Kathleen Jennette (Norris-Nelson) Strassburger
GREEN BAY – Kathleen Jennette (Norris-Nelson) Strassburger passed away Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, after a long illness, surrounded by family. Born June 8, 1941, in Pontiac, Mich., Kathy was raised in Escanaba since she was five years old.
Affectionately known as “Tootie”, Kathy graduated from Escanaba High School in 1959, where she participated in many extracurricular activities. These were: National Honor Society, majorette with the marching band, orchestra, band, cheerleader and she was an ice skater with the local ice show each winter. She loved ice skating on Lake Michigan in the winters and swimming in Lake Michigan in the summers. She loved singing in the Presbyterian Church choir for many years. For several summers, she was a life guard and gave daily swim lessons to “Beginners” at the Escanaba beach each morning. The friendships she made in high school became a lifelong sisterhood and she treasured each and every one of them.
After graduation, Kathy attended Northern Michigan College one year before becoming a professional ice skater with Shipstad and Johnson’s Ice Follies. The show traveled throughout the United States and to several cities in Canada. She toured with the ice show for three and a half wonderful years. This experience was Kathy’s dream come true. She traveled to many major cities in the United States and made friends with many skaters, who came from the U.S.A., Canada, Australia and the UK.
After leaving Ice Follies in 1964, she returned to Escanaba and met Bob Strassburger, a civil engineer with the U.S. Forest Service in Escanaba. On May 1, 1965, they were married and lived in Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon while he remained with the U.S. Forest Service, but eventually they settled back in Bob’s hometown, Green Bay. Kathy was a stay at home mom, raising her children while supporting Bob’s private land surveying business in Green Bay. Her whole adult life was devoted to her three children and to her husband.
In 1982, Kathy went back to college and earned a bachelor of science degree with a double major in education and human development. She loved all her psychology classes and graduated Cum Laude from U.W.G.B in 1986.
Her hobbies of machine embroidery, quilting and photography had taken up most of her time in recent years. She loved making and sewing many heirlooms for her grandchildren and was an extraordinary quilt maker. She spent many hours painting in oils and acrylics and each finished piece was truly a work of art. She was so very proud of her husband, children and their eight grandchildren, Emily, Jamie, Cole, Carson, Easton, Cade, Reid and Cash. She would remember and celebrate all of life’s milestones with her loved ones. She was an avid Packer fan and would never miss a game. She loved having everyone together and always enjoyed having a good hearty laugh together. She loved all her family and friends very much. Kathy wanted to mention how much she treasured her friendship with Ardeen and referred to her as her “angel on earth.”
Kathy was preceded in death by her father, Donald McKay Norris (age 27 yrs.) of Traverse City; and by her mother, Ruby (Riddell) (Norris), Nelson of Escanaba, in 1999.
Survivors include her husband, Bob Strassburger of Green Bay; her son, Jim Strassburger and daughter-in-law Sarah Strassburger of Ft. Wayne, Ind.; her daughter, Andra (Strassburger) Parry and son-in-law Matt Parry of Omaha, Neb.; her son, Ron Strassburger and daughter-in-law Kelly Strassburger of Green Bay; her father, Del Nelson; brother, Paul Nelson and sister-in-law, Liz Ugarick-Nelson, all from Seattle.
Kathy loved Del very much (her stepfather by marriage). She loved him as her true father, as he loved her, from the day he married her mother, (when Kathy was five years old).
Survivors also include, her sister and brother-in-law Carol and Clyde Hall from Houston; her niece, Lisa Cantrell; and four nephews, David, Steven, Brian and Michael Plaisance all of Texas. She has two cousins, Mrs. Donna Perron and Mrs. Judi Orr who live in Escanaba; and a cousin Elaine Sheenan from Ostego, Mich.
We would like to thank Dr. R. VanderHeyden, Dr. Paul VandenKellen, Dr. LeMoine (her dentists) and Dr. Sturgis, her chiropractor for their expert good care. They all worked so honorably to help her with a severe jaw problem. Also, we thank the wonderful and diligent doctors who kept her up and living for seven plus years helping her with her fight against kidney cancer: Dr. Lamont, Dr. Mihailesku, Dr. Mathias, Dr. Mendoza, and Dr. Neal – all of Aurora Hospital.
A special heartfelt thank you goes to Dr. Bayer, her oncologist from Green Bay Oncology who has been her doctor for over a dozen years and a big thank you to all the many sweet nurses at Green Bay Oncology and the wound clinic for taking such good care of our mother, she loved and so appreciated all that was done to help her through the difficult times.
She wanted to thank all her family and friends for all their kind words, loving prayers and especially for their friendship. Kathy, our beloved wife, mom, nana, daughter, sister, friend, even though you went home ahead of us, we know you will be waiting with open arms one day when we come to join you.
A public memorial service will be held on Monday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. at Gardens of Rest Memorial Park in Wells. Private burial will be immediately following the service. At the request of Kathy, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Kidney Cancer Association, www.kidneycancer.org.