Norma Agnes (Charnstrom) Mills was born on October 9, 1929 in Montevideo, Minnesota. She was the daughter of Clarence and Agnes (Norman) Charnstrom. She was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith at Salem Lutheran Church in Montevideo. She graduated from Montevideo High School in 1947.
On June 19, 1948, Norma was united in marriage to John L. “Jack” Mills in Montevideo. Norma worked as a dental hygienist while Jack attended the University of Minnesota. When Jack’s father Everett was serving a term in the Minnesota House of Representatives they returned home to assist his father in the publication of the American News. After Everett’s death, Jack and Norma became publishers of the newspaper for many years.
To anyone who knew Norma, all would understand that her number one passion, besides Jack, was “recipes”. As Julia Child said, “find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Her talent and deep seated need to collect recipe books was connected to her purpose of contributing and serving others. As Jack and Norma were involved with the Minnesota Partners of the Americas, they entertained many visiting dignitaries from Montevideo, Uruguay, including the mayor of that city. On two occasions Norma and Jack accepted invitations to visit the mayor of Montevide, Uruguay.
Norma enjoyed many years in Montevideo with the same bridge club group. Every few years, Norma and Jack would take their turn in entertaining the bridge club with their husbands and their friends. They experienced the best in good food and good cheer.
After retiring from the Newspaper business in 1983, Norma and Jack moved to their lake home on the south side of Lake Minnewaska. At this time they were able to do extensive traveling with friends and relatives. She especially enjoyed numerous fishing trips with her sister-in-law and husband, Janice and Jerry Porter, including trips to the Guthrie Theater. She also had many other ventures with Jack’s cousin and his wife, Gary and Phyllis Schmitz.
After several years of retirement Norma and Jack preferred a more active life and started Mills Realty in 1990. Together they successfully operated this business for ten years. Norma was the workhorse, the dynamo and the drive force that kept their business successful. She enjoyed serving others and developed many friendships and repeat clients who wanted to work with Norma.
Norma became involved in the Ann Bickle Project during her real estate years in Glenwood. She was involved with numerous fundraising projects to help the group acquire the Ann Bickle house. Norma and Jack made many meaningful and lasting friendships through their efforts and involvement. Norma was able to enjoy several more years in her second retirement. After losing her husband after 63 years of marriage, she became closer to her friend, Marian Stradtman and her many friends at Curves.
Norma resided at Glenwood Retirement Village for three years. She was grateful for the care she received from the home health program and its workers. She loved her GRV bedroom, her view of the lake and the nursing staff along with all the GRV volunteers.
For the third time in five years, she became hospitalized for pneumonia. She was called peacefully from this life on Monday, May 12, 2019 while a patient at Glacial Ridge Hospital.
Norma was a devoted wife and mother.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, along with her siblings, Seymore, Lloyd and Clarice.
She is survived by two sons, Jeff of Seattle, WA and Mike of Glenwood; Swiss son, Kurt Altermatt of Solothurn, Switzerland; three granddaughters, Morgan “Lizzy” Elizabeth Mills of Bellingham, WA, Margot “Penny” Penny Mills of Deer Harbor, WA and Alice Idelle Mills of LaConner, WA; niece, Barbra (Nick) Pease of Atwater, MN as well as extended family.
A private family burial will be held in Montevideo, Minnesota.
Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home. To send online condolences, visit hoplinhitchcockfuneralhome.com and click on obituaries.