Norman Paul Roorda was born on July 23, 1928 near Pella, Iowa to Anna Marie Ter Louw Roorda and Isaac G. Roorda. He died on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2012. He graduated from Prairie City High School, attended Central College in Pella, and graduated from Iowa State University in 1950 with a B.A. degree in agriculture. He attended Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames where he met Dorothy Lawrence, a Home Economics student from Craig, Missouri. He married Dorothy on September 5, 1950. He served in the U.S. army from 1950 to 1952 including 18 months in South Korea where he served as company carpenter-- amphibious outfit, and fire direction specialist--artillery. After returning from Korea in 1952, Norman and Dorothy began farming near Monroe where they lived, worked, and raised their family until moving to Pella in 2006. In 2007 they moved to the Madrid Home for the Aging.
Norman was active in public and community affairs for most of his life. Among many other activities, he was active in the Republican Party, served as chairman of the Jasper County Farm Bureau, served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1967 to 1974 where he held various leadership and committee positions, and served on the Jasper County Board of Supervisors. He was a former member of the Newton United Presbyterian Church and was a current member of the Monroe Presbyterian Church. He was active on church committees and leadership, taught Sunday school for many years, served as an elder for thirty years, and sang bass in the choir.
He is survived by his wife and love of his life Dorothy of Madrid, his six children and their spouses: Bruce Roorda of Craig, MO; Rebecca Roorda and David Johnson of Madrid; Marilyn and Dan Bishop of Portland, OR; Douglas and Esther Roorda of Pella; Nancy and Harvey Nicholson of Kuwait; and Dirk and Astaire Roorda of Dayton, OH. He is also survived by his brother Jim (Ruth) Roorda of Kankakee, IL; sisters Joyce Edel, Chicago, IL; Audrey (Gordon) Henry, Newberry, SC; and Beulah (Wayne) Zoutendam, Chili, WI; his grandchildren Isaac (Katie), Wilson, Hannah, Sarah, Joseph, and Dorothy Roorda; Matthew Bishop; Peter, Andrew and James Nicholson; and Adele, Jacqueline, and Eva Roorda; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother-in-law Anna Ruth and Gilbert Rhodes, brother-in-law George Edel (Joyce), daughter-in-law Gail Ryan Roorda (Bruce), and two nieces.
He read poems to his children and grandchildren, particularly Ogden Nash, liked to sing, thought up puns and funny stories while working in the field, and worked hard. He always did his best to be a loving husband and father and a good role model, to do what was right, and not to leave the hard work to others.
He is remembered with much love and respect by his family and friends.
Norman was cared for with love, dignity, and compassion during his final years and days by the wonderful staff at the Madrid Home. Norman's family encourages memorials in his name to be sent to the Madrid Home, 613 W. North St., Madrid IA 50165. Memorials may also be sent to Heifer Project International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202, www.heifer.org, and to the Monroe Presbyterian Church, Monroe, Iowa 50170.
We both enjoyed getting to know Norm through church. It was through that connection that we came to be on the receiving end of his wonderful stories. Due to other commitments we can't be at his service tomorrow, but please know that we're thinking of you. A special greeting goes to Doug, Nancy and Dirk from "Mrs. Grier." Your dad left quite a legacy in you!
Dear Dorothy & family, We want to extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family at this time of losing your husband and father. Due to other commitments, we will not be able to attend the memorial service, but, will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless You.
To the Roorda Family: Norman may have passed from this life, but he will always remain alive thanks to the wonderful gift we call memory.
I loved going to the "farm" when I was little. Uncle Norman always had a smile on his face, and made us laugh. LOVE YOU
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