Norma Jean (Voran) Preheim, 87, passed away February 3, 2019 at Kidron Bethel Village. She was born on January 18, 1932 in Pretty Prairie, Kansas to Paul J and Hulda (Graber) Voran. Following graduation from Pretty Prairie High School, Norma attended Bethel College where she not only received her BA in Music, but also met the fellow music student who would become her husband and partner in all aspects of life. On June 26, 1955 Norma married Marles Preheim and together they raised their three children, Kay, Terri, and Brian.
Family and music were at the center of Norma’s life. These were always in focus even as experiences took the couple to numerous locations throughout their life together, including Nebraska, South Dakota, Ohio, Indiana and Kansas. Nurture and hospitality defined her home life as mother, wife, and friend. Relationship, encouragement, musicality, and attention to detail defined her teaching style.
Norma’s public school teaching career began in Buhler, KS, continued in Cincinnati, Ohio, and eventually culminated in 16 years as an elementary school music teacher at Sunset, Cooper, and Northridge Schools in the Newton School District. Along the way she led numerous church children’s choirs, taught piano students, mentored college student teachers, and in 1990 fulfilled the realization of a dream in founding and directing the Newton Community Children’s Choir. Through all these endeavors, she brought the joy of music to countless children, emphasizing how to sing and the communal aspects of creating music together and sharing it with others. The ripple effects of her nurture and teaching will continue to be felt and passed on by all who knew her.
In later years, even as Norma’s memory faded, her ability to connect never did! She continued to bless her family, friends, and caregivers with a light in her eyes and an ever-present smile.
Norma is survived by her husband, Marles, three children, Kay (Bradley) Siebert, Terri (Greg) Gaeddert, and Brian (Cynthia) Preheim. She has nine grandchildren – Joel (Crystal) Gaeddert, Aaron Gaeddert, Aimee (Michael) Voth Siebert, David (Leah) Gaeddert, Megan (Andrew Voth) Siebert, Eric (Kiley) Preheim, Jill (Braden Unruh) Siebert, Christopher Preheim and Caroline Preheim and four great grandchildren (Collin and Brett Gaeddert, Emmet and Henry Gaeddert). She is also survived by her brother Myron (Mildred) Voran, sister Florine Eitzen, and a loving extended family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to The Newton Community Children’s Choir (Norma Preheim Endowment), Bethel College Mennonite Church, or Kidron Bethel Village. A memorial service will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton on Saturday, March 16th at 3:30pm. There will be family visitation on Friday, March 15 at Kidron Bethel Village in Menno Hall from 5:00-7:30 p.m.