As the sun was rising and an epic lightning storm started to fade, Marjorie Nordstrom passed away on December 21, 2021 at age 95. “Everywhere we’ve lived she directed the choir,” said Fred Nordstrom, dedicated husband of 71 years. “Many of us believe she’s in heaven now directing angel choirs.”
Marj’s colorful music career started in Hillsboro, Iowa, growing up on a farm singing while riding her pony to country school. She earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Iowa School of Music and went on to The Juilliard School in NYC. Broadway beckoned and she was offered a role in the 1950 revival of “Oklahoma.” Taking ownership of her path, she turned it down, and returned to Iowa to marry Fred. “It was the best decision of my life,” she often reminisced. “I accepted his fraternity pin in 1948 and we’ve been on an adventure ever since.”
A lifelong believer in inclusiveness and the unifying power of music, Marj made it her mission to train musicians, directors, choirs, and community music leaders. As they moved across the country following Fred’s career in the U.S. Army and Cargill, Inc., Marj had opportunities to direct and perform at home and abroad.
Locally, Marj is known for music at the Sanibel Community Church, the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers, Sanibel Music Festival, the Island Thanksgiving Celebration, The Old Schoolhouse Theater with J.T. Smith, the Big Arts Community Chorus, and others. She was an active supporter of many organizations including P.E.O. chapter FV, the Sanibel Bicycle Club, the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, and the Sanibel Captiva Business Women’s Association.
Marj is survived by Fred and her three children: Gloria (Stephen) Garrett of Sanibel, Lisa (George) McReddie of Rye, New York, and Neal (Tammy Thomas) Nordstrom of Beaufort, South Carolina; six grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.
Marj and Fred’s love of Sanibel spanned over 50 years, starting as family campers in the 60’s, expanding to time shares and then building in the Dunes in 1990. Marj leaves behind many beloved family members, friends, and protégés. Her motto was “Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative.” Her parting words to all of us were “I love you.”
The family suggests donations in her memory to The Sanibel Music Festival, P.O Box 1623, Sanibel, FL, 33957 or Hubbard United Methodist Church, 12150 Main St, Park Rapids, MN 56470.