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1933 Norma 2024

Norma F. Edens

July 26, 1933 — May 30, 2024

Bainbridge has lost one of its Treasures. Norma Fendler Edens passed away on May 30, 2024. She was born on July 26, 1933 in Spokane to Luther and Katherine Fendler. Norma attended Finch and Hutton Grade Schools and graduated from Lewis And Clark Highschool, also in Spokane. She was an accomplished Pianist and was active in several city wide Music Honoraries and Church Choirs. 

Following high school graduation, Norma attended Washington State College where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and was the Chapter Song Leader. She had a beautiful, rich, mellow, contralto voice which earned her a place in the WSC Traveling Choir. Her college major was Piano Performance. 

On August 28, 1954, Norma married her high school sweetheart and began working for the college to support her new husband, Roland (Wes) Edens, who was also a Cougar. Following his graduation, Norma and Roland moved to southern California where Norma gave birth to their first child, Bruce. 

The Korean War was going on and Roland had an Air Force ROTC Commission. He received orders to active duty in June of 1956, and the couple, with two-week-old Bruce, relocated to Colorado Springs, CO. It was an enjoyable and rewarding assignment for both of them. Norma gave birth to their second child, Daniel, near the end of their stay in Colorado. 

 Upon release from active duty, the couple elected to return to the North West. Employment opportunities brought them to Seattle, where they lived for seven years during which Roland received a temporary work assignment to Spokane. While there, Norma gave birth to their third child, Katherine in the same hospital where Roland was born. The young Edens family, now complete, returned to Seattle and settled down until September of 1965 when they moved to Bainbridge Island. All three children attended school on the Island and graduated from Bainbridge Island High School.

The long period of stability allowed Norma to sink her roots deeply into the fabric of Bainbridge Island. She taught private piano lessons for a number of years, helped teach the St. Barnabas Church Day School, and, stepped in when the high school music classes needed a substitute teacher. 

Norma was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church and sang in its choir. Later she was hired as choir director and organist. She held those positions for a number of years. 

She was a founding member of the Bainbridge Chorale. When its director resigned, Norma stepped in and directed it from 1981 to 1997 and saw it through its affiliation with Bainbridge Performing Arts. 

While on a year's leave of absence from the Bethany Lutheran Church Choir, Norma was asked to step into a temporary vacancy as director of the Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church (RBPC) choir. The church intended to search for a permanent director. She agreed and 26 years later she retired from RBPC. 

Norma was a very generous and giving person. In the words of a long-time coworker at RBPC, "She was such a blessing to me personally and to the choir at RBPC. She was truly a Pastor to the Choir and brought healing and great joy to so many on her music team."

The Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council selected Norwa to receive one of its two Island Treasure awards for the year 2001. It was a recognition of her contributions to choral music performance here. 

Norma's death at age 90 years and 10 months concluded a long and satisfying life. It ended too soon for those of us who knew and loved her. 

Norma was preceded in death by her parents and several much-loved aunts and uncles.

She is survived by her sister Paula Fendler, her husband Roland Edens, sons Bruce Edens and Daniel Edens and Dan's wife Cindy Edens, daughter Katherine Fitzgerald, Katherine's husband David Fitzgerald, six grandsons and three granddaughters, and two great-grandsons. The family is expecting an additional great-grandchild in July.

A memorial service will be planned in the coming months.

Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Norma F. Edens, please visit our flower store.

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