Norman Gene Slama, a resident of Lincoln, Nebraska, and formerly Wilber, Nebraska, passed away on September 26, 2023, at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital at the age of 71.
A Christmas baby, Norm was born at the Beatrice Community Hospital on December 25, 1951, to Rudolph Slama and Engeline (Langhorst) Slama, the youngest of six children.
As a boy, Norm lived with his family in rural Friend, Nebraska, and attended country school in District 52 through the seventh grade. In November 1965, his family moved to Wilber, where Norm completed his eighth-grade school year and went on to graduate from Wilber High School in 1970, playing tackle for the Wolverines, lettering in both his junior and senior years, and making honorable mention, Southern Nebraska Conference. He continued to live on the same street in Wilber for 38 years.
Norm enjoyed farm life immensely. He did chores every day, without exception, and he loved working with the livestock and helping his father in the fields, learning to drive a tractor at a young age. He spent many happy days romping with his siblings, friends, and beloved dog Blackie, as he learned to fish and hunt, shoot with a bow and arrow and, later, his first rifle.
Norm was a hard worker. While in school, Norm worked at the Wilber Bakery and the bowling alley, cleaning bowling pins. He hauled bales for local farming families at harvest, and worked for a smithy in the local blacksmith shop for two summers, under the tutelage of Ervin Brauff.
His vocational life involved 34 years of service to ALPO – the Crete plant of Allen Products based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, now known as Nestlé-Purina Pet Foods – from 1970 until 2004. He tendered another six years of service to Duncan Aviation, from 2004 until 2010, and thereafter five more years to Leach Camper Sales before retiring in 2021.
His interests were varied, and included his love for classic cars and the beautiful Barn Art he created and gifted to many. He had a huge heart and if it was within his power to do it, he loved serving and helping his neighbors, family, and friends.
Norm served as a City Councilman in Wilber from 1980 to 1984, and was a volunteer firefighter and rescue squad worker for 29 years, from 1974 until 2003. Most recently, Norm served on the Autumn Wood HOA Board of Directors where he lived.
Norm gave up his life-long bachelor status when he married Mona Lee Huddleston on February 18, 2003. They were at home in Seward briefly, thereafter moving to Lincoln in 2004, where they remained for the balance of their twenty-year marriage. They attended Heritage Bible Church in Havelock.
Norm is survived by his wife, Mona; sister-in-law Terry Slama (Beaver City); sister Janice (Jerry) Heyen (Yakima, WA); sister Karen Clem (Bellingham, WA); many beloved nieces and nephews, including Raschelle (JB) Ross (Broken Bow), Jody (Randy) VanLaningham (Hildreth), Jaylene (Chuck) Lambert (Rose Hill, KS), Kimberly Rogers (Nathan Christensen) (Orleans); Kim (Mark) Turnquist (Yakima, WA); Bill (Tammy) Sladek (Cordova), Peggy (Billy) Baugh (Friend), Christy (Jeremy) Wagner (Denver, IA), and David (Vanessa) Sladek (Friend); Julie Clem (Spokane, WA) and Lynnette (Sean) Berry (Bellingham, WA); stepson Jerod Triolo (Arvada, CO) and daughter, Ruby (Seneca, SC); and stepdaughter Natalie (Nick) Hershberger (Lincoln) and children, Lauren, Ben, Wil, Max, Ellie, and Greyson.
Norm was preceded in death by his loving parents, Rudolph (Rudy) and Engeline (Angie) Slama; infant brother, Ronald Dale Slama; brother Milton Slama and nephew Roland Slama; sister Shirley Sladek, brother-in-law William Sladek, Jr., niece Kathy Sladek, and nephew Rex Sladek; and brother-in-law Norman Clem.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Lincoln at Heritage Bible Church, 6400 Cornhusker Highway, on Saturday, October 14, at 11:00 o’clock, with a luncheon to follow.
Inurnment will be held at a later date in the family plot of the Bohemian Cemetery in Wilber, Nebraska.
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