Norma Schleppegrell passed away surrounded by family on September 18, 2022.
She was born on October 22, 1927 in Kansas City Missouri to Lawrence and Ida
(Thyfault) Walters. She married Bill Schleppegrell on August 28, 1948 in
After raising seven children, Norma began work at the Hibbing Day Treatment
Program of the Range Mental Health Center (RMHC). She completed her bachelor’s
degree at Bemidji State College at the age of 47 and became Director of Community
Support Programs at the RMHC in 1979. She retired in 1992. Norma was a strong
advocate for mental health reform who worked with Minnesota Governor Rudi
Perpich to change the ways the mentally ill were treated. The RMHC model for
community services for the mentally ill won national recognition from the McKnight
Foundation, the Minnesota Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of
Community Mental Health Centers.
Throughout her life Norma was an active leader at Blessed Sacrament Church in
Hibbing. As a young mother she organized support programs through the church for
people in need, and she served on numerous committees of lay members. She was
always to be seen in the front pew at services. Her faith was the greatest influence
on her thinking and actions and guided and sustained her through life’s challenges
and her many achievements.
Norma was a model of civic engagement, contributing in many ways to her
community. She lived a life of local and global service as a member of Rotary and the
American Association of University Women, and as a volunteer for many
organizations. She was named Titan of Taconite at the 2017 Hibbing Winter Frolic.
She served on the Hibbing Hospital board and was Chair of the Fairview Hospital
board. She was honored as Trustee of the year by the Minnesota Hospital and
Healthcare Association in 2001. She was inducted into the Hibbing Historical Society
She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Bill Schleppegrell, her
parents, brother Lawrence, sister Patricia Brengman, son Larry, infant daughter
Margaret and grandson Anthony. She is survived by her sons Bill (Nancy Loncher
Nelson), Tom (Susan Bugliosi), and Stephen (Kathy Laffin), and daughters Dr. Mary
Schleppegrell (John T. Rowntree), Betsy (Michael) Moore, and Patty (Jeff) Zbacnik,
foster daughter Kathy Iverson, 14 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and
special friend Bron Muster.
Funeral services will be held September 22 at 11:00 at Blessed Sacrament Church in
Hibbing; visitation beginning 9:30. Masks will be available. In lieu of flowers,
memorials can be made to Blessed Sacrament Church of Hibbing, Project Care, or
the Minnesota Alliance for the Mentally Ill.