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Obituary: Wendy Susan Noren

Obituary: Wendy Susan Noren

March 14th, 2018 in Obituaries

Wendy Susan Noren, 63, died on March 11, 2018, in her home supported by the devoted care of her family. She fought cancer for over four years while continuing her service to the ideals of fair and free elections. Her determination to work and persevere with life during her treatment was a final testimony to her strength of will. A Columbia Tribune columnist once attributed that "steely resolve" to the example of her parents, Carl and Anna McCalla Noren. She was born to them on June 29, 1954, in Jefferson City and grew up there as a true child of central Missouri. Her father's tenure as Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and his example as a life-long public servant was one she cited as a role model. Her leadership and intellect were already evident as she moved through her school years, serving in various offices and garnering awards. Her interest in civic affairs was reinforced by studies at Jefferson City High School from which she graduated in 1972. Her life in Columbia began when she became a student at the University of Missouri. Following in the footsteps of her mother, a respected nurse supervisor, Wendy was capped as a student nurse during her studies there. She honed her leadership skills while holding offices in Pi Beta Phi sorority. Her interest in politics and policy led her to a degree in history and the field of public service after her graduation in 1976. Wendy's enduring commitment to Boone County began forty years ago when she became deputy county clerk. She took a ten month leave of absence to serve as district manager for the US Bureau of the Census, an experience that led to her appointment by Governor Bond to the Missouri reapportionment commission. She was elected Boone County Clerk in 1982, a post she held for nearly 35 years before she retired last June, due to illness. Bipartisan respect for her ability and integrity of purpose meant that she was only challenged once in eight subsequent elections. She was married in 1988 to Forrest Rose. Their son, Brennan Noren Rose, was born in 1989 and was their shared joy until Forrest's death in 2005 Wendy built a reputation as one of the most capable election administrators in the country. She was a pioneer in using technology to improve voter access. She was the first election official in the country to accept online voter address changes and to implement a local online voter registration application system. Her expertise was routinely sought at the national and international level. Wendy considered her two assignments as an international election monitor as some of the most rewarding experiences of her life. She traveled under the auspices of the International Foundation for Election Systems to Albania in 1997 while it was amid widespread violence and to Kosovo at the behest of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2001. During the 2008 US elections, international observers from Canada and South Africa were placed with her to garner knowledge of her election administration techniques. She is survived by her son, Brennan Noren Rose, of Columbia. Also surviving are her mother, Ann Noren, of Columbia; brother, David Noren (Jean) of Portland, Oregon and three sisters: Laura Noren (Scott Wilson) of Columbia, Carol Lockman of Athens, Georgia and Jane Davis (Tom) of Charlottesville, Virginia. She leaves behind 12 nieces and nephews, two grand-nieces and a grand-nephew and one great-grand-niece. She was preceded in death by her father, Carl Raymond Noren. A celebration of Wendy's remarkable life will take place on Saturday, April 7, at 3 p.m. at the Tiger Hotel, Columbia. Contributions in Wendy's memory can be made to the True Life Fund, P.O. Box 121, 2000 E. Broadway, Columbia MO 65201. Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service & Crematory, 12 East Ash Street, Columbia, Missouri, 65203; (573) 449-4153. Condolences may be left online for the family at www.parkermillard.com.