SSS Member Norm Schaap was born at home in Sioux Center, and later the family moved to a farm between Orange City and Sioux Center. He grew up with his three sisters, Elsie, Shirley, and Lorna. He attended Northwestern College in Orange City for two years, during which he joined the Iowa Air National Guard in October 1954. From March 1956 to November 1957, he attended flight schools in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas, earning his pilot wings.
On New Year’s Eve 1957, he had a blind date with Anna Marie Jongma. They married on Aug. 26, 1959, at Hospers (Iowa) Reformed Church. This courtship included several dates when Norm would pick up Anna in his father’s airplane. He would land in the stubble field across the gravel road from Anna’s house to pick her up, and they would fly around the patch for their date. Norm earned some of his spending money for these dates by flying over Northwest Iowa towns and throwing movie schedules out the window. He was hired by area movie theaters for this unique advertising method.
From 1957 to 1977, Norm was a fighter pilot at the 185th Tactical Fighter Group, Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City. During his career, he flew the T-34, T-28, F-84, F-86, and his favorite…the F-100. During the Vietnam War, Norm and his family were activated at Cannon AFB, Clovis, N.M., from July 1968 to June 1969, where he was a flight instructor, training Forward Air Controllers who were then deployed to Southeast Asia.
In 1962, he began working for Johnny’s Electric, which is now known as Interstates Electric, as a self-taught electrician. There he was one of the original two and a half employees for a company that now has almost 1,000 employees nationwide. During his career as an electrician, he wired many area schools, churches, grain elevators, industries, and Sioux Center’s original indoor pool. In the early 1980s, Interstates was a growing business and in need of a business airplane. Norm became the company pilot and served in that capacity until 1991. In 2000, he fully retired from Interstates after working there for 38 years. By this time, he was also fully retired from flying after logging 5,000 plus hours of flight time, half of which were single-engine, single seat, USAF fighter jet time.
Norm was known as a man of few words, a deep thinker, and was very patient with those around him. He could fix practically anything and spent his life working with his hands and helping others when they were in need. Norm and Anna’s retirement years were spent primarily traveling – whether that be by ship, air, bus or car. Their travels took them to all 50 states and 32 countries.
Norm is survived by his wife of 59 years, Anna; their children, Kristin Schaap of Sioux Center, Jane and Christopher Gude of Spencer, Iowa, Gary and Amy Schaap of Beresford, S.D., and Candy and Terry English of Reno, Nev.; three grandchildren, Riley, Kendra, and Kayli Schaap of Beresford; two sisters, Elsie (Don) Nibbelink of Lansdale, Pa., and Lorna (Dave) Moss of Sioux Center; and one brother-in-law, John (Norma) Van Wyk of Sioux Center.
Norm was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Shirley Van Wyk.