News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Norma Joan Funai, May 9, 1929 — February 16, 2021

Norma Joan Funai passed away peacefully at the age of 91 at Aspen Ridge Retirement Community in Bend on February 16.

Norma was born to Walter Allen Anderson and Hazel Clancy Anderson and spent her early years in Letcher, South Dakota. She had fond memories of her time there growing up with her older sister, Peggy Lou. Her father died when she was 6. A year later, they moved to Pasadena, California, to live with her grandmother. In 1941, her mother met and married Holt Condon. In 1946, they moved to Corona del Mar, California, where she enjoyed her high school years living by the sea.

Norma attended college at the University of Santa Barbara where she graduated with a degree in art education. There she met her future husband, Arnold Irving Funai. After graduation, she landed a job teaching art to middle schoolers. Arnold and Norma married in 1952 in Newport Beach, California, and settled in Oxnard, California. Their three children were born there between 1953 and 1959. The family moved to Sunnyvale, California, in 1962. Once the children were through elementary school, Norma took a job teaching first and second grades at West Valley Elementary school. She continued to teach there until her retirement in 1991.

The family enjoyed many camping and skiing vacations. Norma became interested in teaching children about the wonders of nature while in Sunnyvale and began volunteering with an outdoor education group in the area.

Norma and Arnold moved to Sisters in 1993. They purchased a house in Sage Meadow with a stunning view of the Three Sisters mountains to the south and a nature-rich meadow to the east. Norma was quick to make new friends with both neighbors in the community as well as the birdlife. She quickly found organizations to volunteer with so she could continue to teach children and adults about nature. She became an advanced birder and particularly enjoyed leading bird hikes.

She volunteered many hours with both High Desert Museum in Bend, and Deschutes Basin Land Trust, leading tours and educating groups about the Land Trust’s efforts on various land preservation projects. She also collaborated with Cornell Ornithology and provided many decades of birding observation data from her home.

She was also very active in the Sisters community organizing a quilting group, serving on the Deschutes County Library board, and participating in Sisters Garden Club. She continued to enjoy creating artwork throughout her life, including her annual hand-crafted Christmas cards. She absolutely loved living in Sisters with the many wonderful people that made up the fabric of the community.

Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Arnold Funai, and her sister, Peggy Lou Feldmeier.

She is survived by her three children, Robert Funai (Santa Barbara, California), Carole Miles (Gresham), and Amy Moloney (Eureka, California); two grandchildren, Daniel Miles (Bend) and Hannah Delvalle; and one great-grandson, Elijah Delvalle (Vernajoul, France).

Norma’s ashes will join her beloved husband’s ashes in the Metolius River during a private ceremony. The family looks forward to a return visit of the eagle spirit at that time.

Contributions in Norma’s name may be made to Deschutes Land Trust: www.deschuteslandtrust.org.

 

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