Cover photo for Carla A. Nordness's Obituary
Carla A. Nordness Profile Photo
1963 Carla 2023

Carla A. Nordness

March 9, 1963 — December 14, 2023



Sadly, on December 14th, 2023, at 12:30 AM, Carla Ann Nordness, passed away at UW Hospital in Madison, after battling an infection in her heart valve for a few weeks. She was surrounded by friends and family at the time of passing and was at peace. 

Born in Milwaukee to Allen and Patsy, Carla grew up with her older brother Todd, and two younger sisters Karen, and Susan. Raised to be proud of their Swedish heritage, the children attended many camps and even traveled to Sweden with their grandparents. Carla graduated from Brown Deer High School and then went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she studied to become a special education teacher, while also making many lifelong friends who she remained very close with. 

After school, Carla began her lifelong pursuit of helping those less fortunate than her. Carla worked with the Special Olympics and in group homes with adults with special needs, where she would eventually meet her husband Dan. They got married and Carla gave birth to her sons, Chad (37) and Ryan (34). When the boys were 13 and 10, Carla and Dan adopted their daughter, Tanya (29). 

Carla worked in the Madison Metropolitan School District for over 28 years, teaching Special Education and Elementary School. She worked at many schools throughout the district including, Crestwood Elementary, John Muir Elementary, Glendale Elementary and Henderson Elementary.

Carla loved working with kids. She often took great joy in sharing stories with friends and family about funny things kids said to her or crazy situations throughout her day. Carla believed in an open-door policy at her home, and she often brought others into our home to stay for short periods of time when in times of need and became a “2nd Mother” to so many young boys and girls. She believed in running towards trauma, rather than away from it, and believed that people are inherently good, and you should always help people at their lowest points. She believed in forgiving others and often preached that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

Carla had open heart surgery in 2006, to insert a mechanical valve where she had a hole in her aorta. After the surgery, Carla began to live with a new zest for life. Her favorite hobbies became traveling the globe, attending live music anywhere possible, selling beer at Badgers tailgates, camping, and bingo nights to name a few. Carla was a social butterfly and comfortable in any situation. She was always on her phone keeping up to date with her countless friends or out galivanting about Willy Street, although she took no greater joy than spending time with her children. She loved making trips to Minneapolis to visit her son Ryan and try all the best plant-based restaurants, and she had begun expanding Chad’s eating habits by cooking him vegan meals once a week. 

Survived by her Mother Patsy Slezak, siblings Todd Winstrom, Karen Schoen and Susan Pankow, along with her children Chad Nordness, Ryan Nordness and Tanya Nordness, Carla will be truly missed by so many. She gave out so much love to the world that there has been an outpouring of support being offered to the family. 

The Celebration of Life will be on February 3rd, at 4 PM, at Dahmen’s at Hawk’s Landing, 88 Hawks Landing Circle, Verona, WI 53593. 

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road, Madison

(608) 238-3434

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