Norman was born on October 21, 1931 at the family farm near Manson, Iowa, the son of George and Grace (Peters) Thoel. He grew up riding horses on the farm and trained his favorite horse, Lady, to do tricks. He graduated in 1949 from Manson High School and started to work on the family farm. On June 18, 1950 he married his high school sweetheart, Betty, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Manson, Iowa. Norman joined the Army in 1952 and was stationed at Fort Riley, Manhattan, Kansas. Norman was deployed to Mannheim, Germany in 1953 and Betty joined him overseas. While in Germany, they traveled throughout Europe visiting many famous sites. They returned to farming in March 1954 and raised four children on the Blunt family farm. Norman was a proud owner of a Calhoun County Heritage farm settled by the grandparents of his late wife, Betty. Norman and his brother, Delmar, worked together on both family farms until their retirement. Norman was a member of the American Legion and VFW. He was also involved with the Iowa Soybean Association as a delegate.
In 1970, they demolished the century old farm house and built a new home. He continued to be a handyman for his children on their homes. During the winters, they traveled with friends to Europe, Hawaii and took Caribbean cruises. In 1994, they decided to spend the winters in Mesa, Arizona and play cards with friends from the Midwest. While in Arizona, Norman took up woodcarving as a hobby and enjoyed attending the annual Arabian Horse Show.
Norman is survived by his children, Dale and David of Manson, Diane Abens and Deb Neumann of Peoria, Arizona; 4 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren; his sister-in-law Julia Thoel; and his brother-in-law, Arnold Smith. He was preceded in death by his wife Betty; his brother Delmar, his sister Geraldine Smith; and his daughter-in-law Carol Thoel.