Norma Janke (Janke) BoeJune 24, 1929 ~ April 3, 2017 (age 87)
Norma Janke Boe ended her journey with Alzheimer’s on April 3, 2017. She was 87 years old. While this journey of twelve years stole from her the pleasures of her golden years, it did not change who she was prior – a caring, loving, smart and hard working woman who treasured family, friends, animals (especially cats), and traveling.
Norma was born in Bismarck, ND on June 24, 1929, to George and Florence Eichler Janke. At the age of six, she moved with her family to Missoula, MT. After graduating from Missoula Senior High in 1947, she continued her education in Business School. Her first job was with the Northern Pacific Railroad in Missoula. She got “bumped” from her Missoula position to Bozeman, where she met the love of her life, Herbert “Russell” Boe. They were married on June 14, 1953.
The first 14 years of their marriage, Russ’s career took them to Conrad, Big Sandy and Broadus in Montana, during which their four children, Ronald, Julene, Gary, and David were born. While raising a family, Norma worked part time. She was a census worker for the 1960 US census in Big Sandy, and secretary for an attorney while living in Broadus. In 1967, they moved to Duluth, MN. In Duluth, Norma had an opportunity to return to work with the Northern Pacific Railroad (later Burlington Northern) as a part time switch board operator and assistant to the station manager. Later, she began working full-time with General Electric until that office closed. She then became the secretary for the board chair and the president of North Shore Bank until she retired. After retirement, she volunteered in the gift shop at the UMD’s Tweed Museum of Art. Norma was an active member of Glen Avon Presbyterian Church. She sang in the choir, served on the Session, and volunteered in the church office.
Norma and Russ made close lifelong friends in every community in which they lived. These included neighbors, members of Glen Avon Presbyterian Church and people who worked with them. They continued to stay in touch with friends who had moved away by exchanging letters, birthday and Christmas cards. Family was also important and they enjoyed opportunities to connect with both the Boe and Janke family members. She loved getting together with sisters, Jane and Helen and brother, Jim. Whenever Russ organized a Boe family reunion in Montana, Norma’s sisters, Jane and Helen, were the first to sign up.
Norma enjoyed traveling together with Russ to many parts of the United States, visiting family, attending conferences, or just getting away to enjoy a quiet place in their trailer. They also traveled to Germany to visit son David who was serving in the Army and to Norway for a Boe family reunion. After retirement, Norma and Russ attended many elder hostels in the Southwest. Later they began spending their winters in Arizona, which also gave them the opportunity to spend time with Ron and Sue and their dogs.
While Norma loved the attention from the dogs owned by her children Ron and Julene, cats were always her first love. There was usually at least one cat in her life, until the death of Kitty, a stray rescued from a snowbank. For her 70th birthday, Russ surprised her with “cat stuff” telling her it was time to get another cat. Soon there was a photo in the paper of a cat available for adoption that looked identical to Kitty, which they adopted and called Katie. Katie traveled to and from Arizona with them until Norma and Russ moved to Lakeshore where pets were allowed to visit, but not stay.
Norma enjoyed cooking and specialized in baking breads and cinnamon rolls. The Betty Crocker cookbook she received as a wedding gift had her handwritten notes throughout and became very tattered from years of use. She was also an avid walker and one year came in first place for her age category for the Park Point Five Miler. At Lakeshore, she was known as the “walker.”
Norma was preceded in death by her parents, husband Russell, son Gary, sister Jane Mason, and sister-in-law, Marian Janke.
She is survived by son, Ronald (Susan) Boe, daughter Julene (Dale Lucas) Boe, son David (Kristina Solon Boe) Boe, four grandchildren, Michael Boe and Lars Boe, who live in Germany and Anders and Adara Boe; brother James Janke, sister Helen (Jack) Richartz, brother-in-law Edward Mason, and many nieces and nephews.
The family is very grateful to the professional staff and auxiliary volunteers of the Ecumen Lakeshore for the wonderful care that Norma was given during the past eight and a half years.
Visitation: 5 – 7pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at Dougherty Funeral Home. Burial will be at 11 AM Thursday, April 13th. at Park Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Glen Avon Presbyterian Church or Duluth Animal Allies. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E. Second St., Duluth, 727-3555.