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Norma Reitmeier

September 9, 1938 February 13, 2021
Norma Reitmeier
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Obituary for Norma Reitmeier
Norma Carol Reitmeier, donned her wings and went home to the place prepared especially for her by our heavenly father on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital in Mattoon with her daughter holding her hand.
She was born Sept. 9, 1938 in Champaign county to Roscoe and Ruth (Porter) Pribble. She was welcomed home by an older brother, Ray Pribble.
Mom attended Sidney Grade School and Ogden High School. She married her husband of 66 years, William Henry “Bill” Reitmeier, on Sept. 17, 1954. Bill passed away on Nov. 30, 2020. The loss of her lifelong partner was too much to bear as evidenced by her abrupt decline after his passing.
Bill and Norma married young, and Bill was subsequently drafted into the Army and stationed in Germany. While he was overseas, mom lived with her aunt and uncle, Beatrice “Babe” (Porter) Meyer and Chester Meyer in Metcalf, IL and worked at her aunt’s grocery store. After dad was discharged from the service, they were reunited and settled between St. Joseph and Royal just down the road from grandma and grandpa Reitmeier’s place where they raised their family. Their first child, a daughter, Debra Ann “Debby”, was born in 1961. Their son, Dennis Wayne “Denny”, arrived sixteen months later in 1962. Tragedy struck our family on Aug. 1, 1980 when Denny lost his life in an auto accident at the tender age of 17. We were forever changed that day; but most of all—my dear mom—who mourned the loss of her son the rest of her life.
Norma worked in various part-time jobs over the years (checker at St. Joseph IGA, housecleaner, babysitter), but family was always her top priority. She was a good ole’ country cook, and nothing compared to mom’s cooking. Her chili was prize-worthy and despite my best efforts I’ve been unable to duplicate it. She just had that special touch and rarely followed (or needed) a recipe. She made a mean goulash and just thinking of her fried potatoes with onions makes my mouth water. No one ever left her house unfed. Anyone who happened by was invited to stay for the next meal. Visitors were always offered something to eat. Cheese and crackers, cookies, and chocolates were frequent offerings. And you never left empty-handed, either. She saved things for every family member such as newspaper clippings and magazines of interest, and coupons she thought you could use.
Like many of her generation, she was very frugal and could stretch a dime into a dollar. She loved going to garage sales, shopping the clearance sales and chasing down the “blue light specials” at K-Mart. She was a coupon master, and our family was able to do more with less because of her thriftiness. Later in life, one of her favorite pastimes was shopping on “the Q” as she referred to QVC. Mom LOVED Christmas and wrapping presents. The number of presents under the tree each year was unbelievable and grew every year with the addition of each grandchild. We will always remember the fun we had at her house at Christmas time and the laughs that were shared over the “grab bag” gifts.
Mom was a collector of many things including dolls, teddy bears, angels, owls, Santas, and snowmen. She loved antiques (especially primitives) and was very knowledgeable about their history and value. In the 80’s she worked at Trunks and Curiosities in St. Joseph where she met and made friends with many others who shared her love of antiques. She rented a booth at the Gordyville flea market for several years where she thoroughly enjoyed selling her antiques and collectibles. She was very proud of her Native American heritage and had a nice collection of American Indian artifacts including turquoise jewelry, baskets, and pottery. Her favorite place to vacation was the southwest where she would visit the reservations and buy handcrafted items directly from the artisans.
Norma enjoyed the simple things in life like a good cup of black coffee, a jelly donut, ice cream, reading material of all kinds, a favorite TV show, sending greeting cards, tending her flower gardens, and watching the birds at the feeder. She loved all animals and had a special fondness for small dogs and Siamese cats. She would take in any stray and even had a pet raccoon at one time. She was not fond of technology and had no interest in computers, the internet, or cell phones. At some point after the age of 65, she developed an interest in basketball and could often be found watching a college or NBA game which her family found amusing.
Norma will be dearly missed by her daughter and best friend, Debby (Patrick) Reynolds; granddaughters, Ashley (Aaron) Brunkhorst of Tolono, Jessica (Tony) Lucca of Springfield, and Rachel (Kyle) Fortin of El Paso, Texas; great-grandsons, Alton Brunkhorst, Vincenzo “Vinny” Lucca, Giovanni “Gio” Lucca and Everett Fortin; great-granddaughter Ayla Brunkhorst and baby girl Brunkhorst due in June. We all take comfort in knowing that her parents, son, brother, husband, and many special animal companions were all joyously waiting to welcome her to heaven with big hugs and she walked again free of all pain and suffering.
She also leaves behind to cherish her memory, her brother’s wife, Margaret Pribble, who was like a big sister, a special nephew, Brad Pribble, who was like a little brother, and several brothers-in-law and their wives and children. Mom treasured her friendships with Zona Meier, Sue Hinkle, and Angie Grussing. Shirley Hawk, Esta Olinger, Peggy Paden and Maxine Smith were special friends that preceded her.
Mom had a sunny disposition and always looked on the bright side even when faced with health challenges and loss of mobility. She was a bright spot in the lives of those who knew and loved her. She was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people you could ever know, always putting the needs of others ahead of her own. She was a devoted wife, and a loving mom and Grandma Tiny. Her legacy will live on in the lives of her daughter, granddaughters, and great-grandchildren.
Krabel Funeral Home in Oakland assisted the family with arrangements. In keeping with her wishes, Norma was cremated, and no services were held. The family will celebrate her life at a later date.
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The family will hold a private memorial service at a later date.

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