marvin Norden on May 21, 1950 at the Bemidji United Methodist Church. They moved to Wadena, MN where Marv worked in jewelry and watchmaking for his brother Willis. Their daughter Lori was born in 1956. They returned to Bemidji where Marv worked for Matala Jewelers and Verna began a 37-year career as a dedicated secretary in Bemidji Schools. She served as head secretary for seven superintendents which she enjoyed immensely.

Verna knit, golfed, played bridge and was a fine cook and baker. She participated in Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, the MN Educational Secretaries Association and was a 70-year member of the United Methodist Church.

Verna’s highest priority was her family. Her daughter, Lori, married Pat Welle in 1978 and grandson Luke was born in 1989. Upon retirement, Verna spent several years caring for Luke. Verna was a devoted wife, mom, grandmother and mother-in-law. Verna’s mother, siblings and their families were very dear and important in her life. She found great joy in planning Olson and Norden gatherings through the years. Verna will be remembered as humble, sweet, loving, loyal, kind and fun. She had a zest for life.

Verna was preceded in death by her husband Marv, grandson Francis, her parents, five siblings, 12 sister and brothers-in-law, and four nieces and nephews. She is survived by Lori, Pat and Luke, loving nieces and nephews, sister-in-law LaVerne Olson and many dear friends who will miss her greatly.

Family is planning a gathering in Verna’s memory for the summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Bemidji United Methodist Church, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or Bemidji State University Alumni and Foundation – Verna Norden Women’s Basketball Scholarship.

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