Norine Reigelsberger — The world is a better place because of you.


Norine Reigelsberger tossing candy during the Rolfe, Iowa, July 2009 Greater Rolfe Days parade. Joe, her husband, is on the tailgate with her. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


I still just cannot believe it. Norine Reigelsberger passed away on March 9, 2012. When I was growing up, Norine, her husband Joe, and their sons Greg and Mick lived a short-1/4 mile down the gravel road from my family. In my mind, they’ll be there forever.

Anyone who knew Norine knows that she was always so full of life…and FUN! Along with that fun she certainly worked hard, both physically, creatively and in a community spirit of volunteerism, including so many acts of kindness for her family and friends. I’ll always remember Norine’s laughter, her proactive efforts in maintaining good health, and her willingness to “be there,” including for my mom and dad. Oh, and anything that came out of Norine’s kitchen, was mouth-watering, especially her cinnamon rolls!

The photo immediately below is of the local (to the Rolfe, Iowa, area) Couples Club bridge group. The group was founded in 1947-48; Norine and Joe were members from 1959-60 until the group disbanded in 1989-90. This photo was taken sometime between 1970 and 1975. My mom’s (Marion Gunderson) handwriting on the negative sleeve says “Islea [Graeber, who is in the photo below] has original.”


Couples Club couples L to R: Ruth* and Lou* Feldman, Berniece and Al* Sedlacek, Islea and Jerry Graeber, Janet and Bob* Dixon, Norine* and Joe Reigelsberger, and Marion* and Deane* Gunderson (my mom and dad). (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Norine’s mid-laughter smile in this Couples Club photo is how I will always remember her.

Norine’s biography is here. Her visitation is tonight. Her funeral service is tomorrow, Monday, March 12, 2012, at 10:30 AM at Resurrection Catholic Church, Pocahontas, Iowa.

On the following August 20, 1953, newspaper page is the wedding announcement of Joe and Norine. This page, as well as the archives of 101 years of Rolfe newspapers, is available at this searchable database.

Click twice on this newspaper image to magnify the text.



* * * * * * * *

*These Couples Club members are deceased as of March 9, 2012.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


15 Responses to “Norine Reigelsberger — The world is a better place because of you.”

  1. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    Louise, I completely share your sentiments about Noreen – and the sadness. She’s another truly goo person that broke the mold when God made her. I love the photo of everyone at Couples Club, but in particular, Noreen looks so beautiful and happy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Clara Hoover Says:

    Louise: Thanks for writing about Norine and posting the picture of her in mid-laughter. We seldom remember her when she wasn’t laughing.

    We’ve just returned from the visitation. It’s always so heart-warming to see long-time neighbors and friends, even if just briefly. As I told Joe and Sue, Norine was the closest thing to celebrity we had on our road.

  3. Clara Hoover Says:

    I want to compile “Norine” stories. She’s the only person I know who ironed her walking shorts! Thanks for posting the Rolfe Arrow containing the write-up for Joe and Norine’s wedding. I didn’t recall it was a weekday morning, but I do remember driving by the Pocahontas Hotel that morning and seeing Joe and Norine in their wedding attire standing on the steps of the hotel. My reaction? I think I was happy for them; however, I was disappoinited because I thought Joe was going to wait for me–only 16 years younger. Where did I ever get that idea?

    I’m so glad they did get married because Norine brought so much joy to all of our lives.

  4. Peg Says:

    Not to detract from this beautiful post about an amazing woman (!), but wow . . . I sure look like Mother! ❤ And today, I saw a woman who looked like Berniece. ❤

  5. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    Wow, Peg, you really do look like Mother! Much cuter and younger and wattle not the same…

  6. Marsha Graeber Swanson Says:

    Thanks so much for this post. We are vacationing out of state so had not heard this sad news and your message just came into my phone this morning.I too remember Norine so fondly…a woman of great energy who always spoke with so much enthusiasm! Her style in clothing was smashing! I always enjoyed seeing what kind of fashion statement she was making .. Including the eye glasses! We are saddened that she is no longer with us.

  7. Sue Reigelsberger Says:

    Thanks for the lovely post Louise. Even tho we watched Norine’s health fail, it is still so very hard to believe that she is gone. I will miss so very many things about her, including her cinnamon rolls, chocolate cream pie(which she always made for my birthday), She hosted a brunch for our 25th anniversary. As you can imagine, there was no lack of food and fun. And the service(Joe in an apron) was pretty hard to top!!

  8. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Thank you all for your comments, especially of your memories of Norine.

    Clara, how funny that you thought Joe would wait for you. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

    Peggy, not until you mentioned it did I see the strong resemblance between you (now) and Mother in the photo. Wow!

    Marsha, “smashing” is spot-on for whatever Norine ever wore. I remember one time I walked into the grocery store in Rolfe (maybe in the 1980s?). I had on red sweatpants and a red sweatshirt…a little grubby, but the attire fit whatever I’d just been working on. Behind me someone came through the grocery store. I heard the person say she just couldn’t believe what she had worn to town, and was embarrassed about her appearance. I turned around and saw Norine in an outfit that was clearly more dressy and tidy than what I had on. She really did always look smashing, no matter what the occasion or task at hand. And, yes…the glasses! She could have picked up a contract as endorsing an eyewear company!

    And Sue, I know it has to be rough right now. A blessing since you and the rest of Norine’s family know she is not in pain any longer, etc., but just so hard missing her so much. I can just see Joe in the apron. What a trooper and what a fun couple.

  9. Margaret McKim Says:

    Thank you Louise for sharing your thoughts about Norine. You did a wonderful job describing a very fun lady. I’m sure she will be missed by many, not only for her delicious food, but her great expressions of life. Just one comment that I don’t think many people know about our golfing days. Back in the 60s several families went to Vacation Village at West Lake Okoboji. Of course the men golfed, so we women thought we should also. We were on the course east of Milford and had played several holes. Norine ended up in the adjacent fairway. Some guy watched her swing and suggested maybe she should change her grip. She had her right hand close to the top of the club and left hand down farther. Guess we were all so new at it, no one noticed she was gripping it wrong. Of course we had a good laugh then and in years after that. We have memories of many great times with Norine & Joe.

  10. cghoover Says:

    Remember the special, homemade traffic sign Daddy installed just west of the stop sign at the intersection of our road with HWY 15 (formerly 44)? That sign said something like, “Slow down. That means you, Norine and Randy.” (Randy Howard)

  11. cghoover Says:

    Actually, now that I think about it the sign probably said, “Slow dow. That means you, Norine, Martha and Randy.”

  12. cghoover Says:

    Since I wasn’t living on the farm at the time, I probably don’t remember the exact words. And, besides, Daddy probably wouldn’t have been so deliberate or mean-spirited to put actual names on the sign. The “kids” meant kids of all ages.

    • Peg Says:

      I think maybe he did put the names, but I could be wrong. I know that however he wrote it did indicate Norine somehow, along with Marti and someone else. Yes, probably Randy. That “kids” included Norine was fun and endearing. (Though I think he also really was trying to get people to slow down.) I think he once told me he eventually had to take the sign down–that some authority told him it wasn’t legal or something. Bummer! Was fun. 🙂 ❤

  13. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    I’m pretty sure the sign included all three names – Norine, Randy, and Martha. I think he meant it both with his usual sense of humor – and wanting us to slow down.

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