Jeanne Marie Norby

With sad and heavy hearts, on Nov. 16, we had to say good-bye to our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Jeanne Marie Norby (nee Yost).

Jeanne was married for 49 years to her cherished husband, Leonard Norby, until his death in 2001. They were high school sweethearts. Jeanne was proud to be an Aquinas graduate in 1951. She remained active for years with the Aquinas Alumni Association.

Jeanne supported Leonard all through his military service in Korea. She worked at several jobs over the years and was often employed in medical care administration. She worked at St Francis Hospital as a young bride and was back there at Franciscan-Skemp after she and Len became empty-nesters. Together they had seven children. Tragically they lost their first child, Jerome, soon after his birth.

She is survived by six children, Dennis (Diane) Norby, Cheryl (David Bowen) Peterson, Larry Norby, James (Lisa Linder) Norby, Barb (Greg Yahnke) Norby and Sue (John) Neberman. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; a sister, Geraldine Opdahl; sisters-in-law, Leecie Welch, Bernadine Voss, Arlene Johnston and Marie Yost; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her husbands, Len and Doc, and her son, Jerome, Jeanne was also preceded in death by a grandson, Sean Schaller; a brother, Arthur Yost; sisters, Marjory Brower and Emily Anderson; and brother-in-law, Kenneth Opdahl.

During all the years in which Len managed two jobs, he entrusted Jeanne to be the primary caretaker for their children. Jeanne managed their household with a firm but loving hand. She always ensured that everyone had lots of chocolate in their Easter baskets, special angel food birthday cakes and full stockings on St. Nick’s. She taught her kids to reuse and recycle before being green was even a trend. She was skilled at developing creative consequences for her kids well before that was a recommended method. Her sons have hours of hilarious stories detailing some very unique chores she devised for them and the restitution she would require. Jeanne was a den mother and a Girl Scout leader to ensure that her kids would have a scout troop. She flooded the backyard in winter so her kids would have a skating rink.

Jeanne belonged to the Moose Lodge, the Eagles Auxiliary and the St. Pius Ladies Society. Jeanne was a very active member of the La Crosse Genealogy Society. She spent years compiling an extensive family history for both the Norby and the Yost families.

Jeanne and Len loved to travel, and they visited all of the lower 48 states, as well as with Canada and Mexico. Jeanne also traveled to Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Jeanne maintained extensive journals detailing their travels. Sometimes they traveled with Len’s sisters or cousins and their whole crew acquired quite a reputation for having fun times and joking.

Jeanne found someone with whom she could share her life after she lost Len when she married Merle (Doc) Holliday in 2003. She shared 10 years with him until his death in 2013.

Special thanks to all the staff at the Bluffview Memory Care facility for their compassion and sacrifices in these extremely difficult and heartbreaking times.

Jeanne’s sons and daughters would like to recognize their sister Barb for the kind and extraordinary care she gave our mother these last years of her life. Barb’s generous and selfless spirit made our mother’s life the best it could be for the longest time it was possible.

A private family funeral mass took place Friday, November 20, at Mary, Mother of the Church Church in La Crosse, with Rev. Brian D. Konopa officiating. Burial followed in Oak Grove Cemetery. The service was live-streamed on the parish’s YouTube channel which can be accessed at

Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse assisted the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be submitted at