Obituary for Merle Norem (1929 – 2022) – Amarillo, TX

Lt. Colonial Merle Edward (ed.) Norem died on March 3, 2022. A service celebrating life will be held on Monday, March 14, 2022 at 10:00 am in the chapel of First Baptist Church, conducted by Pastor Chester Beavers instead of. Arrangements will be made by the Cox-Rowley funeral home in Amarillo.
Ed was born on April 7, 1929 in Des Moines, Iowa to Manley and Edith Norem. Known as “The Norem Kids”, Ed, his brother and sister sang on WHO radio. “Little Eddie” and his siblings shared the spotlight with other stars of the day, including Andy Williams and sports announcer Ronald “Dutch” Reagan. Ed loved big band music and performed with small bands while attending Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.
In 1951, Ed joined the United States Air Force. He served 29 years in retirement as a lieutenant colonel. As a fighter pilot, Ed twice won Top Gun awards. He also served as flight commander, base safety officer, and civil air patrol liaison officer. After retiring from the Air Force, Ed worked as a safety inspector for the American States Insurance Company, surveying commercial real estate in the Southwest United States.
Before joining the Air Force, Ed began dating Dora Dean Struth, a friend from high school. Ed and Dora were married on June 21, 1952, the day Ed graduated from pilot training school at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. The couple had 4 children and traveled together on various missions around the United States. Ed also did solo tours in Iceland and Korea. During their Air Force career, Ed, Dora and their children lived in 14 states. Ed and Dora enjoyed entertainment and were involved in various activities at all military bases wherever they lived. They were also very active in the grassroots church choirs. Not only were they choir members, Ed often acted as choir director. Ed and Dora were married 63 years. Ed was a Christian and a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He had a great sense of humor and was a great storyteller. Ed was also known for his love of desserts, sweets and milkshakes, as well as his great stories about his many adventures as a fighter pilot. His best advice was to collect as many memories as possible and they will keep you entertained when you are older!
Ed was preceded in death by his wife Dora Norem, son Ron Norem, parents Manley and Edith Norem, brother Hal Norem, and sister Dorothy Treanor. Survivors include daughters Connie Swicegood and husband Steve, and Debbie Norem of Amarillo and son Tim Norem of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ed is also survived by his grandchildren Erica Swicegood-Farris, Jimmy Swicegood, Leslie Snyder, Jackie Salwolke, Christopher Norem, Christina Bolton, Katie Hodges, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Apparently St. Peter reported a fighter jet speeding across the sky. Then it flew over Heavens Gates with a low barrel roll and the pilot landed perfectly and gently on the golden runway reserved for aviators. As Ed climbed down the ladder he was smiling big and happy to be home. There he was greeted by a cheering group of old pilot friends and family members. After the hugs and handshakes, the Lord took Ed aside and said “Welcome home!”
To send flowers to the family of Lt. To send Col. Merle Edward (Ed) Norem please visit our flower shop.

Posted by Cox-Rowley Funeral Home – Amarillo on March 11, 2022.

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