We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at CFFH
Our dad, Norman H. Wiseman, entered this world in Ridge Farm, IL on September 25, 1939. His parents, Harry and Rose (Ward) Wiseman had three boys in four years and the youngest was Norman. His mother, Rose, died at a young age when Norman was only two. He and his brothers were then raised by his father, Harry, and his paternal grandmother, Myrtle Blanche Wiseman, whom the boys referred to “Mom.” The family moved from central Illinois to northern Indiana, ultimately settling into their farm when Norman was a young teen. He graduated from Madison Township High School in the class of 1958. It was there that he met the love of his life, Sonja E. Gall, and the couple married on February 14, 1959. Our parents were happily married for 36 years, until her death in 1995. They endured many sorrows including the sudden death of their second child when he was just 12. But they also enjoyed many blessings and especially treasured their five children, June, Ray, Julie, Ron and Jody.
Dad married Dee Griggs on May 1, 1999. They also have shared many happy years together and she survives him. Also surviving are four of his children, June (Bill) Bails of Elkhart; Julie (David) DeFauw of Mishawaka; Ron (Jeneen Crane) Wiseman of Mishawaka; and Jody (Kevin Small) Wiseman of South Bend. Other surviving family members include his grandchildren, Caitlin (Andrew) Wiele, Ethan DeFauw, Chloe DeFauw and Bryce DeFauw, and his great grandchildren, David and Luke Wiele. His sister Maggie Wiseman and Sonja’s sisters, Shirley McMillan, Carol (Gene) Huff and Verna Smith, all survive him. He was a special uncle to many of our cousins who will cherish his memory as well. Surviving relatives from his marriage to Dee include her sons, Bob (Sandy) Griggs and Mike (Kim) Griggs, her siblings, Ellen (Gene) Wilkeson and Kenny (Zinita) Welsh, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Dad was preceded in death by his son Raymond Wiseman, his parents and his brothers, George Phillip “Phil” Wiseman and Patrick Jeremiah “PJ” Wiseman.
Our dad learned his tireless work ethic growing up on a farm. As a young husband and father, he held multiple jobs at businesses such as Rockwell Standard, Studebaker and AM General. He subsequently learned the plumbing trade and worked for various companies until he and Sonja took a leap of faith and formed Norman Wiseman Plumbing. He took great pride in his work and his ability to provide for his family. He performed his skills in new construction, remodeling and repairs to everyone who sought his expertise. He continued running his plumbing company for years after our mom’s death. After closing up his shop, he worked as a St. Joe County plumbing inspector for nearly a decade. In recent years he resumed plumbing and continued to find tremendous satisfaction in his work until his final days.
He was a long-time member of Cedar Road Missionary Church in Osceola where he relished the title of “Norman the Doorman.” He loved preparing the entrance where he would greet each person with a smile and a kind word. He made certain everyone felt welcome and special as they came to worship on Sundays. He served as an usher and assisted with any other necessary role including maintenance, lawn care and cleaning. He was a faithful attender and supporter of the church for greater than 50 years during which time he forged many precious and lasting friendships.
Our dad enjoyed being with people. He didn’t know a stranger and could talk to anyone. He loved being greeted with a hearty “Norm!” when arriving anywhere. He was a born storyteller and entertained friends and family with his vivid recollections and memories. When sharing any story, he invariably asked for a scrap of paper on which he would draw a picture to complete the tale.
For years he enjoyed traveling to Canada for fishing trips and he treasured the long talks, especially those with his own dad, while waiting for the northern pike to bite. He and Mom visited Hawaii for their silver wedding anniversary where he was especially moved by the history at Pearl Harbor. He also enjoyed the hula dancers. He made road trips across the country with Ron delivering RV's, pointing out highlights in the units to dealers to increase potential sales. Other special trips included visiting London and Ireland (his mother’s birthplace) with Julie and seeing Washington, D.C. and the Grand Canyon with Jody.
“Stormin’ Norman” was a loyal Penn sports fan who faithfully attended boys basketball and football games for decades. More recently, he began following the girls basketball teams there as well. He loved cheering for his teams. And he loved to shake his cowbell.
His hands were never idle as he found joy in manual labor. Despite his advancing years, he remained strong and thrived on physical work. He maintained his large lawn, tended a vegetable garden, plowed snow and performed countless tasks for his many family members. His mind was equally active, devoting untold hours to solving problems and improving plans. He created unique tools and always wished he had patented one of his many inventions. He was creative and resourceful and could build and repair nearly anything. He saw potential in scrap parts and materials, always saving items that he might use later. Although his thrift was initially born of necessity, he maintained his lifelong frugality as a matter of principle. In a classic Dad-style attempt to teach June the value of a dollar, he charged her weekly rent from the time she graduated from high school until she married and moved out. He did eventually return the envelope of cash to her.
Norm could be counted on for a few absolutes. Whenever he encountered a pretty lady, he would flirt with her. If he was behind the wheel, he was driving a Ford, from one of his work trucks to his beloved Thunderbird. And his face was always framed by his beard, which even chemo couldn’t take away.
He always said he wasn’t much of a student, but he was a gifted teacher who taught us valuable lessons by his example. He will be missed by all those who had the good fortune to know him. Our family is grateful to have had him for as long as we did, although his loss was sudden and much too soon. We are also thankful for his lifetime filled with loving friends and extended family who enriched both his life and ours. Celebrate your reunion with Mom and rest in peace, dear Dad. We love you.
Visitation will be held from 3-7 pm Sunday, May 22, 2022, at Cedar Road Missionary Church, 56907 Cedar Road, Osceola, Indiana. There will also be one hour of visitation prior to the 11:00 am funeral service on Monday, May 23, 2022, at Cedar Road Missionary Church. Norm will be laid to rest following the service in Olive Cemetery, Elkhart, Indiana. Cruz Family Funeral Home of Osceola has been entrusted with his care. A live stream of Norm’s service will begin at 10:45 and can be viewed directly through his personal webpage on Cruz Family Funeral Home’s website.
Memorial donations in Norman’s memory can be made to the Cedar Road Missionary Church. To light a virtual candle, share a story of Norm’s life, or leave a message of comfort for his family, please follow the links provided on the tribute wall tab above.
Cedar Road Missionary Church
56907 Cedar Rd, Osceola, Osceola IN 46561