Norma Beuter Larson
07/11/2022 - 09/05/2022
Obituary For Norma Beuter Larson
Norma Beuter Larson, age 93, of Rockford, Illinois finished her earthly efforts on Labor Day, September 5, 2022. She was born on July 11, 1929, in Northwestern Chicago to John and Hermine (Weberuss) Beuter. She had a unique childhood, spending almost a year back in Germany with her mother at age four and recuperating months in the hospital for a pre-penicillin ruptured appendix at age five. She was the anti-helicopter parent, having routinely navigated two Chicago streetcars by herself for weekly piano lessons by age six. Her boys, as grade-schoolers, recall her only admonition when telling her they were going to ride their bikes the six miles from home to Brookfield Zoo on the county forest preserve trails was to be careful crossing Ogden Avenue and to be home in time for dinner.
She excelled in school, skipping a grade at Prussing Grammar School and graduating from Carl Schurz High School. Her dream was to be a newspaper reporter just like her heroine in the comics, Brenda Starr, but ‘nice’ girls in the ‘40s couldn’t do things like that, so she traveled to Northern Illinois State Teachers College in DeKalb and trained to be an elementary teacher. At Northern, she made her best life-long friends, Marilyn and Dori, and joined the Tri Sigma sorority. Oh, and also met the love of her life on a blind date, Ralph Larson, a farm boy from Sycamore whose family still had an outhouse and a team of plow horses to meet you at the highway when the spring rains made the country roads too muddy for car travel – so romantic! And she did become a reporter of sorts; after turning down an offer to edit the fledgling campus newspaper, she got her preferred job of writing the anonymous campus tattler column. Later in life, she was the editor-in-chief of her sorority national magazine, The Triangle, and also wrote a history of the sorority. For decades, she wrote weekly columns: Fireside Tete-a-Tete for the Hinsdale Doings, The Chalk Line for The Lake Mills Leader, and in her 80’s, Under the Door for residents of Wesley Willows Castle Towne Center. Pre-computers, her boys were the only kids in college who received weekly typed letters because Mom was always in front of her trusty Underwood banging out copy.
After marriage in 1950, Norma taught upper elementary students in Lombard and Hinsdale prior to children, birthed and raised three boys as a full-time mother in Elmhurst and Hinsdale, and then went back to teaching at Walker School in Clarendon Hills in the ‘70’s. The family had vacationed in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, for many years, and in 1986 built their dream home on the shores of Rock Lake after Ralph retired. Under a humorous threat of divorce, she ended her teaching career in 1990 as Walker’s Learning Center Director where it was her goal to foster a love of reading in every child, and moved full-time to Lake Mills. Their retirement years were idyllic, filled with annual Elder Hostel trips and other travel. Church, school and community volunteerism was a focus, particularly the Lake Mills Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow. They cherished time with friends and family, especially being the very best Nana and Papa ‘Lake’ to their five grandchildren where they all learned that games have a Loser too. We know there must be a Rock Lake in Heaven and most assuredly Mom and Dad are now enjoying their sunsets together again out on the pontoon boat.
In 2010, they decided to sell their home and moved to a spacious apartment at Wesley Willows in Rockford. Unfortunately, Ralph passed shortly after the move, so she spent ten good years as an independent widow, choosing her own car for the first time in her life, and developing a Rockford set of friends. She was even a volunteer reading coach at a local elementary school. The nursing home lockdowns and isolation of the Covid pandemic were physically and mentally hard on Norma and all other residents. After surviving breast cancer and a radical mastectomy performed by her family doctor in 1969 (that was a different time!), she was on no prescription medications until near the very end. Sadly, she had lost her ‘fire’ by the time things opened back up from the pandemic, but her attitude about life remained rosy. Just like her blood type, she always said to Be Positive! The family is grateful to the many wonderful caregivers at Wesley Willows who helped her daily as her life neared its completion, and her church family at Brooke Road United Methodist Church.
Norma is survived by her three sons; Jay of Rockford; Kent (Kathleen) of Sarasota, Florida; and Ned (Elizabeth) of Panama City Beach, Florida; grandchildren Stephanie, Amanda, Isabel, Brian, and Peter; great-grandchildren Brooklyn, Solomon, and Sidney; her faithful and favorite (and only) sister, Nada Pearl Geddes; her sister-in-law, Jill Beuter; her faithful Larson in-laws, Raymond and Carol; and numerous nieces and nephews including her favorite, Kelley. She is pre-deceased by her parents; her husband; her brother, John; and so many of her contemporaries.
No local services are planned at this time. The family will honor Norma with a gathering in the future. If you choose to honor Norma’s life with a memorial gift, we leave that to your discretion. She always expected herself, her students, and her family to make a difference in this world, so give in her honor to some organization important to you that is doing just that.