Norval Gene Waller was born in Belden, Nebraska, on December 4, 1933, to Robert Leroy and Gertrude Mae Griggs Waller. He died at The Denver Hospice in Aurora, Colorado, on November 8, 2017, following a five-week illness with a sinus abscess that led to a serious brain infection.
Norval grew up on the family farm with his older sister and brother, Roberta Mae and Everett Edwin. His mother died when he was only two years old, and his father raised his family during the Great Depression.
Growing up, Norval was involved in 4-H, played baseball and basketball. He had many stories to tell about adventures with cousins and friends. He graduated from Carroll High School, Carroll, Nebraska, in 1951, and he loved to remind everyone that he was the class salutatorian (out of four graduates).
Following a year at Wayne State College and farming with his dad, he entered the United States Army in 1953, and served at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland during the Korean Conflict.
Norval married Betty Lou Bremer of Holstein, Iowa, on June 12, 1954, in Holstein. After Norval’s discharge from the Army, they first farmed in northeast Nebraska and then moved to the Holstein, Iowa area.
Norval and Betty had three children, Kimberly Lou, Kathlene Sue and Matthew G. Life was full with three so close in age and busy growing up. Norval was very involved in his children’s lives, helping them with 4-H livestock projects, teaching Sunday School at the Methodist Church in Holstein and attending all of their school events.
He loved hunting his entire lifetime but especially hunting with his son, Matt. He once drove up in his tractor at one of his daughters’ track meets. He enjoyed raising and showing purebred Suffolk Sheep with his family at shows and state fairs around the Midwest.
On July 19, 1983, Norval and Cynthia Ann Iwers of South Sioux City, Nebraska, were married in Cherokee, Iowa. In March of 1984, they and Cindy’s two daughters, Beth Marie Lill and Kara Noelle Lill, moved to Sundance, Wyoming, and welcomed Megan Lea into the world.
Norval and Cindy purchased the Bear Lodge Motel on May 1, 1984. He had fulfilled a lifelong dream of attending auction school in the winter of 1982, and enjoyed calling many small and volunteer auctions over the years.
Norval became a licensed real estate agent and worked for Rose Zella Proctor; later he became a broker. He very much loved this occupation. The Bear Lodge became affiliated with IMA, later America’s Best Value Inns and Norval traveled around Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, inspecting motels.
Norval was a Mason, both in Holstein and Sundance, as well as a member of the Kalif Shrine and Inyan Kara Shrine Club. He was a member of the American Legion in Holstein and in Sundance and was honored to participate in what he called the “firing squad,” the 21-gun salute for deceased veterans at their burial services.
In 2014, Cindy convinced Norval it was time to retire and they sold the Bear Lodge Motel. Norval was able to spend two winters in Arizona golfing with friends and relatives. Over the years, he didn’t get a hole in one, but golfed his age in 18 holes at 76!
Norval is survived by his wife, Cindy, of Sundance; five daughters, Kim and Jim Christensen of Titusville, Florida, Kathy and Kevin Mabry of Fort Collins, Colorado, Beth Lill (Bob Vore) and Kara Brooks of Sundance and Megan and Casey Allen of Green River, Wyoming; one son, Matt and Cindy Waller of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Norval adored his grandchildren, Korey Christensen, Jaime and Taylor Anderson, Callie Mabry, Cortney Mabry, Dani and Grant Hansen, Ben Waller, Lauryn Brooks, Gage Vore, Grayson Allen, and Bentley Allen. He also leaves many beloved nieces and nephews to cherish his memory.
Norval was preceded in death by his parents; brother and sister-in-law, Everett and Lucille Waller; sister and brother-in-law, Roberta and Roland Stahl; and two granddaughters, Kate Waller Mabry and Grace Waller Allen.
Norval will be remembered as a hard worker who also loved to spend time at morning coffee gossiping and arguing with his friends. He didn’t mind being the center of attention and he loved to tell stories and jokes. He wrote in Pat Paulson for President in almost every election. Pat even stayed at the Bear Lodge Motel, one very special guest for Norval. He accomplished his bucket list goal of being kicked out of a high school basketball game for criticizing the referee. He was always up for a game of cards or a round of golf. Norval was a loving father and grandfather and will be greatly missed.
Per Norval’s request, a celebration of life will be held in the summer of 2018 at Clarenbach Park, south of his home in Sundance.