Norma Jane Blunk reached the end of her long and wonderful life on December 28, 2022 at the age of 96.
Born in Toledo, Ohio on February 15, 1926, Norma was the only child of Lottie Grace (Rulapaugh) and James Adam Commager. She attended Libby High School in Toledo where she was active in clubs, sports, played clarinet, and was a member of the National Honor Society. Norma was a talented artist who took art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art at the urging of her high school art teacher.
In high school, she met her future husband, Herschell Blunk, who, as the story goes, would toss carrots at her from across the cafeteria to get her attention. It must have worked, as they were married in April 1946 after his return from WWII. The couple started their family in Toledo, then moved to Lambertville, Michigan in 1954 where they raised their three children. Following a job relocation in 1973, they moved to South Carolina where they built a log home on Lake Wylie. After moving from there, Norma and Herschell travelled around the country in their motorhome for several months and ended up settling in Florida.
Norma worked as an attorney’s secretary when she was younger, but mostly spent her time as a homemaker. She worked a few other jobs during those busy mom-times and in South Carolina she enjoyed working at the Charlotte Observer for several years. In Florida, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels, Restore (Habitat for Humanity) and also the local library. She supported several animal groups and rescue animal sanctuaries and even adopted a panda. For many years, Norma also sponsored a young boy from South America and corresponded with him until he became an adult.
Norma’s favorite love was the outdoors. She felt deeply connected to and responsible for the ecosystems she inhabited. As a child, she spent many cherished summers in New Hampshire on Squam Lake where her outdoorsman father James owned rental cabins. Norma was an avid gardener, earned a horticultural certification, and spent hours out in the yard with flowers, weeds, and a large vegetable garden. She would feed the ducks that waddled up the hill from the pond behind her home and helped the pond neighbors with the upkeep of the pond by “raking” off the thick algae that would sometimes accumulate. The little rowboats were loaded down and half sunk with the weight of the algae before it would be dumped on the banks. It was hard work that she probably loved.
Along with her three children, she was also a “mom” to many dogs and cats, and a few birds during her lifetime.
After the death of her husband, she remained in Florida for eighteen more years before making the move back to Michigan to be closer to family. Norma was a resident of Ashford Court in Westland, where she spent over four happy years. When dementia became a bigger difficulty for her, she was blessed by the care of Homestead Home Health Care staff who couldn’t have been kinder or more loving all the way through her last day.
Norma was predeceased by her loving husband, Herschell Wesley Blunk and grandson, Glenn Blunk. She is survived by her three children: Barry Blunk (and wife Edie), of Howell, MI; Linda Hyland (and husband Bernard), of Canton, MI; and Randall Blunk (and wife Theresa), of Schuylkill Haven, PA.
She leaves behind her grandchildren: Bryan (wife Kris), Laura (husband Dave), Deanna (husband Matt), Molly (husband Mike), Meghan (husband Andrew), Alicia (husband Dakota), and Cera (husband Ethan).
She also leaves eight special great-grandchildren: Ryan, Kaitlyn, Rachael, Sylvie, Aine, Emery, Elijah (Bubby), and Theia.