Norman “Norm” Burl Jennings went to be with his Savior on March 4, 2019. Norm, son of Clark and Mary (Young) Jennings, was born in a house constructed by his Grandfather Jennings on the family farm near Beaconsfield, Iowa, on August 13, 1929. Norm was the fourth child born into this family: sisters Ione and Mary Margaret and brother David.
Norm entered the Beaconsfield Consolidated School when he was barely five and skipped kindergarten. His school transportation was by a horse drawn school bus (heated in the winter by a small pot-bellied stove). In 1940 the family moved to a farm six miles northeast of Ellston at which time Norm attended a rural school for seventh and eighth grades. When he attended high school in Ellston, his daily trek by horse was thirteen miles. Norm graduated from the Ellston High School at the age of sixteen with the class of 1946.
Faith was an important part of the Jennings’s life. As a child, Norm attended the Ellston Methodist Church, and at the age of fourteen he was baptized and became a member of that congregation.
On New Year’s Eve 1948, Norman was united in marriage to Gertrude Alice Ross of Shannon City at the Tingley Methodist parsonage, with Rev. A.R. Weed officiating. To this union four children were born: William Clark, Linda Lee, Beth Ann, and Dwight Leroy.
Until 1953, Norm farmed in partnership with his father. He entered the electrical field in 1956, becoming one of the early installers of electric heat in this part of Iowa. While living in Creston, Norm stepped into residential and commercial electrical heating. Then the family moved to Cedar Rapids where he specialized in industrial commercial electrical installations. He was active in the electrical career for 62 years. For about fifteen years, he was employed by Devries Electric of Pella. During those years, Norm travelled from coast to coast, working as an electrician and supervisor in numerous and varied projects, each project lasting from six months to two years.
As Norm traveled to new projects, seeking out the right new church was of the utmost importance. He and Gert would locate a Bible centered church as soon as they arrived at a new location. Norm loved the Lord and shared his faith with many people. His office in his job trailer often served as a counseling and prayer room.
In 1997 Norm semi-retired to Ellston due to Gert’s illness, but he continued involvement with electrical projects. Gert passed away in September 1998.
In 1999 Norm was blessed to join church friends from Ohio in a tour of Israel. This opportunity to walk where Jesus had walked was one of his life’s most touching events. While there, Norm was baptized in the Jordan River.
In 1999 Norm accepted a position as an instructor in the electrical apprenticeship program with DMAC at Ankeny, Iowa. His career plans soon became complicated when he received a phone call from a Tingley widow whose electrical problems caused her to seek the services a good electrician. The rest is history, and he married Marian Bennett England on December 16, 2000.
Following their marriage, Norm and Marian sold their individual homes and Norm embarked on a new project. At the age of 70, he started constructing their new home in Mt. Ayr. He did the planning and the major part of the interior construction as the couple lived in the lower level. Construction began a week before the 9-11 attack and was completed in the spring of 2003.
Norm continued serving the Lord in Bible Studies and prayer groups at the Christian Church during this new chapter of his life. In the summer of 2000, Norm started a men’s Bible Study with the pastor and two other men. Although faces have changed with the group, all the men have remained friends. The group which started meeting in Tingley evolved into the Monday Morning Men’s Bible Study in the Jennings’s Mt. Ayr home. Norm and many of the men in the group have witnessed and touched the lives of other men in the nondenominational Walk to Emmaus evangelistic program. Norm has also been active in the Billy Graham evangelistic programs.
Norm is a member of the Regular Baptist Church in Mt. Ayr. He is confident of his eternal home and looked forward to hearing the Lord’s welcoming voice: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the presence of the Lord.”
Preceding Norm in death were his wife Gertrude, his parents, Clark and Mary Jennings, sister Ione (husband Ward) Wight, brother David (Wilmina) Jennings, two-year old sister Mary Margaret, daughter Beth Strange, granddaughter Hiedi Strange, great granddaughter Chloe Jennings, son-in-law Jim Dukes, and grandson-in-law Rob Wilson.
Norm is survived by his wife Marian, sons Bill (Elaine) Jennings and Dwight (Debra) Jennings and daughter Linda (Ronnie) Binning, eleven grandchildren, twenty-four great grandchildren, as well as children by marriage: Sharene (Michael) Culp, Steven (Denae) England, Scott (Jodi) England, Shad (Jody) England, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren by marriage, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Services: 11:00 a.m. - Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Regular Baptist Church -Mount Ayr
Open Viewing: 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Fri., March 8 with
Family Present: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Fri., March 8 at Armstrong Funeral Home – Mount Ayr
Burial: Grand River Cemetery – Grand River
Memorials: Regular Baptist Church and EveryStep Hospice, both in Mount Ayr