OREGON– Norman D Erway, age 90, died on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, at home. He was born on June 24, 1922, in Barry County, Mich., the fifth child of Louis and Nina (Otis) Erway. Norm spent part of his early childhood in Florida and then lived in Kalamazoo, Mich., and spent his summers and weekends with his cousin Harold Otis on his grandparents’ farm near Hastings, Mich. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1940 and attended Kalamazoo College where he won several prizes in Chemistry and graduated in 1944 with majors in chemistry and physics. Norman worked on the Manhattan Project of the Atomic Energy Commission at the University of Chicago during World War II.
On June 9, 1945, he and Wilma Fechter were married at their college chapel in Kalamazoo and together they moved to Chicago for a year. In 1946, they moved to Oregon, Wisconsin where Norm attended graduate school in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. In 1947, they formed a partnership and started a scientific glassblowing business making and repairing scientific glass apparatus for the University of Wisconsin other universities and laboratories all over the country and overseas. Norman was most proud of having been the glassblower for many Nobel Prize winners at UW-Madison. John Ames joined them in the shop in 1959. The business celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2012.
The Erways were blessed with three daughters: Kim in 1953, Tracy in 1955, and Ricky in 1957; and with one granddaughter, Catherine, in 1992. The Erways traveled all over the United States and Canada. In 1964, they built a vacation home on the Petenwell Flowage of the Wisconsin River where they spent much of their time. Norm loved downhill skiing, and skied frequently in the Midwest and Western states, as well as Austria and Switzerland. Norm continued to downhill ski until he was 87 years old. He also enjoyed cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice-boating, ice-fishing, whitewater and flat water canoeing, camping, hiking, boating, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, hunting, beach combing, and visiting and photographing light houses. He and Willie traveled extensively visiting six continents, most recently China in 2007, and took adventurous trips on dories through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River; on old sailing ships off the Maine Coast; and on river cruises in the US, Canada, and Europe. With their family they took a horse pack trip in Montana; chartered sailboats in the Caribbean; whitewater rafted in Idaho and Utah; and enjoyed houseboat vacations in Utah, Minnesota, and Missouri.
In recent years, Norm was passionate about the conversion of the family farm he enjoyed as a youth into the Michigan Audubon Society Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary. He and Willie helped finance and led the building of a floating boardwalk through the marsh and the renovation of the barn into a nature center.
Norman is survived by his wife of 67 years, Wilma; three daughters, Kim (Bill) Birck of Missoula, Mont.,Tracy (Baxter) Burton of Effingham, Ill., and Ricky Erway (and partner Ted Brooks) of Redwood City, Calif.; a granddaughter, Catherine Rose Burton (the light of his later years), who is attending Millikin University in Decatur, Ill.; his English Springer Spaniel, Nellie; many cousins, nieces, and nephews in Michigan; and by their friend and coworker, John Ames and his family. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Frederick and Charles; two sisters, Betty (Harry) Meech and Marion (Serafino) Gesmundo; many cousins, including Harold Otis; and several dear aunts and uncles.
There will be no visitation or formal services. His ashes will be scattered at their vacation home on the Petenwell and at the Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary (c/o Michigan Audubon Society, Box 15249, Lansing, Michigan 48901).
The family would like to thank the staff of Agrace HospiceCare, Darcey Nett and the caregivers of Always Best Care Senior Services, and especially to John and Carol Ames and their daughter Dana Lindsey for the loving care provided to Norm and the family.
There will be no visitation or formal services.