Rose Mary Norkus

Rose Mary Norkus

April 24, 1924 - July 05, 2021
Laguna Woods California

Rose Mary Norkus

April 24, 1924 - July 05, 2021
Laguna Woods California


1924 – 2021

As I’m sure most of you know, Rose was not a quitter. She was the strongest person we knew. No matter what health issues she was faced with, she tackled them head on. She always fought hard, and always bounced back. We lovingly called her the energizer bunny.

Unfortunately, this last fight was one she couldn’t win, even though she said she was willing to do anything to feel better.

Rose lived to the amazing age of 97. She was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 24, 1924 to Alfonso & Benedetta Fusco. She loved people’s responses to her telling them her birthdate – they always commented what a fun birthdate that was – “4-24-24″.

She was the oldest of 6 siblings and is survived by her sisters Yolanda & Connie, and brother Al. Sisters Josephine & Mary are no longer with us.

Rose & her husband Ed were married in 1947. They were neighbors & began dating after he returned from his service in the Army. They eventually left Michigan & moved to Garden Grove in 1953. In 1956 they welcomed their daughter Tina.

Over the years her sisters Yolanda, Connie & Mary moved to California to be near them, as well as her brother Al after his service in the Navy.

She and her sisters belonged to the Italian Catholic Federation with their church, helping put on the St Joseph’s table in Anaheim. She enjoyed family gatherings and cooking on Christmas Eve for their big family parties.

While living in Garden Grove, Rose worked in the box office at the MelodyLand Theater and the Anaheim Convention Center, retiring in 1991.

She and Ed enjoyed trips to Las Vegas or Laughlin, and going on cruises.

Rose & Ed, and their cat Gabby, moved to Laguna Woods in 2001. They loved living here and met so many new friends. They would attend some of the dinner dances at their clubhouse and take the chartered bus to the Indian casinos. Always made for a fun day out.

Rose also loved to play bingo twice a month at their clubhouse, where her and her sister Yolanda volunteered to show up early to set up the coffee & cookies. She also enjoyed playing bingo at The Elks Lodge a few times a year.

She & Ed also played the lotto weekly since it started.  She continued to play Ed’s numbers every week even after he passed in 2015.

Some fun facts about mom: she loved collecting gnomes;
crocheting blankets for herself or to give away – some of you here were lucky enough to have received one of her beautiful blankets.
She faithfully watched General Hospital daily since it started back in 1963.
She enjoyed watching crime shows with her granddaughter Tracy.

She loved country music, or should I say more specifically, Blake Shelton & Keith Urban.

She had a green thumb and could grow the most beautiful orchids – her secret was putting an ice cube in the soil once a week.

Some of her favorite treats were chocolate turtles, red licorice, Lifesaver gummies, Tootsie Roll pops and flaming hot Cheetos.

Mom was many things to so many people.

SISTER:  A sister to Yolanda, Connie & Al. Her phone calls to all of them to catch up were some of her favorite things to do. Always wanting to hear the latest family news or just see how they were doing.

NANA:  Brad, Matt & Tracy made her a nana. She loved them so much and had a special relationship with each one of them. She enjoyed their sporting events, plays, or musicals when they were kids. She loved being able to witness Matt getting married to YuMon in 2011. So many years of being their nana – our kids were so blessed to have her in their lives.

GREAT-NANA:  Luke, Jake & Sabai were the apple of her eye. She sure loved to be with them as often as she could and hear how they were doing in school or sports. She loved showing off their pictures to friends.

She had so much fun on Halloween going over to their house to see them all dressed up. And giving out candy to the hundreds, yes hundreds, of kids from the neighborhood. Her best friend Evelyn would come with her to help hand out the candy. They were the official Halloween mascots at the Burson house. The kids loved seeing mom & Evelyn every year.

She also loved her grand dogs Penny & Mabel. She enjoyed having them around and giving them treats! They loved it, and her, too!

FRIEND:  Nana knew the residents in her building pretty well & became friends with many of them.

One of those was Evelyn, who became her best friend. She was always there for mom when she needed her. She sat and kept mom company on the occasions Tina needed to do something or run errands, and would bring mom her mail every day.

Rose enjoyed her walks with her and Tracy. She was also mom’s tv buddy. Mom talked Evelyn into coming over to watch “just one season” of The Bachelor. Well that turned into a “standing” date every week to watch The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol over the years! She even had her sister Yolanda over to watch those shows for a couple of years. The things those 3 would say! They were the best commentators & critics.

MOM:  She was the best anyone could ask for. She was the best cook. Nothing made her happier than to have everyone over so she could cook & feed them. And then ask if she could get them anything else to eat right after they finished. She made the best spaghetti and baked goods.

She was generous. Would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. And always offered to help, regardless of how she felt or if in pain. Every time Tina did the grocery shopping, cooked or was doing dishes, mom would ask if she could help. That’s the kind of person she was. Always thinking of others & wanting to help.

Covid made celebrating her birthday different last year as we couldn’t all get together. So instead, Tina & Tracy drove her around Dana Point & Laguna Beach with the car all decorated saying “honk, it’s nana’s 96th birthday”. She had so much fun waving to all the people who were waving & honking for her! She said it was one of her best birthdays!

Unfortunately, mom was becoming more frail & she just couldn’t keep going. With a recent diagnosis of leukemia, her body just couldn’t fight the infection that found its way into her so quickly & unexpectedly.

She missed her husband Ed so much. As sad as it was to lose her so suddenly, we know she is back with her husband, happy together again and free of pain. And most likely dancing again, which they loved to do.

We all loved her very much and will miss her terribly. Her smile when she greeted you, her phone calls just to say hi, her loving heart and great hugs.

Rest In Peace mom. We love you.


Vigil Service

  • Date & Time: July 22, 2021 (7:00 PM)
  • Venue: O'Connor Mortuary
  • Location: 25301 Alicia Parkway Laguna Hills, CA 92653 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (949) 581-4300

Funeral Mass

  • Date & Time: July 23, 2021 (11:00 AM)
  • Venue: St. Nicholas Catholic Church
  • Location: 24252 El Toro Rd. Laguna Woods, CA 92637 - (Get Directions)

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3 responses to Rose Mary Norkus

  1. Debbie Hamilton

  2. Debbie and Jim Hamilton

  3. Yolanda DiDonato

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