Norma Rose (Dingeldein) Croft of Cut Bank (1946-2016) and more recently of Great Falls, MT passed away quietly in her apartment on 2/22/22 of renal failure at the age of 94 years and 222 days. Her life began in The Bronx, New York City, New York on July 15, 1927, the only child of George and Julia (Wagner) Dingeldein. She attended PS 34 through all elementary and junior high grades and was her class valedictorian. Graduation from all-girls Walton High School in 1945 prepared her for a life-long love of learning. Her education continued in Monroe Secretarial School where she graduated from an accelerated program of accounting and office practices in Sept 1945. Norma went back to school to study accounting at Flathead Valley Community College in 1971 and took correspondence courses in other subjects from University of Nebraska. William S (Bill) Croft proposed by telegram upon his honorable discharge from the U. S. Navy and he and Norma were married October 12, 1945 in Tacoma, WA. When they renewed their vows on their 50th anniversary, both agreed they'd do it again every 50 years. They started married life living in the Croft Hotel in Tacoma and moved to Cut Bank in January of 1946 where Bill worked on rigs in the oilfield. Their children were all born and educated in Cut Bank. Lee B Croft was born in 1946, Jerry G Croft was born in 1947, Wayne S Croft joined the family in 1953 and finally a girl! Nancy J Croft was welcomed by all in 1963. After Nancy started grade school, Norma went to work as Office Manager of the Pioneer Press newspaper where she worked until Croft Petroleum needed an Office Manager and she stayed employed there, working in the family business, until her retirement in 1987. Outside of work, Norma filled her time with community service. She was in the start-up of Cut Bank Woman's Club and held many offices, including their scholarship chairman and birthday calendar chair and President of District VII in 1970-72, building friendships through Garden and Literature club. Norma loved to play cards and knew more than 100 ways to play solitaire. Bridge Clubs, Pinochle Groups, bowling leagues kept her active and socially engaged. She taught Sunday School and volunteered in many capacities at St Paul Lutheran Church where she sang in their choir for nearly 60 years. Norma was a member of the VFW Auxiliary, chairing the Voice of Democracy scholarship program for many years. She served as Secretary for the Historical Society. Enjoying crafts of every type kept her knitting, crocheting and sewing, while passing those skills to her following generations. She volunteered in the HOST reading program as well as America Reads in Cut Bank School system. Norma and Bill were involved in the start-up of Cut Bank's Good Sam RV club called the Glacier Penguins. She was a beloved sister of P.E.O. Chapter M. Hobbies of interest included: fishing, snowmobiling, reading, boating, RVing, traveling, puzzles and crafts of every kind, gardening, rowing and she called "Grandchildren and great-grandchildren" her favorite "Special Interests." Norma and Bill built a life they loved together in Cut Bank and at Ashley Lake. In the 1980s they began spending their winters "on the road" in the RV while enjoying extended stays with Lee's family in Arizona and Wayne's family in Texas. The couple enjoyed this lifestyle until Bill's death from pulmonary fibrosis in November 2003. She was a woman of great faith and believed in "doing your best and leaving the rest to God." Norma was preceded in death by her parents, George (1968) and Julia (1983) Dingeldein. Bill and Norma are survived by their children Lee Croft and wife Lesley Hoyt-Croft of Phoenix, AZ, Jerry and wife Diana (Dudley) Croft of Cut Bank, MT, Wayne and wife Judy (Pluenneke) Croft of Corpus Christi, Tx and Nancy and Bob (her favorite son-in-law) Jacobson of Cut Bank, MT. The Crofts are survived by their beloved grandchildren Cathy Croft Schade (and Richard) of Morton, WA; Christopher W. Croft of Phoenix, AZ; William J. (and Rhonda) Croft of Spokane, WA, Jessica Croft (and Todd Bailey) of Moscow, ID; Tyler (and Sarah Conaway) Croft of Great Falls, MT; Michael (and Claire Molenaar) Croft of Missoula, MT; Hayden Croft of North Hollywood, CA; Jordan Croft of Rosamond, CA; Daniel (and Alyxandra Hopkins) Croft of Houston, TX.. The great-grandchildren, Josi Gloria, Sunny Kirchner Daze, Azalyn Croft, Ayana Croft, Elisabeth Croft, Christopher J. Croft, Iris Bailey, Cora Bailey, and baby Caroline Croft were all said to be worth the 94-year wait! (Caroline was born 8 days before Norma's death.) Great-Great granddaughter Bonnie Daze rounds out the 5th generation of Norma's descendants. Norma will be missed by many, but especially her best friend, Gloria Hedge, who has been an incomparable companion and correspondent for more than 80 years! Norma is survived by nieces Christine (& Larry) Childers (NC,) and Melanie (& Jim) Dempsey (VA) and nephews Hugo (& Carolyn) Croft (CA) and Kelly (& Kathy) Croft (FL.) Norma's instructions to you are this, from a newspaper clipping she’d saved for many, many years: To Remember Me (by Robert Test www.livingbank.org) At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped. When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine And don’t call this my “deathbed.” Call it my “bed of life,” and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives. Give my sight to a man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman. Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain. Give my blood to the teenager who has been pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play. Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week. Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk. Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her windows. Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow. Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God. If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever. Cremation has taken place and her ashes co-mingled with her husband’s. A memorial service is planned for July 7th at St Paul Lutheran Church in Cut Bank with an imposition of ashes ceremony for family at a later date. Please consider supporting Alzheimer’s Association or make donations to St Paul Lutheran church or a local shelter for children or animals.
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