Norma J. Grant
December 22, 1939 November 29, 2023
Norma J. Grant, 83, Libby Lake in rural Itasca County, peacefully passed in her home November 29, 2023 with family by her side.
Norma was born December 22, 1939, at her grandmother’s home in Jamestown, ND to John and Theresa (Degen) Tanata and was known to all family as ‘Jean.’ Norma lived on a small farm near Courtenay, ND and attended a one-room schoolhouse from the ages 4-6, then lived in Jamestown attending St. John’s Academy until the age of 17 when she left to join the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, MN. Norma graduated from St. Catherine University in St. Paul and, while teaching secondary math and physics in Marshall, MN, and math at Derham Hall in St. Paul, earned a master’s degree from Duke University. She left the religious order after twelve years and worked as a programmer at Univac for two years before marrying Charles Grant in 1971 and then moving to Libby Lake where Charles established a custom woodworking business.
Norma and Charles lived a ‘simple life’ raising most of their food, milking goats and making cheese, raising chickens, rabbits and even a couple of pigs. Bread-making days began with grinding wheat and ended with 18 loaves of bread and many rolls in the freezer.
After all three children were in school, Norma went back to teaching, part-time at Mesabi Range College and Greenway Middle School, and then full-time at Greenway High School until her retirement in 1999. After a bout with breast cancer in 2002 and then diabetes, Norma became involved in various support groups. TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) was an important weekly activity, and when Charles developed Lewey Body Dementia the groups extended to Caregiver, Parkinson’s, and dementia groups. She dealt with serious A-Fib for years and her last bout with lung cancer was fought in the spring of 2021, but unfortunately it metastasized by October of 2023, and she chose to not seek anymore treatments and be kept comfortable in her home.
Norma will be remembered by family and friends especially for her love of reading, knitting (many, many, Aran sweaters, afghans and hat/scarf combinations for family and TOPS), Sudoku, snowmobiling, and baking (especially lemon meringue pie) along with her addiction to exercise by treadmill walking and her inability to sense directions without a GPS. Her hair never turned gray, and her glass was always more than half full.
Norma was preceded in death by her husband Charles in 2016, parents, John and Theresa Tanata, and brothers Dennis and William.
Norma is survived by: son, Chuck (Patty) Grant of rural Staples, MN; daughters, Lorna (Marc) Rouleau of Westminster, MA and Sara (Rich) Anderson of Libby Lake; grandchildren; RosaJean Anderson, Iridia and Alex Rouleau, Kyle and Collin Anderson, Carlene Breckenridge, Courtney Carlson, and Candice Boutin; and great-grandchildren; Charle Rose Bertram; Lucas, Jaxson, Clara and Nicholas Breckenridge; Jaidyn and JacieAnna Gross and Liam Hoheisel; Eli and Ian Anderson; sisters, Elaine Gillingham of Pigeon, MI, and Mary Ann (Donald) Siebert of Jamestown, ND.
The following is a message to all—a memorial first published in the obituary of Emily Philips and edited.
“So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor. But I DID have the chance to know and love friends as well as my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?
“So in the end, remember; Do your best…and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling…
“I’ll leave you with this…please don’t cry because I am gone; instead, be happy that I was here. Or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away.”
Funeral arrangements are with the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.