Sister Norita Tranel, OSF, 92, died Saturday, January 28, 2017, at Clare House in the 75th year of her religious life.
On August 2, 1925, Sister Norita was born on a farm in East Dubuque, Illinois at 2:20 a.m. to Edward and Lucille Kieffer Tranel and was baptized Anna Elaine on August 9 at St. Mary’s Church in East Dubuque. Anna was one of 13 children in the family, her mother practically raised the children alone after her father died at the age of 38. Lucille lived to a beautiful age of 98 and was very proud of all the children. Four girls entered religious life and two boys were ordained into the priesthood. The other seven were married and had lovely families.
Sister Norita was “somewhat influenced” to enter religious life, partly because of her distant relative, Sister Narcine Kass, who was loved by the family, and also because her mother had attended the old I.C. Academy and loved the “brown Franciscans”. On August 8, 1941, Anna Elaine entered the community and a year later, on August 12, 1942, was received by the congregation, and given the name Sister Mary Norita.
Her life was spent cooking and baking for those with whom she lived and worked. For 55 years Norita ministered to Our Lady of the Rockies, Colorado Springs; St. Joseph, Haverhill; Our Lady of Lourdes; Mount St. Francis, Dubuque; Briar Cliff College, Sioux City; All Saints and Loyola Retreat House, both in Portland, Oregon; Alaskan Mission at St. Mary’s on the Yukon; the Retreat House in Rockford, Illinois; and Parish Ministry in Woodstock and Galena, Illinois. In 2002 Sister retired to live in East Dubuque and after eight years there, she retired to live in Holy Family Hall and Clare House.
Her fondest and happiest times were spent in the cold, poor Alaskan Mission of St. Mary’s on the Yukon, cooking for 29 Eskimo Children. The children would arrive at the school around the first week of August and stay until the first of July because it was a boarding school of sorts. Sister had fond memories of her dearest friends, the Sisters, the Priest, and the volunteers of those Alaskan days.
Sister is survived by her brothers Richard and Bert (Ann); her sisters Marge Jahn, Sr. Betty Tranel, SSpS. and Sr. Jean Tranel, OP; sisters-in-law Virginia and Bonnie; nieces and nephews, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared 75 years of her life.
Sister was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Ralph (Florence), Howard (Lillian), Rev. Dorrance, Rev. Daniel, Ned and Roger; her sister Sister Danita, OSF.
Memorials may be given to the Sisters of St. Francis online or mailed to 3390 Windsor Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001.