Norman Willard Colebank was born February 18, 1920 to John M and
Clara Nasman Colebank in the home of his grandparents in Madelia,
Minnesota. Norman grew up on his parent’s crop and dairy farm in
Woodside Township, Polk County, near Mentor, Minnesota and
attended rural Hillside District 87 grade school. He graduated from
Mentor High School and attended one year at Bemidji State College.
Norman served in the Army in WWII. He went to the Signal Corps Radio
School and was assigned to radio station duty on Atka Island, Alaska.
Two years later he returned to the U. S. and was stationed and
absorbed into the Army Air Force at Friend, Nebraska. His last
assignment was with the B-29 bomber group in Puerto Rico.
Norman met Thyra Ann Blanche Gustafson at a dance in the Maple
Lake Pavilion near Mentor, Minnesota. Thyra’s cousin (Norman’s
schoolmate) introduced them. Thyra was born July 9, 1924 to Olaf and
Myrtle Hams Gustafson at Warren, Minnesota. Thyra grew up in
Badger, Roseau County, Minnesota where she graduated from high
school. She then began nurse’s training at St. Michael’s Hospital in
Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Norman and Thyra were married on February 5, 1944 in the Lutheran
parsonage in Grand Forks, North Dakota by Pastor F I Schmid. Their
first home was at Friend, Nebraska where Norman was stationed. After
the war Norman worked as agent-telegrapher for the NP and BN
railroads for 35 years and at his sideline of servicing radios and TVs
for 32 years. Norman and Thyra lived in Jamestown two years, Berlin 3
½ years and then Litchville, North Dakota. Norman was a long-time
member of the VFW, serving in several positions including Post
Commander. He was a member of the American Legion, AMVETS, Air
Force Association, Cooties, Eagles, Town Park Board and was a past
Master in the Masonic Lodge. His hobbies were HAM radio, deer and
pheasant hunting and playing pinochle.
Norman and Thyra belonged to the First Lutheran Church in Litchville
where Norman was trustee, deacon, treasurer and congregation
Thyra died January 16, 2000 in Valley City, North Dakota. Norman was
killed in August of that same year in a tragic car accident at a
dangerous intersection near Oronoco, Minnesota along with his
brother John. Both Norman and John were born on February 18 and
both died on August 18.
Norman’s cousin June Colebank Blanshan fondly remembers
Norman and Thyra. “Norman was a very fun loving person as I
remember him. He could draw his stomach up under his ribs until you
could almost see his backbone from the front. We kids thought that
was quite an accomplishment. He could also wiggle his ears. Thyra
was very good at refinishing antique furniture. Their house was
furnished with many items of furniture which were beautifully done.
Thyra was also a good seamstress.”
The children of Norman and Thyra were:
Jonathan Norman Colebank – born December 16, 1944 in Friend,
Nebraska. He married Marjorie Ann Solberg. He died May 31, 1980 and
is buried in National Park Cemetery, Lawrence, Kansas.
Michael Lee Colebank – born September 4, 1946 in Jamestown, North
Dakota. He married Sharla Williams.
Carolyne Sue Colebank – born August 13, 1947 in Roseau, Minnesota.
She married Craig Hofstrand.
Stephen Alan Colebank – born January 14, 1950 in LaMoure, North
Dakota. He married Eldean Boelter.
Candace Kay Colebank – born June 8, 1955 in Valley City, North
Dakota. She married Billy G. Williams.
Kimberly Ann Colebank – born October 16, 1959 in Valley City, North
Dakota. She married Jerry Hansen and they divorced in 1986.
|PETER COLEBANK, father of
JAMES COALBANK, father of
JAMES D COLEBANK, father of
L S COLEBANK, father of
JOHN M COLEBANK, father of
|Corporal Norman Colebank
in April, 1943
|Thyra, Norman and son
Jonathan in 1945
|Copied with permission from
“From Whence Came the
Colebanks” by Warren
Colebank, copyright 1989,
page 246 and from “William
Cunningham – Pioneer,
Patriarch, Preacher” by June
Colebank Blanshan, p. 349.