Norman Thomas McGinnis

Norman Thomas McGinnis

August 03, 1919 - July 24, 2008

Norman Thomas McGinnis

August 03, 1919 - July 24, 2008


Norman T. McGinnis was born in a sod house on a homestead east of Maurine, South Dakota, August 3, 1919. He was the youngest son of Gideon Melvin McGinnis Mel and Florence Lydia Ellis McGinnis. His family moved to a 160 acre farm and ranch about seventeen miles northeast of Faith, South Dakota, on the Moreau River when he was seven years old. When he went to school he had to cross the river and most of his schoolmates were Sioux Indians as the school was on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation. This school soon closed and Norman attended other small schools through eighth grade. After he finished eighth grade his mother was determined that he go to high school because he had a hernia and they thought that they would never get enough money to have it operated on. She felt that he would need a higher education to make a living. He managed to stay with different folks in Faith until he finished high school.

Norman went to Blackhills State Teachers College in Spearfish, South Dakota. He taught his first years in schools in Zieback County. Later, a man who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs recruited him to teach on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation. He married Irene G. Hansen while teaching there. They were married, October 25, 1942, at Dupree, South Dakota. They spent nine years working for the Cheyenne Reservation at Iron Lightning, Cherry Creek, Cheyenne Agency Boarding School and Four Bear. Irene cooked the noon meal for the kids and taught sewing and household duties to the girls.

In September 1943 they went back to Blackhills State Teachers College and continued their education. March of 1944 they took a job at Node School about nine miles east of Lusk and in 1945 they returned to the Indian Service. They had their first baby that year and over the next twenty years they had five more children. Sheryl, Carmen, Greg, Kim, Tim and Wendy.

In 1966, Irene’s sister Bertha died out in California. After they went to her funeral they decided to move to California.

Over the years Norman taught school, worked for Dunn and Brad Street, a Parts Store, Aaron Brothers Art Store and eventually retired at age 67 in March of 1985 from Orange County where he was in charge of micro filming cour t cases. Norman was an avid bowler, a wonderful artist and self taught musician. He really enjoyed his family and friends. Norman passed away just a few days away from his 89th birthday. We will all miss him.

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15 responses to Norman Thomas McGinnis

  1. To Sheryl, Carmen, Greg, Kim, Tim, and Wendy,
    We are sorry for what you are going through right now. You can be very proud of both your father and mother. They were great people. We miss your mother’s Christmas letters and wish we could have seen your father more too. Sincerely, Harvey and Margie

  2. Dear Sherry, Carmen, Greg, Kim, Tim, and Wendy,

    I am so sorry to hear of Uncle Norman passing, but I know Aunt Rene is probably dancing with him right now and that makes me smile.

    All of my visits to California were filled with such happy memories of your mom and dad and their always warm and welcoming love. It was always a little party going on there! I can’t believe that 1999 was our last visit.

    My earliest memory of Uncle Norman was when he came and stayed with us in Omaha when he was taking a course. At least I heard the story a lot! He drew a picture of me that my mom still has and is a very special keepsake. He is an inspiration!

    You are all in my prayers and may God keep you all close and at peace during this time. Your loved ones are not lost when you know where they are!

    Love, Laura
    daughter of Mary Peters
    and family; Tim, Allison, Sarah, Grace and Renee

  3. My heart aches for your loss. I have such great memories of Uncle Norman and Aunt Rene. Please know we are thinking of you in this difficult time. God Bless you all. Renay & Ken

  4. I was so sorry to hear about Uncle Norman, I had thought about him recently. My prayers go to the family. Uncle Norman was one of my favorite uncles. God bless all of you. Love to all, Barbara

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