Norma K. Funke, 78, a lifelong member of the Polson community and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, passed away from natural causes while surrounded by her family on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Missoula.
She was born in Polson on April 1, 1939, to Elwood “Shorty” and Leota “Dottie” Noel Joy. Norma was the oldest of four girls and had a very large, extended family.
As a child, Norma’s family lived in various homes around Polson, but her fondest memories were of the years she lived in the Mountain View area, in the shadow of the beautiful Mission Mountains. She graduated from Polson High School in 1957 and married her high school sweetheart and first husband, Dean Redekop, in 1958. Together, she and Dean had five children, Gwen, Russell, Geri, Gay and Genean. Dean was tragically lost in a car accident in 1971. In 1975 Norma and Jim Funke were married and together they lovingly raised their family. Family and home were the center of her world.
Norma was a very bashful and sweet child with dimples and the brightest smile ever. She eventually grew out of her shyness and blossomed into one of the most fun loving, good humored people ever. Yes, she was a hoot! We have been blessed with many cherished family stories of Norma’s colorful humor and amusing antics.
Norma had an incredibly strong work ethic and passed this along to her family. As a lifelong community member she worked in various places. In her early teens she waited tables at the Pirate Cafe and later, the Hut Cafe. She worked for many years at Eddie’s Drug store. She and Jim also managed the family business, Hillcrest Nursery. In the 1990s Norma went back to school and earned an associate’s degree in medical records and eventually worked for CSKT.
She raised gardens, canned and was a wonderful cook and baker. She was also an accomplished seamstress, quilter, crafter and painter. Family gatherings and holidays were her favorite times. She was a friend to all she knew and will be greatly missed.
Norma was preceded in death by her first husband, Dean; son, Russell; infant granddaughter, Amber Luke; father, Elwood Joy; mother, Leota Joy; sister, Melva Imbert; and an infant brother; along with numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Norma is survived by her husband, Jim; children, Gwen (Greg) Clairmont, Geri (Lloyd) Turnage, Gay (Mike) Speckert, and Genean Clairmont (Don). She leaves behind her sisters, Deanna (Paul) Wise and Dori (Mike) Munro. She is also survived by her cherished grandchildren, Chris, Tom, Cory, Amanda, Annie, Abby, Erin, James, Joe, Daniel, Dakota and Hunter and their spouses; plus 13 great-grandchildren. She also leaves behind her beloved pets Max and Kitty.
There will be a private family burial at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Polson Lakeview Cemetery.
Please join us in a joyful celebration of Norma’s life at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Polson Community Church at 1814 First Street East.
If you are so inclined, donations may be made in Norma’s name to the Mission Valley Animal Shelter, 36251 North Reservoir Road, Polson, MT 59860.
Memories and condolences may be sent to the family at www.thelakefuneralhomeandcrematory.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Lake Funeral Home and Crematory.