Obituary: Nora Marie (Freeman) Atwood


Nora Marie (Freeman) Atwood was born December 5, 1922, in Blaine, Washington and passed away on May 22, 2020 at the age of 97. She was the second of six children born to Lewis Freeman and Bessie (Allen) Freeman. On her mother's side of the family she was descended from homesteaders who came from Tennessee to the Washington Territory. On her father's side, she was descended from Icelandic immigrants who settled in Washington during the early days of its statehood.

Nora attended Blaine School and graduated in 1940. She played violin in high school and also played piano and organ. Nora used music as an enjoyment, and her husband loved to sit in his chair and listen to her play the organ.

After Nora graduated from high school, she attended Success Business College in Bellingham. Her first job was at Northwestern Shipbuilding Company in Bellingham, where she worked until it closed in 1945. Nora was the first woman to be employed by the company. This is where Nora met her husband-to-be Lee Atwood, the love of her life. Lee was in the United States Navy and was on a crew assignment to pick up the USS ATR-31, a salvage and rescue ship built by Northwestern.

Nora and Lee were married on August 25, 1945 at the Blaine Icelandic Free Church. Lee was soon stationed overseas. On his return to the United States, Nora and daughter Dianne joined him in Newport, Rhode Island, where daughter Donna was born. That was followed by a move to San Diego and the addition of son Jerry to the family. After service in Saipan and in Seattle, Lee retired from the Navy. In 1968, Nora and Lee settled in Blaine and built their dream home. Lee died in 1983, the same year Nora retired from Rainier Bank.

Nora was an extremely caring person, who loved caring for the young and old. She was willing to help anyone in need, and a friend to everyone. If ever a friend or family member was sick or in need, our mother was there to provide a meal and take them to doctor appointments. Mom had a heart of gold, and a smile that would light up the entire room. Mom was a loving person, who never had an unkind word for anybody. She loved keeping in touch with family and friends with a phone call or a visit. Mom never left the house without checking her hair and putting on her lipstick.

She was truly a remarkable lady, she lived a long and productive life filled with satisfaction and love. She especially enjoyed her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She loved to bake cookies and pies year round. Around Christmas holidays, she would make vinarterta, an Icelandic layer cake with prune filling and a cream frosting.

Nora was very passionate about her church, and her faith. She was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Blaine, the Emblem Club, American Legion Post 86, and Blaine Senior Center. She was also a volunteer at Blaine Food Bank, Puget Sound Blood Bank, Hillsdale Cemetery Secretary-Treasurer for over 20 years.

Nora leaves behind her children Dianne (Garold) Bird of Blaine, Donna (David) Lucas of Bellingham, Jerry (Karla) Atwood of Ferndale; sisters Marilyn Mitchell of Blaine and Ethel Gobbato of Lynden; special niece and friend Joan Edberg of Quesnel, BC;

grandchildren Kenneth (Allyson) Hudson, Jr., Michelle Violette, Sarah (Steve) Dalrymple and Tanya (Andrew) Pack; great-grandchildren Lisa (Terry) Vance, Samuel Henley, and Ryan (Jen) Henley, Caleb (Breanna) Hudson, Rhiannon (Jesse) Barsness, Courtney Violette, Austin and Allison Dalrymple, and Aage, Fjola, Asa, Thaddaeus and Theodore Pack; great-great-grandchildren: Maddox Henley, Jaxon Hudson, Madison Barsness.

Thanks for the memories Mom, and for your unconditional faith in each and every one of us, filling our lives with your values, and for being there when we needed you.

The family wishes to thank Hospice for their care and compassion in taking care of our Mom during her final days that allowed us to keep her in her own home. Donations may be made to Whatcom Hospice, 2800 Douglas Avenue, Bellingham, WA. 98225.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.


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