Susan Norton

September 6, 1954 - February 28, 2019

Service: A Memorial services will begin at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 10th at Redeemer Free Lutheran Church, Canton, SD. Family will greet visitors one hour prior to the service.

Susan Renee Gilman was born September 6, 1954, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Richard and Leila Gilman.  At the age of six weeks she accompanied her parents to Paris, France, and lived there while her parents studied the French language in preparation for ministry in French Cameroon, West Africa.  Soon after her first birthday the family moved to Africa to fulfill a five-year commitment of missionary work.  During the next four years Susan learned to speak fluently in both English and the native language of the people in that area and enjoyed playing with her little African friends.

          After returning to the United States she attended school, first in Toronto, SD, then Canton, SD, and graduated from Augustana Academy in 1971.  After graduation she attended the Lutheran Bible Institute, Seattle, WA, for one semester, followed by a semester at Wayne State University, Wayne, Nebraska, and a semester at SD State University, Brookings, SD.

          On December 27, 1973, she was married to Edwin Norton in Pipestone, MN.  The couple lived and worked in Springfield, MO, for a while, then returned to Sioux Falls.  During the next four years they became parents to two daughters, Olivia Dawn and Angelyn Mari. In search of more job security Susan enrolled and graduated from Stewart’s School of Hair-Styling and began her career with all the skills needed to satisfy both women and men in their choices of hair styles.  As a change of pace in the midst of this career she worked at Citibank for four and one-half years and also one year at Dakota Abilities.  Returning to her career of choice her schedule was quickly filled, often extending into evening hours.  Her entire family benefitted from her skills; she especially enjoyed meeting the requests of her nephews who requested a haircut in the style of whatever role model they held in admiration at that time.

          Susan loved animals and could rightfully be called the “cat whisperer”. She insisted that her cats understood every word she spoke to them and it was obvious that she understood them.  During the final days of her illness “Woody” lay beside her on her bed, day and night.

 November 20, 2018, Susan was diagnosed with advanced cancer already spread throughout her body.  She accepted this diagnosis with peace, expressing her willingness to be used for whatever purpose God may choose.  On Feb. 28, 2019, her family stood by her bed as Jesus welcomed her into her home in heaven.  She will be greatly missed by her loving family, her loyal co-workers and clients and many other friends.  Survivors include her parents, Pastor Richard and Leila Gilman, daughters Olivia Ubersteigen (Schwei) and Angie Gobar (Sean); one granddaughter Mya Renee Gobar; one sister, Mari Schwarting; two brothers, Pastor Tom Gilman (wife Patty); and Dan Gilman (wife, Sheila); Ed Norton and five nieces and six nephews.

Memorial services will begin at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 10th at Redeemer Free Lutheran Church, Canton, SD.  Family will greet visitors one hour prior to the service.  In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society (

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16 messages have been left

  1. Hester on March 2, 2019 said:

    Please accept my condolences for your loss. May the God of all comfort be with the family during this difficult time. (2 Corinthians 1:3)

  2. Shirley D. Peterson on March 2, 2019 said:

    My sympathy goes out to all the family for your loss. May
    God bring you solace at this difficult time.

  3. Jackie (Bergjord) Pike on March 3, 2019 said:

    To Mari and the rest of Susan’s Family,
    You have my heartfelt sympathy in the loss of Susan. I have so many fond memories of your whole family. Spent many summers in Canton. Precious memories for me. Treasure all of your wonderful memories of Susan and keep them very close to your heart.

  4. Chuck Cole on March 3, 2019 said:

    Our hearts ache for you all.
    Love, Carol and Chuck Cole

  5. SarahLittleCloud on March 3, 2019 said:

    May God be with my friend will miss Susan she was my friend an a great Family an daughter an precious to God An fillet of Christ Jesus..God Bless You Sue.. will see you in Gods Kingdom..Love An miss you.

  6. Howard Smedsrud on March 4, 2019 said:

    I’m sorry to hear of Susan’s passing or as she prefered to be called Sue, I lost all contact with Sue not long after I painted her house but I’m here now to let you know that I often thought about her but I was really surprised to find out that she had cancer and that it was that what caused her death. I’m sure Sue’s Dad Pastor Richard has the right words to express the sorrow that I and everyone else is feeling right now. R I P Sue Norton

  7. Janet Murphy on March 4, 2019 said:

    Oh my. I am so saddened to learn of Susan’s passing. She is truly at Peace now. My deepest sympathies to the entire Gilman and Norton families. I met Susan back in the 1990’s in Beresford and found her to be a lovely person. My prayers and thoughts go out to the families and friends in this great time of loss and sorrow. Rest in Peace Susan.

  8. Tim and Melody Thomas on March 5, 2019 said:

    We are so sorry for your loss, our thoughts and prayers are with you all

  9. Trudy Aulgur on March 5, 2019 said:

    I was so sorry when I learned of Sue’s passing. She was such a wonderful person. I first met Sue in the summer of 2016. I had recently moved to Sioux Falls and needed a Hair Styleist. Everyone I met recommended Sue saying she was absolutely the best. And she was. When my every six week appointment would arrive I couldn’t wait to set in her chair. We talked and laughed so much.
    Please accept my condolences for your loss.
    May God Bless all of you. Prayers.

  10. DEB ADEN on March 5, 2019 said:

    Sue, You will be so missed!

  11. Gerry Bethke on March 5, 2019 said:

    To the Gilman, Norton families, Death is always hard for those left behind, it is real and man is mortal. Yet, for children to pass from this life before their parents (regardless of age ) is most difficult, even when we are assured our loved one is in the loving arms of Jesus. I pray our Gods grace and comfort be with you in this very troubling time. …………………..God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me. In Christian Love Gerry Bethke

  12. Beverly Zweifel on March 6, 2019 said:

    Dick, Leila, Tom and Patty, You have my sincere sympathy in the loss of Susan. I did not know her, but I know the loss of such a young person is very hard. Love to you all.

  13. Lynda L> Faber on March 6, 2019 said:

    I first met Sue about 40 yrs. ago, when we both lived in Worthing, S.D. with our little families. She has always been such a sweetheart! Then i saw her in the Salon a few yrs. ago, and she started cutting my hair about 8 months ago! I just loved her! She had a special talent. So saddened to hear of her passing, but she had God in her Heart, and she is in His Arms in Heaven!! She was very Special! And will truly be missed! So sorry for your loss and God give you all His Strength and Comfort!

  14. sally bergjord on March 7, 2019 said:

    Dear Gilman family, Such a loss, my sympathy and prayers for you, I have always held in my
    heart fond memories of the Gilman family even tho the kids were just babies when I knew them
    it was Pastor Richard and Leila that influenced my Christian path. Peace in Jesus, Sally Bergjord

  15. Rhonda Booth on March 7, 2019 said:

    Don’s and my prayers are with all of you. So wanted to be with all of you for Susan’s memorial service, but flights coming back were tough to schedule. Hopefully Rick and Reed & Thora will be there from our family, weather permitting. I have so many wonderful memories of cousin time, growing up with Susan.
    Love, Rhonda

  16. Lois & Richard Larson on March 7, 2019 said:

    Gilman family, I believe you are praising God for the ongoing life of your precious daughter & sister, yet, we are so sorry for the absence of physical joy on this journey. Hugs and prayers for that Peace that passes all understanding.
    Dick & Lois