Norma Lois Brenenstuhl, 96, passed away on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
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Norma was born on October 4, 1923, in North Petersburg, New York. Her parents were the late Chauncey Alonson Brenenstuhl and the late Hazel Sarah (Palmer) Brenenstuhl. She grew up in North Petersburg on a farm alongside her brother, Edwin. She graduated from Walter A. Wood High School in Hoosick Falls, class of 1941. She also graduated from St. Joseph’s Business School in Bennington, Vermont (which became Southern Vermont College). Since 1943, Norma has lived in the village of Hoosick Falls and as one of its oldest residents, was called upon by many for her great memory of past times.
Norma worked in her younger days as a waitress at different places in Hoosick Falls. In the 1940’s and 50’s she was a waitress at the lunch counter owned by the Pappas family, the Hoosac Pharmacy soda counter, and The Falls Motel Restaurant. She then went to work for the Grand Union Company as a bookkeeper for over 25 years. She retired from the Grand Union in 1983 but went back to work when they needed her and finally retired in 1987.
Norma was also an active and dedicated volunteer in the community. She volunteered at The Mary McClellan Hospital in Cambridge, NY from 1986 until its closing in 2003, mostly as a receptionist for the operating room staff. Norma was the secretary for the Hoosick Falls High School Alumni Association for several years. She was treasurer of the Maple Grove Cemetery for numerous years until as recently as 2018. She was a long time board member for both the Reynolds Foundation and the Weir Foundation, awarding many checks from these funds to various groups in the area. Norma was also one of the organizers for “A Taste of Hoosick” for several years. She was a devoted volunteer for the Hoosick Area Church Association (HACA) for numerous years, right up until a few weeks ago! She was named the HACA volunteer of the year in 2011 and thoroughly enjoyed serving the community through the HACA Ministries, especially the Food Pantry and Back 2 School Boost programs.
Besides these volunteer activities, Norma was also a long time member of many area groups. She was a member of the Hoosick Grange #1127 since 1940, the American Legion Auxiliary since 1945, the Kings Daughters organization since 1962, and she was a charter member (1947) and life member of the Palestine Star Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in Troy, NY. In 2000, Norma was the recipient of the “Citizen of the Year” Award by the Hoosick Grange. Norma was also an active member of the First United Church, Presbyterian in Hoosick Falls where she served in many capacities including sunday school teacher, vacation bible school teacher, and session member.
Norma also enjoyed time with her family and friends. When she was younger, she liked to visit with her relatives in Grafton, North Bennington, Valley Falls, and elsewhere. Also in her younger days, she took her nieces, Jane and Carol, on many adventures including weekend trips to Ogunquit, Maine; a cruise along the St. Lawrence River out of Montreal, Canada; a train trip across Canada; a trip to the Bahamas; and many day trips to interesting places. She also enjoyed the activities and accomplishments of her grandnieces, Katie and Megan in her later years. In 1987, Norma spent almost four months traveling across the country and joining a caravan of campers to visit Alaska with her brother Edwin and her sister-in-law, Ruth. Even in her last years, she delighted in reading books and putting together puzzles and we were able to continue to enjoy her sharp faculties and her memories of days past!
Norma will be missed by many. Survivors include her nieces and their husbands Jane and Tom Dorset of Arlington, VA and Carol and Bob Michie of Rhinebeck, NY; grandnieces Katie Dorset of Washington, DC and Megan Michie of St. Louis, MO.; several cousins, extended family, and friends. Norma was predeceased by her parents, brother Edwin, and sister-law Ruth.
The family wishes to thank Norma’s church family and closest friends who have tirelessly supported her in her final years. Thank you Iva, Dianne, Dick, Mary, Debbie and Fred!
Funeral Services will be on Saturday, February 22 at noon at the First United Church, Presbyterian of Hoosick Falls where Reverend Donna Elia will officiate. After the service, burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery. Reception will follow immediately at the church. Relatives and friends may call at the church on Saturday from 10:00 am until the start of the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the HACA (Hoosick Area Church Association) Food Pantry and the First United Church, Presbyterian of Hoosick Falls through the Mahar Funeral Home (43 Main Street, Hoosick Falls) who are handling the arrangements