Norene Solheim

PORTAGE – In the early morning of May 15, 2011, Norene Solheim, passed away peacefully at Tivoli Gardens.

Norene was born on September 21, 1925, in Portage, the daughter of Charles and Clyda Gilson Carney, and the twin sister of Norman “Butch” Carney.  She married Kenneth J. Solheim in Portage on August 21, 1947.  She was known as being determined; she loved her family with every fiber of her being.  Norene accepted people for who they were and loved them for their uniqueness.  She loved to have fun and was never afraid of hard work.  Norene believed that all work is honorable as long as you do it well and take pride in it.  She was proud of each of her children, and offered guidance, support, and a safe haven no matter what happened. 

Norene loved sports.  As a young woman she swam, skated, bowled, and played tennis and basketball.  Her passion for bowling continued throughout her life and she won several local, regional and state bowling championships.  Most of all, she enjoyed the fun and companionship of her bowling team.

Norene grew up in Portage and graduated from Portage High School.  She worked at Graham’s Drug Store in Portage and Dana & Worm Pharmacy in Fond du Lac.  Norene enjoyed the cosmetic industry and built many lasting friendships with customers and suppliers over the years.  She particularly liked to introduce new fragrances and special seasonal products.  Norene excelled at knitting, crocheting, and embroidery work.  She was a wonderful cook.  Her children and friends remember coming into her kitchen to the smell of cinnamon rolls, Italian spaghetti and tender slow-cooked meats.  At Christmas it was her tradition to make 30 different kinds of cookies and candies for family and friends.

Norene and her husband, Kenneth, were founding members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Portage.  She was also a member of the Ladies VFW Auxiliary, a number of bowling leagues.  She was a Girl Scout leader and band mother when her children were in school.  

Norene is survived by her children, John (Cathey) Solheim, Ripon, and Jane (Steven) Wolfgram, DeForest; her grandchildren, Sarah Jane Reigstad Williams,  Meghan McGarry, and Benjamin Solheim; her great-grandchildren, her sister, Nona Merklein, Portage; her brother, Marvin Carney, Portage; her sister-in-law, Stella Carney, Portage; her sister-in-law, Dorothy Solheim, Madison; and her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Keith and Margaret Solheim, FL, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.  Norene was preceded in death by her parents, Clyda and Charles Carney; her husband, Kenneth Solheim; her son, Joseph Solheim; a grandson, Sean Solheim; her twin brother, Norman Carney; her brothers Jack and Kenneth Carney; her sisters, Virena Mittlesteadt and Carol Klaila; and her friend, Lila Seely.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage, with Rev. Dick Inglett officiating.  Burial will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery.  Visitation will be held on Thursday from 10:00 until the time of the service at the funeral home.

The family wishes to thank the staff and volunteers at Tivoli for their excellent care they provided over the past years.  She will be missed, and her memory will be treasured by her family.





For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)