Janice Diane Norberg passed away at her home on April 11, 2011, surrounded by family.
She was born to Lloyd and Lorene (Ekwall) Holst Oct. 27, 1943 at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls, Minn. She grew up on a farm near the town of Freedhem, Minn.
Jan contracted polio in 1948 and was placed in an iron lung to treat her total paralysis. She was hospitalized and treated at the University of Minnesota and Sheltering Arms Rehabilitation Clinic. Eventually she regained her muscle strength and was able to attend school. In 1954, doctors discovered a severe curvature of her spine. She was placed in a head to toe plaster cast following spinal fusion surgery. She came home in an ambulance to celebrate Christmas with her family. Jan remained in her full body cast for six months. As she healed, her cast would be shortened; until it was finally removed 18 months later.
Jan received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Education from St. Cloud State University in 1965; and would later earn her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas in 1989. From 1965-1976, she taught business education at Mounds View High School. Jan was united in marriage to Jerry Norberg July 31, 1971 at First Lutheran Church in Little Falls. In 1976, she chose to be a full-time homemaker and mother to Jonathan and Jennie. During this time, she became involved in the Mother’s Club at church, work groups, and craft sales. She enjoyed the creative outlet sewing provided, and especially loved hunting for fabric. In 1981, Jan began teaching part time at Cambridge Community College and eventually became a full-time faculty member. She loved teaching keyboarding and introductory computer courses. Jan was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome in 1996, but continued to teach until retiring in 1999. She greatly missed the students, faculty, and staff.
Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a relatively new diagnosis for many former polio survivors. They begin to develop symptoms of fatigue, muscle aches and pain about 40-50 years after their initial polio symptoms have stabilized. One of the main theories behind PPS is that the motor neurons which helped the muscles of polio patients to recover have been “working overtime” and are now worn out. Some patients experience weakness with the same muscles that had been affected during their polio episode. These muscles may be in their core or extremities; in Jan’s case, her respiratory musculature was affected.
She is survived by her loving husband Jerry, of Cambridge; son Jonathan (Linnae), granddaughter Riley, and grandson Evan, all of Clear Lake; daughter Jennifer, of Blaine; sister Judy (James) Kienitz; brother Jerry Holst; uncles Dale (Judy) Eckwall and Ivan (Evelyn) Holst; in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Funeral Services were held Saturday, April 16, 2011 at Cambridge Lutheran Church with Rev. David Everett and Rev. Deb Ost officiating. Gwen Anderson, accompanied by Mary Kay O’Neill sang “The Lord’s Prayer” and “There Is A Redeemer.” Pallbearers were Sid Dahlin, Gordy Hillstad, Kevin Bauer, Mike Spencer, Cliff Miller, Neil Anderson, Oscar Carlson and Jim Kienitz. Honorary Pallbearers were Jerry Holst and Charlie Johnson. Interment was in the Cambridge Lutheran Cemetery. Arrangements were with the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.