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Ruth Engwis Hozak and Norman Lee Hozak lived happily together for 64 years. As was expected by those who loved them, they left this world and graduated into the arms of the Lord within a few days of one another.

On December 19, 2021 Ruth “crossed the finish line” just days before her beloved “Normie.” Ruth was born to Claude (Don) and Marie Howard Engwis and was a fifth generation Midlander.  Save for her time spent as a nursing student at the Saginaw General School of Nursing and as a young wife and mother in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, Ruth was a lifelong resident of Midland.

Ruth was feisty, had an adventuresome spirit and a deep love to travel. She and Norm traveled all over the world from British Columbia to Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Holland, and Czechoslovakia, twice, once before “the wall” came down. She loved their annual trips to Arizona. Ruth was a great lover of nature and could name any bird, random flower, plant or tree. She always made note of a beautiful sky or unusual weather pattern. Ruth had a great love of art and music, which she shared with Norm. Together they loved spending time playing accordion duets. As a young woman she played clarinet, was the organist for her church and recorded an album of hymns. In later years, she spent hours at her piano where she had great fun playing the works of Scott Joplin, who was among her favorites. Her appreciation of God’s creation and love of art and music carries over to her children and grandchildren.

Ruth dedicated her life to her family. Like so many women of her day, she willingly relinquished her career aspirations and instead practiced “family nursing.” She assured that her family had everything they needed, she was a great tutor and outstanding mentor. She was kind, intelligent, soft spoken and wise: her children learned that nothing got past her. Raising her children and supporting her husband were her number one priority. When her children were young she volunteered as a “Picture Lady” teaching art history to school children and served as room parent countless times. Over the years, she volunteered in various community roles, closest to her heart was time spent with the Chippewa Nature Center.

Ruth and Norm met on June 26, 1956, both having been invited to attend a mixer organized by Saginaw General School of Nursing and the Dow Chemical student intern program. It was love at first sight, they never looked back and celebrated that date and their first meeting ever after. They married September 28, 1957 and moved to Midland in 1960 where together they raised their family and Norm began his career.

Norman was born and raised in Owosso, Michigan and passed on December 30, 2021. He attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1959 and again in 1960 with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering. Norm had a life-long career at the Dow Chemical Company rising through the ranks of the Michigan Engineering Division to retire as an Associate Engineering Consultant. 

During his tenure at the company, Norm was chief engineer and integral in the construction of numerous very complex production plants and processes which, with Norm’s expertise, were delivered on time and on budget. Norm was a self-proclaimed perfectionist, a detail-oriented “stickler”.  No attribute, however small, escaped his attention or his impeccable memory.  According to his co-workers, he was a good friend, a great working partner and a valuable resource for any project to which he was assigned.

Norm had an outstanding work ethic and was the recipient of numerous academic and professional honors.  During his collegiate career, he was initiated into the Triangles and Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary societies, the Phi Eta Sigma national honor society, and was a member of the Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry professional fraternity.  While at Dow, he earned ‘Engineering Outstanding Achievement’ and ‘Engineering Excellence’ awards. He was an active member of Midland Kiwassee Kiwanis Club where he was known as a top fundraiser. Norm was also a founding member and former Chairman of the Board for the Midland Concert Band where he played bassoon for 36 years, beginning in 1976.

Norm was devoted to his family, a loving husband to “Ruthie”, caring father to his children and fully committed to his 13 grandchildren. In all things, Norm worked to perfection, a truth most evident in the time he invested with his family. Well-known as an avid “foodie,” he often combined his love of food with other interests, making early morning runs to Bud’s Bakery while camping with his family in Interlochen (where a concert or two was always on the docket), organizing 4th of July pig roast celebrations for family or planning family trips to Disney World and Epcot with his children and grandchildren. A dedicated Michigan football fan and season ticket-holder, Norm coordinated family attendance at home games for decades. He lovingly and with an eye to detail assured that each had their turn at the best games. Following each game, he treated his children and grandchildren to such Ann Arbor culinary icons as Blimpy Burgers, Angelo’s and Cottage Inn Pizza. He always played host during family football weekends. Known to his grandchildren as “Mr. Duck”, Norm loved a good laugh and was a bit of a practical joker.

Norm and Ruth’s children fondly remember Christmas at the Hozak home as magical and the Christmas season as a fitting time for them to make their way home to the Lord. 

Norm and Ruth, both aged 85, are survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Rudolph (Bud) and Judy Hozak of Durand; his sister-in-law Linda Hozak of Lennon, Ruth’s sister, Helen Engwis Winslow and brother-in-law Douglas Winslow of Midland. They leave behind five children and their spouses: Susan and Dirk Love of Midland, Anne and David Halls of Midland, Douglas and Kathy Hozak of Manton, Ken and Laura Hozak of Santa Monica and Livonia, Greg and Stacey Hozak of Traverse City; and 13 grandchildren: Matthew, Daniel and Nathan Love; Robert, Michael and Andrew Halls; Reiss Hozak; Julia, Sean, Nicholas and Natasha Hozak; Kaitlin and Ryan Hozak. Through Ruth and Norm, their grandchildren carry a legacy of love and security.

Norm was preceded in death by his parents, Rudolph and Elinor Barnefske Hozak and younger brother, Larry Hozak.

The family extends their most sincere and heartfelt thanks to Naomi Castro-Payne, Wanda Roberts, Diane Schneider and the staff of McLaren Health Care Hospice for the tender love and care they provided to Norm and Ruth.

A private memorial service has been held for immediate family.

Condolence Messages

  1. Beverly Linton

    07 January 2022 2 weeks ago

    So Sorry for the loss of Mr.and Mrs. Hozak, Prayer for your family. Anne Hall.

  2. Linda Barth

    07 January 2022 2 weeks ago

    Dear Hozak family, So sorry to hear of your parents passing. Just reading the obituary it’s obvious they lead very full lives and were blessed with a family that loved them. You are all in my prayers.

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