Norman Floyd Epp was born on Jan. 14, 1940 to Edwin F. and Margaret (Flaming) Epp in Hillsboro, Kan. He passed away at home at age 78 on Friday, April 6, 2018.
When Norman was five years old, his parents moved onto Ed’s father’s farm northeast of Lehigh, Kan. Norman’s parents read the Bible for themselves and also read Bible stories to him, and later his three sisters and brother. On Sunday afternoons, his mother often read Christian magazines to them, like the Young Ambassador and the Junior Messenger. Christian radio broadcasts were also an important part of his religious instruction.
One time Norman was listening to the “Old Fashioned Revival Hour” and Charles Fuller was asking the “sailor boys” in the audience to accept the Lord before going out to sea. At that point Norman recognized his own need, so he confessed his sins and accepted Christ as his personal Savior.
During his high school years Norman went through catechism classes at the Lehigh Mennonite Church. As a public show of his commitment to Christ, he was baptized and joined the church.
Norman loved helping his dad on the farm, driving the Allis-Chalmers tractors in the fields and caring for their small herd of cattle. He attended Lehigh High School and played basketball and softball.
He attended Tabor College where he started dating Rosella Ediger from Henderson, Neb. They married on Aug. 4, 1961. After graduating from Tabor, he taught at Lehigh High School, then he and Rosella taught for two years in Newfoundland, Canada serving under MCC.
In 1965 the couple moved to Wichita, Kan. Norman taught history in three different junior high schools and received his master’s in education from Wichita State University. During this time daughters Lois and Karen were born. Norman and Rosella were active members of the First M.B. Church.
In 1975, Norman’s father was ready to retire from farming, so Norman and Rosella moved back to the Hillsboro area to take over the family farm. They also purchased other land to farm, and Norman worked in construction. In 1977, they were thrilled with the birth of their son, David.
The family joined Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church where Norman and Rosella sang in the choir and Norman served as an elder and a deacon.
In later years they listened to children recite verses for the AWANA program. Norman was active with the Marion County Farm Bureau and Marion County Soil and Water Conservation.
All three of Norman and Rosella’s children attended Tabor College, and all met their spouses there as well. Norman and Rosella became grandparents in 1996, and in the next few years they had five grandchildren.
In 2001, Norman underwent surgery for colon cancer and completed chemotherapy. Still, he managed to continue Epp Roofing and Construction.
In 2004, Norman and Rosella sold the family farm and moved to Hillsboro.
Norman continued roofing, mainly employing Tabor students who had an afternoon or occasional block of free time. Norman and Rosella traveled with Sam’s Tours to Alaska and Yellowstone National Park.
On Aug. 7, 2011 Norman missed his own 50th wedding anniversary celebration by landing in the hospital the day before with acute pancreatitis.
Norman’s lengthy recovery forced him to retire. Norman was able to spend more time attending his grandchildren’s events. Starting in 2010, David and Jenny gave him three more grandsons.
In October 2016, Norman received the unwelcome news that he again had colon cancer. He chose to buy as much time as possible by undergoing chemotherapy.
He made a mental bucket list of things he wanted to do, which included many family events. He also spent time in his Morton building making wooden toy dump trucks for his grandchildren for Christmas.
Norman was a charter member of the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus, which was organized in 1969, and he counted it as a privilege to sing in it every year until the present. He traveled with the group to Canada, California, and the East Coast. One item that he didn’t get checked off his bucket list was singing a concert in the 50th season. Instead, he is with the saints who have gone before, singing in heaven.
Wife: Rosella Epp of Hillsboro, Kan.
Children: Lois (Craig) Wollman of Freeman, S.D., grandchildren Bethany, Andrea
Karen (Dave) Franklin of Wichita, Kan., grandchildren Caleb, Harrison (Olivia), Laurel
David (Jenny) Epp of Rural Hillsboro, Kan., grandchildren Lincoln, Kyle, Jase
Siblings: LaVerna (Alden) Quiring of Henderson, Neb.
Evelyn (Dale, deceased) Peterson of Clifton, Kan.
Rosalie (Roy) Mays of Enid, Okla.
Alvin (Kay) Epp of Bradshaw, Neb.
Memorials to Parkview Church or Tabor College in care of Jost Funeral
Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com