Alea Norman Buktenica of Palm Desert, California, and Vergas, Minnesota, died of complications from a miraculous 18 year struggle with cancer on December 22, 2007. Born to Gilbert and Elsie Sando on October 6, 1934, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, she attended public schools and graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in 1952. Alea attended and graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1955 with a degree in Sociology followed by graduate studies at Moorhead State University. As a single mother supporting her family in Fargo, North Dakota, Alea held numerous jobs including teacher, police officer, convention planner, and owner of her own small business, case worker for a United States Senator, and an Immigration and Naturalization Service case manager. She also volunteered at the Palm Springs Desert Museum, was a docent at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, the Junior League, and various activities through the sorority she loved so much, the Delta Gamma Sorority. Alea was a ?supermom? and demonstrated great fortitude, strength, and courage, providing love, caring and comfort to others while always placing others before herself. She continuously offered compassion, companionship and empathy to family and friends. Behind these characteristics was Alea?s strong sense of spirituality. On November 12, 1988, Alea married Norm Buktenica which created a combined family that included James (Dianne), Kelly (Jodi), David (Lisa), Julia Norman, Patrick (Marijo), Julie Buktenica, Laurie MacKenzie, Cindy Kierscht, and Matt Kierscht. Alea is also survived by her grandchildren Scott, Mathew, Joshua, Jacob, Rodney, Tyler, Nicholas, Robert, Melissa, Zachery, Hanna, Ethan, Alex, Andrea, and Colin. Alea was preceded in death by her parents Gilbert and Elsie, her brothers Howard, Don, Ray, and Wes, and her grandson Christian. A memorial service will be held on January 12, 2008, at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Nativity in Fargo, North Dakota. A memorial service will be held in Palm Desert at a later date. Donations in Alea?s memory can be sent to national or local cancer research and service orga nizations.

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