July 20, 2011

Norma Mae Biel

Norma Mae Biel went to meet her heavenly father on Saturday, July 9, 2011, at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, San Gabriel, Calif.
Norma Mae was born Aug. 21, 1948, at Mercy Hospital in Williston, N.D., to Norman Alva and Mabel Margaret (Urang) Hearonemus. She was given the name Norma after her father. Norma Mae was baptized into the Lutheran faith in October of 1948 in the basement of the First Lutheran Church, which had been destroyed by fire earlier that year. She received her primary and high school education through the Watford City Public Schools. She was an active member of the FHA, worked on the school newspaper, and was a Candy Striper at McKenzie County Memorial Hospital. Norma Mae was also active in the youth organizations at First Lutheran Church, and was confirmed on Oct. 31, 1963, by Pastor Carl Jensen. Norma Mae loved music, and as a young child took piano lessons and sang in the church choir. All through high school, she sang in the high school choir and competed in vocal solos in district and state music contests. In her senior year, she sang in German, receiving the only superior rating in the State Music Festival from the Watford City Vocal Music department, something she was very proud of. Norma Mae graduated from high school in 1966.
Her lifetime dream was to become a nurse. In the fall of 1966, she entered the Trinity Hospital School of Nursing in Minot, N.D., three-year diploma program, where she received many academic and nursing care awards. Norma Mae graduated in May of 1969. She returned to Watford City, and for the next four weeks buried herself in her nursing books while studying for the State Nursing Boards. Again, she scored very high and became licensed as a registered nurse. Norma Mae received the first nursing scholarship given by the McKenzie County Memorial Hospital. The scholarship required the recipient to work at the Hospital for a minimum of 15 months following graduation, so she started her nursing career there.  In September of 1970, she moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the California Lutheran Bible School for a two-year program of study. While in school, she also worked evenings and weekends at California Lutheran Hospital. Here Norma Mae met the love of her life and future husband, Dennis Biel.
Norma Mae and Dennis were married July 14, 1974, at the First Lutheran Church in Watford City. After their marriage, they made their home in Alhambra, Calif. She worked on the cardiac unit of the Garfield Hospital in Monterey Park, Calif., until she decided to return to school to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Norma enrolled in the Azusa Pacific College School of Nursing program in Azusa, Calif., for two years to finish her degree work. The nursing instructor encouraged her to pursue her master’s degree, but she decided not to do so. Norma Mae did complete studies at UCLA, earning her PHN. In 1980, Norma Mae and Dennis decided to purchase their first home. After much looking, they selected a home in Temple City, Calif., and made the big move. Moving meant many changes, but the most important one was finding a new church. They discovered Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Temple City, and made it their church home. They jumped in with both feet and soon became very active members, singing in the church choir, teaching Bible classes and serving on church boards. During this time, Norma Mae worked for several home health agencies, starting as a field visiting nurse doing initial assessments and wound care, which she enjoyed greatly. For a time she served as the director of nursing for a small agency. Her final years in nursing were spent doing utilization review until her health forced her to retire.
In the early 90s, a longtime friend asked that Norma Mae and Dennis assume legal care of her son upon her death. Norma Mae and Dennis willingly agreed, and became the conservators for young Matthew Paulson. Norma Mae was very proud of her entire family and could often be heard bragging about her nieces and nephew. She always tried to make it back to North Dakota to take part in special events in their lives. Norma Mae was a die-hard North Dakotan, being very proud of her home state.
Norma Mae is survived by her loving husband of 37 years, Dennis; her brother, Alan, Grand Forks, N.D.; her sister, Gale (Harvey) Link, Wahpeton, N.D., and sister-in-law, Linda Frisinger, Downingtown, Penn.; her nieces, Sarah (Christian) Schultz and their children, Schuyler and Aia, Dallas, Texas; Amber Link, Dallas, and nephew, Matthew Link, Redondo Beach, Calif.; her conserved son, Matthew Paulson, California, and cousin, Kenneth (Carol) Jefferson, Litchville, N.D.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Norman and Mabel Hearonemus; her in-laws, Elmer and Hulda Biel; and many aunts and uncles.
The funeral service and internment was held at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier Park, Calif.