Norma Dean Eldridge, aged 92, of Battle Creek, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 1, 2021, at Glenn Arbor Hospice Residence in Battle Creek with family by her side. The family will host a visitation at noon and a memorial service at 1 p.m., on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 inside the worship center of Christ United Methodist Church, 65 Bedford Road North, Battle Creek. Pastor Janet Wilson will officiate. Please social distance as much as possible and wear a face mask. One may access a live broadcast from their car radio by tuning to 89.1 FM while parked outside of the worship center.
Norma was born March 26, 1929, in Gowanda, New York, the daughter of Thomas F. Wisniewski and Anna (Wenda) Wisniewski. While a baby, the family moved from Gowanda to Saint Joseph, Missouri, where much of her extended family already resided. At approximately eleven years of age, she and her family moved to Battle Creek, where her father found work. It was there she would eventually meet the love of her life, Robert (Bob) E. Eldridge. On August 10, 1947, they married on a warm, sunny afternoon in Bob’s parents’ backyard.
Norma enjoyed children, which guided and influenced her life’s choices and goals. One of the most life-changing of those goals was creating a family with Bob. In 1948 and 1949, while residing in the Urbandale area of Battle Creek, their first two sons, Michael (Mike) and David (Dave) were born. For a short time in the early 1950s, Norma and Bob and their little family moved to Berrien Springs, where Bob and Norma would manage a variety store together. While in Berrien Springs, their third son, Gary, was born. The family returned to Battle Creek by the time Mike began kindergarten. Their youngest son, James (Jim), was born as a bit of surprise in 1957. In the summer of 1969, once Gary had graduated high school and Jim was moving on to seventh grade, she, Bob and Jim moved to the former cottage of Bob’s parents located on Pleasant Lake, near Delton. From the early to mid-1970s, Norma worked in the Delton-Kellogg Schools cafeterias. In the spring of 1980, Norma moved back, with Bob and Jim, to Urbandale. She would spend the rest of her life there, where for a time, she worked in the Urbandale Elementary School cafeteria and taught ceramics in the basement of her home.
From the time she moved back to Battle Creek, she was a faithful member of Christ United Methodist Church. There, she started a Christian-based children’s group called Pioneer Club, took her turn at teaching children’s Sunday school, being a Sunday school superintendent and leading crafts for vacation Bible school. She was also a dedicated church choir member.
She enjoyed music and being creative. Pursuit of these interests led to her participation in Battle Creek Community Chorus, playing piano, cooking (she loved looking through recipe books), sewing, knitting, crocheting, gardening and canning to name a few.
Norma is survived by her sons, Mike (Kerry) Eldridge of St. Petersburg, Florida; Gary (Tricia) Eldridge of Lowell, and James (Roger Ballard) Eldridge, daughter in-law, Sally Eldridge, all of Battle Creek, 11 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. Husband, Bob, son, Dave and daughter in-law, Margaret Eldridge, predeceased her.
Please contribute to one or more of the following entities in memory of Norma:
• Christ United Methodist Church, 65 Bedford Rd. N., Battle Creek, MI 49037
• BC Pride, Inc., c/o First Congregational Church, 145 Capital Ave. N. E., Battle Creek, MI 49017
• Battle Creek Community Foundation, 32 Michigan Ave. W., Ste. 1, Battle Creek, MI 49017 (designate your BCCF gift to Friends of Calhoun County Dog Parks. Make checks to: BCCF-DOGPKL for the Home Run Dog Park Fund or visit https://www.bccfoundation.org/fund/home-run-dog-park-fund.
Arrangements by the Bachman Hebble Funeral Service, member by invitation Selected Independent Funeral Home.