Noreen G. Huntley, 84 of Grangeville went to be with the Lord on Thursday, December 12, 2019. She passed away in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.
Noreen was born on July 21, 1935 in the Cottonwood, Idaho hospital. She was the second child of Lawrence and Henrietta Goeckner. God blessed her with the gift of being able to sit down and play songs by ear. She spent many hours playing every day. At age 12, she started playing for school and church choirs. On many Sunday afternoons, she would drive into the town of Ferdinand where she would play and sing for Benediction.
Noreen graduated from high school in May of 1953. In August of that same year, Noreen entered St. Gertrude’s Convent, where she, for the first time began music lessons. With much excitement, she devoured all the wonderful new things about music. Early on, she was given the assignment of being the organist at the monastery.
Her first assignment teaching was that of being a music teacher at St. Maries, Idaho. She was there for 3 years. Her next assignment was teaching at Sts. Peter and Paul where she taught 3rd and 4th grades. Two years at the St. Gertrude’s Academy was her next assignment. She said those were wonderful years. Pocatello was her next move. After being there for 6 years, Noreen was happy to teach closer to home in Lewiston.
Later in 1969, because of health problems, the Prioress told her that she thought it would be best if she left the Monastery. She wrote to Rome and received a dispensation. She then applied for and received a scholarship from the U of I and finished with a degree in Bachelor of Music Education. All her many hours of practicing piano and voice and taking various classes paid off as she received the cum laude.
After graduation, the Superintendent from Mtn Home came to the U o I, looking for a music teacher. He asked Noreen to come for an interview, which turned out great because he said she could have the job if she wanted it. That was easy!!! It would be many years that she taught at Mtn Home. Charles Hawley was the principal at the school where she taught. She became the director/organist at the church in Mtn Home.
Mr. Hawley had lost his wife about a year and a half earlier, so he and Noreen dated. After about a year, they were married. Noreen had wanted so badly to have a child, so they fostered a girl, Megan. Unfortunately, that year Charles died of cancer.
Noreen and Megan moved to Boise in 1989. Noreen continued teaching in Mtn Home until 1996 at which time she retired. Noreen was excited to welcome a foster grandchild named, Michael. Being a Grandma and spending lots of time with him were some of the best years of her life.
Once more, after she moved to Boise and had retired, she was offered the job of organist at St. Mark’s, which she accepted. Once more the Lord had a music job for her. Noreen was so grateful to God that every place she went, there was an organist or piano/accompanist job waiting for her.
During Noreen’s living in Boise, she went to some singles dances, where she met Larry Huntley. They went together on and off, for 10 years and were married on January 11, 2003. These were some of Noreen’s happiest years. She moved to Nampa which was where Larry lived. Larry later died in 2007.
Once again, the Lord came calling and Father Jerry in Nampa asked her to start a choir, which she did. Soon some wonderful, talented ladies answered the request. They stayed a choir until Noreen left and moved to Grangeville so she could be close to family. And once more, God had some jobs for her. She started playing the pump organ in White Bird. She said that was so much fun. It was the same kind of Organ that she had played when she played at age 13 in Ferdinand. Noreen started a children’s choir at Sts. Peter and Paul. This led to her asking if she could teach the children there at the school. She held music classes two times a week for grades 1&2, 3&4, 5&6. Being able to be with family and teaching music was even better than she had imagined. GOD BE PRAISED FOR SO MANY BLESSINGS!!!!!!!
She was preceded in death by her parents, husbands; Charles Hawley and Larry Huntley. Sister, Bonnie Wassmuth.
She is survived by brothers; Dan (Rosie) Goeckner , Ted (Barb) Goeckner. Foster daughter, Megan Hawley and foster grandson, Michael. Numerous nieces, nephews and their families.
A rosary will be held Friday, December 20, 2019 at 10:30 am at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church with a memorial mass to follow at 11:00 am. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. You may submit condolences to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations be made to the SPPS music program in honor of Noreen.