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1922 Roger Lawrence Norden 2023

Roger Lawrence Norden

May 25, 1922 — April 21, 2023

Bowie

Roger L. Norden passed away at his home in Bowie, Maryland on April 21, 2023.  He was born May 25, 1922 near Perkins, Michigan.  He was raised with his four brothers working hard and helping his family on a small farm in the Upper Peninsula.  Before leaving for school in the morning, the boys fed the cows and chickens, cleaned the barn, milked the cows, and then walked two miles to catch the school bus. The farm had no electricity until after World War II, so they studied and did their homework by a kerosene lamp.

Roger graduated from Rock High School, and then attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette for two years where he received a Rural Teachers Certificate.  His teaching career began in a two-room schoolhouse teaching grades 4 through 8 until he was drafted into the Army.

Serving in the Army in World War II, his Company was sent to Utah Beach in France, then later to Germany.  Roger was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.  After he recovered, he was returned to his Army unit in Czechoslovakia.  When the war ended, he was chosen to take college courses at the Shrivenham American University in England.  He was honorably discharged and returned home with a Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster, as well as many stories.

Roger attended Northern Michigan University for two more years to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Biology.  He then attended Michigan State University, received a Master’s degree in Environmental Education and Zoology, and taught high school in Lower Michigan.  He was selected as the Conservation Education Consultant for the Upper Peninsula Michigan Department of Conservation, a job that he held for six years.  In 1955, he was hired as an Assistant Professor at Northern Michigan University.  He completed his education at Michigan State University and received a Ph.D. degree in 1960 in Environmental Education and Biological Sciences. His doctoral thesis emphasized his dedication to protect the environment and nature.

After teaching at Northern Michigan University for six years, he accepted a job as an Associate Professor and Head of the Conservation Education Division in the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Maryland in 1963, and the family moved to Bowie, Maryland.   In 1966, he was hired to work as the Educational Program Specialist and Branch Chief in the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC, which he continued until he retired at age 70.  On the job in the Division of Higher Education Incentive Programs, he traveled to 40 states in the U.S. and to Puerto Rico to help colleges starting these programs understand the grant process.

Roger met and married Catherine Vukovich, a chemistry teacher, during his time in Michigan. They raised their five children in Bowie and remained in Bowie for the rest of their lives.  Roger was a dedicated father and his family was his greatest achievement.  He taught his five children the importance of working hard toward their goals and helping others.  He loved the outdoors and, with his background in environmental education, every walk in the park included the identification of plants, insects, and animals.  He continued to assist his family through the years, always the first to offer a hand with their moves, painting rooms, building decks, planting shrubs, or mowing a lawn.  He was invaluable since he was driven to finish every project he started and he assisted with many difficult tasks well into his 90’s.

His hobbies, which he enjoyed to his final days, were gardening, feeding the birds and squirrels in his backyard, stamp collecting, making jigsaw puzzles, painting, and reading the news and emails on his computer. On the day he died at the age of 100, he was working on his stamp collection and checking his email.  In his younger days, he enjoyed traveling with his family, taking summer vacations to the beach, to visit relatives, or touring different places.  In recent years, every two weeks, he joined the family’s Zoom call on the computer with his five children and their families.

Roger is survived by his five children, Laura Norden, Silver Spring, MD, Dr. Amy Skubitz, Minneapolis, MN, Janet Norden, Washington, DC, Daniel Norden, Baltimore, MD, and Dr. Trina Norden-Krichmar, San Diego, CA.  He has six grandchildren: Ashley Skubitz, Lindsey Skubitz, Anthony Skubitz, Michael Skubitz, Katherine Norden, and Thomas Norden.  He also is survived by his brother, Harlan Norden and wife, Louise, in Gainesville, FL.

He was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 52 years, Catherine Norden in 2008, his parents, Emil and Naomi (Carroll) Norden of Perkins, MI, and brothers Dr. Carroll Norden of Cedarburg, WI, Dr. Allan Norden of Gainesville, FL, and Rev. Fr. Emmett Norden of Escanaba, MI.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Roger L. Norden be directed to The Nature Conservancy or to your favorite charity.

To order memorial trees in memory of Roger Lawrence Norden, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Pius X Catholic Church

14720 Annapolis Rd, Bowie, MD 20715

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Pius X Catholic Church

14720 Annapolis Rd, Bowie, MD 20715

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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