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Marion Norris Grabarek

Posted By Hall-Wynne On January 19, 2018 @ 2:55 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 9 Comments

Marion Norris Grabarek passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. She was born September 29, 1920, the daughter of the late Dr. and Mrs. Carl Pritchard Norris of Durham. She was educated in the Durham City Schools, graduated from Salem College, and attended Duke University Graduate School. On September 2, 1944, she married her beloved husband Wense Grabarek who survives her, as do her four cherished children Robert (Bob) W. Grabarek Jr. and wife Mary Anne, Louise (Lisa) Norris Grabarek, John Carl Albert Grabarek, and David Harrison Grabarek. Marion is also survived by her treasured nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends. Sisters-in-law Helen Grabarek, Wanda Ogurkis, and Clara Kownacki also survive her.

Marion was the last of Durham’s Norris Girls. She was predeceased by her two dear sisters and their husbands, Mary Norris Cooper (Derwin) and Louise Norris Rand (Trip).

Following in the footsteps of her parents and two older sisters, Marion was a devoted member of Watts Street Baptist Church. In addition to being a den mother for Watts Street’s cub scouts, Marion was active in the Tilman Bible Class and her circle, and she taught Sunday School classes at Watts Street for over 50 years.

Marion was gifted in areas as varied as painting, pastel drawing, needlework, acting, architectural design, sports, gardening, and plumbing. Her commitment to the value of learning led her to the establishment with her husband of nine educational scholarships. An avid reader, she was a long-time member of the Halcyon Book Club. Marion also enjoyed her work with the Junior League of Durham and Allied Arts.

Kindness was the essence of Marion’s soul. Humility and a delightful sense of humor were hallmarks of her spirit. Her caring nature and gentle smile touched the lives of all who knew her. Marion was indeed “what sweetness looks like.”

The family is deeply grateful to Marion’s loving caregivers, especially Sarah Spencer-Bey, whose devotion to Marion was steadfast.

Following a private interment, a memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 27 at 11:00 a.m. at Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham. The family will receive visitors at a reception in the Fellowship Hall following the service.

Marion asked that each of us honor her memory by committing ourselves to honoring and being kind to each other.

Condolences for the family of “Marion Norris Grabarek”

Condolence from Clay A Chandler on January 19th, 2018 4:32 pm

Dearest Wense & Family:

I am so sorry to hear of Marion’s passing. She was a remarkable person who served her church and the Durham community for many years.
Please know that you are all in my thoughts and heartfelt prayers.
If I may assist you all in any way please do not hesitate to call on me. I am here for your family.
Yours in Christian love,

Condolence from Robert and Judy May Berry on January 20th, 2018 9:57 am

Wense, We send our love and prayers for you, the family and all who loved Marion. Our families have been friends for generations and we have wonderful memories. Know we are with you in your mourning.

Condolence from Carole Ferrari Grabarek Fisher on January 20th, 2018 1:35 pm

It’s been many years, but I well remember Marion’s kindness and sweetness. R.I.P. dear lady.

Condolence from Mary LeMay on January 21st, 2018 2:45 pm

Dear Mr. Grabarek

On behalf of my late parents, Will and Elaine Cartwright, allow me to express our joint condolences on the loss of your wife. May your memories of her serve you well in your loss.

Mary (Cartwright) LeMay

Condolence from Jim Gurkin on January 22nd, 2018 1:48 pm

My Condolence.

Condolence from Patsy Sugg Berry on January 22nd, 2018 7:10 pm

After attending Watts Street Baptist Church my whole life with my parents, Dr. Robert and Dot Sugg, I saw Mrs Grabarek frequently-always with a smile and a kind comment for all of us.. She was a cherished member of the church and the Durham community. Thoughts and prayers to all of her family. Love from The Sugg family

Condolence from John Ross on January 23rd, 2018 6:33 am

Marion will be so missed by all who have had the pleasure of knowing her throughout our lives and her long life. I loved sitting next to her for decades at Duke basketball games. She always picked the best Duke players to root for. Marion and Wense always demonstrated how much they were a strong couple and raised such a great family. We feel so lucky to have known her.

Condolence from Clarence Whitefield on January 23rd, 2018 9:13 pm

Dear Wense and family:

You have lost a wife and Mother and we a friend and Sister in Christ. You have our deepest sympathy on your loss. We are grateful to have had her in our midst for all these years. She was a member of a prominent Durham family which contributed much to Watts Street Baptist Church. We will always be indebted to her. You have been faithful to her, especially during her illness, even sacrificing your church attendance in order to be with her. We’ve missed you and hope to see you more often now.

Condolence from Bill & Judy Batts on January 29th, 2018 1:08 pm

Mr. Grabarek

Judy and I met you at Emerald Isle where a couple of 4th of July weeks we enjoyed homemade cherry nut ice cream with you at your cottage and the Wrenn’s cottage. Marion was a lovely lady and we know you will miss her terribly. May the Holy Spirit comfort you and the family in your loss until you are reunited in His presence.

Bill and Judy Batts

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