PHOENIX – Norman Frank Grandrud, age 86, was born November 1, 1931, in Elmwood Park, Chicago, to a Norwegian father (Frank Norman Grandrud) and a Greek mother, (Vasseliky Sampurdanis) who later changed her legal given name to Jessie. According to family lore, Norman’s grandfather (Lars Petersen) thought there were too many “Lars Petersens in Chicago,” so dropped his surname and became Lars Grandrud.
After graduating from Proviso High School, Norman started his military career (1951-1971) with the U.S. Air Force, serving honorably in Japan, Newfoundland, Thailand, and a number of USAF bases across the United States. Marriage to Hilda Luscombe came in 1952 while Norman was stationed at Harmon AFB, Newfoundland. Their only child, “Normie,” died before his first birthday and is buried in Chicago.
At his last post, Hill AFB, Ogden, UT, Norm enjoyed working closely with distinguished WWII veteran, AF Lt. Col. Chase J. Nielsen (Ret.). who was one of the Tokyo Doolittle Raiders. But Norm and Hilda wanted to go back to Arizona because their three years at Luke AFB in the late ‘60s had introduced them to the beauties of the Sonoran Desert. This was accomplished in 1971; Norm and Hilda enjoyed another 22 years together before she died.
In August, 1993, he married Reba N. Wells, a transplanted New Mexican whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had homesteaded in southeastern New Mexico around the time of statehood (1912). Reba and Norman met in a Singles Class at North Phoenix Baptist Church and attended there until 2001 when they became members of Palmcroft Baptist Church and active participants of the Ambassador Sunday School Class. Norm was an active, lifelong walker, especially enjoying early morning hikes along the Arizona Canal between Sunnyslope and Scottsdale.
Norman is survived by his stepdaughter and her husband, Linda & Ron Parker; granddaughter Kim; and two great-granddaughters, Shannon and Ashley—all of Hemet, CA and Seattle, WA; his widow, Reba and her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren; and special lifelong friends: Jim & Carol Misiuda, Joe Jensen, as well as many other friends and neighbors.
A graveside service will be held at 10 o’clock a.m. Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at W. Resthaven Park Cemetery, 6450 W. Northern Ave., Glendale. A celebration of life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 20, 2018 at Palmcroft Baptist Church, 15825 N. 35th Ave., Glendale.Print Obituary & Condolences