Longtime Valley Center resident Hanni Martha Pilz Norris, who spent the last ten years of her life in Escondido, died February 15, in Escondido. She was one month shy of her 96th birthday.
She was predeceased by her parents, Walter E. Pilz (in 1953) and Martha A. Pilz (in 1985); and by her sister Helene S. Pilz (in 2013). Her brother H. Helmut “Hal” Pilz (Marianne) survived her by 3 days.
She was also predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Neil Norris. She is survived by her five daughters; by a grandson, David Jones (Kristin) and a granddaughter, Deborah Jones Dunlevy (Nate) and five great grandchildren of whom she was very proud.
Mrs. Norris was born March 12, 1920 in Zschorlau, Saxony, Germany.
Along with her family, she emigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, arriving in Los Angeles, the day before her 10th birthday. (March 1930). Along with her siblings, she was enrolled in Custer Avenue School where they began studying in English. One memory she shared recently was of singing Christmas carols in the corridors of the school–Fa La La La La.
In 1935 the family moved to the Bay Area where, in 1938, she graduated as one of the valedictorians at Oakland Technical High School. Her high school yearbook shows Life C.S.F., Gold T, 3rd year Privileged Student, Honor Roll Social Studies, Secretary Chemistry Club, German Club, International Club.
In about 1940 Hanni and her brother “Hal” temporarily took over operation of the family grocery store while their parents made a trip to visit family back in Germany.
She and Neil Norris were married in the Methodist Church in Oakland in December 1943. Following the birth of their first daughter, they moved to Valley Center, where her parents had purchased a grocery store (and which she and her brother had previously run for a time). The store carried groceries and hardware, was equipped with three gas pumps out front, an ice house in the rear, a butcher counter, mail boxes and a lending library. Neil started and operated Norris Feed and Supply from a Quonset building next door with Hanni as his bookkeeper. Together they raised five daughters: Ruth Norris Abbott, Katherine Norris Jones (Duane), Mary Lou Norris, Judy Norris Harmon (Randall), and Virginia Norris Schlect (Les).
With family members, she was a founding member of Grace Trinity Church in Valley Center and maintained a life-long interest in that organization through its restructuring to Valley Baptist Church of Valley Center. In later years she joined Grace Lutheran Church in Escondido.
A graveside service was held on Wednesday, February 24, at Oak Hill Memorial Park, in Escondido. The family suggests donations to Gideons International (www.gideons.org) or Daily Bread Ministry (ourdailybread.org/honor-memorial giving) or Elizabeth Hospice.
Sign her guest book at http:// www.forevermissed.com/ hanni-martha-norris/
Her favorite hymn was “Oh That Will Be Glory For Me.”