Florence L. Socha

NORWAY – Florence L. Socha, 93, of Norway, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, at ManorCare Health Services in Kingsford.

She was born on Sept. 7, 1920, in Stambaugh, the daughter of the late Frank and Elizabeth (DeRidder) Vaerewyck. Her mother, Elizabeth, was seven months pregnant with Florence when she and her husband and family came to this country from Belgium.

Florence married Francis J. Socha on May 8, 1948, in Norway; he preceded her in death on Nov. 20, 1992.

She attended Norway High School and then served her country during World War II in the U.S. Navy Waves for over two years. Her service time took her to many locations in the country, including Oklahoma, New York City, Grosse Isle and Washington, D.C.

Florence was a member of St. Mary’s Church in Norway and belonged to the Women of St. Mary’s, the Daughters of Isabella, the Legion of Mary and the Hall-DeWinter Post 145, American Legion Auxiliary of Norway and also to the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.

She was employed by the Oscar G. Johnson V.A. Medical Center in Iron Mountain for 20 years as a Nursing Assistant, retiring in 1980.

Florence is a Charter Member of the Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Florence enjoyed life at every age! Her favorite times were with her children and grandchildren. She was an avid walker and gardener and loved to can vegetables and make jams out of wild blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. To many she was known for her delicious homemade raspberry pies!

With her husband Frank, and later her friends, Florence enjoyed several out-of-state vacations. She became an avid reader in her last years and enjoyed novels by various authors.

Her children and grandchildren will always remember her big smile and contagious enthusiasm, always looking for the best in everybody and everything! Memories that will be cherished by her family are her big hugs and kisses when they came home and when they left again.

Florence is survived by her daughters, Susan (Michael) LaFave of Lena, Wis., and Carol Socha (Terry Huth) of Saginaw; granddaughter, Amanda (Rick Nelson) LaFave of Green Bay, Wis., and grandson, Adam LaFave of Lena; sister, Rose Dishaw of Kingsford; many nieces and nephews; and friends.

She was preceded in death by her infant grandson, Brian LaFave; brother, Alphonse Vaerewyck; sisters Madelyn Cocking and Mary VanGoethem.

The family wishes to thank the staff and residents of Evergreen Meadows in Norway for their tender care of their mother and grandmother. Florence enjoyed the last seven months of her life there.

Visitation will be held on Friday, Dec. 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ortman Funeral Home in Norway.

Parish Prayers will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 9 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church in Norway with Fr. Timothy Ekaitis, presiding.

Interment will follow at the Norway Township Cemetery.

Those planning on an expression of sympathy may wish to consider The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc., Dept. 560, Washington, D.C. 20042-0560.

Condolences to the family of Florence may be expressed online at

Arrangements announced by the Ortman Funeral Home in Norway.

“A Mother holds her children’s hands for awhile, their hearts forever.”