Our Norman Artus, 64, ended his battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (a rare lung disease) on June 18.
He was born Sept. 7, 1954 in Boise, Idaho. He lived in several foster homes most of his young life.
Norman’s hobbies included mountain biking, great tunes, hiking, reading and exploring the wonderful Gunnison Valley. He loved to cruise and honk and wave in his classic red 1967 Ford Mustang with his favorite sidekick, Opal Mae, in the passenger seat. He could often be seen riding his bike, oxygen on his back, with his golden doodle pulling him on their way for tacos, iced tea or coffee.
Norman moved to Gunnison in 1984. He graduated from Western State College in 1990 with a degree in biology and business. He met his wife, Karen, at a first aid class and they were happily married for 30 years.
Norman was employed with the Gunnison Watershed School District for 27 years. Besides his regular school bus route, he drove the students to out of town events. He drove in snow storms, icy roads, always arriving home safely. He would say, “They are all my kids.” Parents and students alike felt safe when Norman was driving.
He is survived by his wife, Karen, sister Denise, family members in Kansas — where he spent summers fishing and exploring with his grandpa and cousins. He will also be missed by his family in California which includes his sister-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins: Andrea, Alesia, Joslyn, Tyler, Elijah, Pat and Maya; and in his words “the best mother-in-law ever, Beverly.”
Norman very seldom complained and never lost his faith in God. He always looked forward to another day. We know he is home with his Lord and Savior. He is in pain no more. Praise the Lord!
As many of you know, Norman loved all animals. If you would like to make a donation in his name, please do so to any animal organization in the Gunnison Valley. Karen and Opal Mae would like to thank their many friends for all the support, meals and visits throughout this difficult time. Your kindness is priceless, thank you!
In celebration of Norman’s life please join us on Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. at West Tomichi Riverway Park, behind the nursing home. Dress casual for the outdoors. Norman would never pass up a potluck so if you would like to bring your favorite dish or dessert, please do. Main dish will be provided.