In Memory of

Fern A. Sembach

October 6, 1925 - July 9, 2020
From: Spencer, IA
Fern A. Sembach

Fern A. Sembach

Born: October 6, 1925
Died: July 9, 2020
Age: 94

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Fern Arlene Sembach, the daughter of Hans and Marie Christine (Bottker) Norgaard was born on October 6, 1925, in Franklin County, Iowa.  Her childhood years were spent in the Spencer, Iowa, area and raised on a farm.  Fern graduated from Spencer High School and attended Dana College in Blair, Nebraska.  She began her working career in Sioux City, Iowa, where she met and married Harold Sembach on April 1, 1951.  They moved to Spencer in 1952, where they began farming and raised three children.  Fern was active in the Bethany Lutheran Church and later Faith Lutheran Church.

    She played and taught organ and piano lessons.  Fern established her business, Fern’s Ceramics and Greenware on their farm and showcased her artistic abilities in her vendor booth at the Clay County Fair.  Upon retiring she began volunteering at the Clay County Fair helping with organizing of the canning and baked goods exhibits for many years.  Fern made several trips to Denmark to visit relatives.  She was fluent in Danish and began translating stored archives and public records for Dana College.  Her specialized talent led to the love of genealogy and helping many families with their family history.

    Fern’s grandson, Jarred Scott helped to enable her to remain in her family home for many years until she moved to Spencer where she passed away, surrounded by family on July 9, 2020, at the age of 94.

    Fern was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harold; one grandson, Adam; one brother, Earl Norgaard and wife, Phyllis; and sister-in-law, Donna Norgaard.

    Left to cherish her memory are one daughter, Tina (Mike) Polson of Dickens, IA; two sons:  Robert (Doris) Sembach of Eau Claire, WI, and James (Terri) Sembach of New London, IA; eight grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and brother, Alven Norgaard of Spencer, IA.

    She will be missed by her many relatives and friends.

Graveside Memorial Services will be held at 2:00 P.M., Friday, July 17, 2020 at North Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Spencer.
Pastor Lee Laaveg
North Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery
Spencer, Iowa

Following the Graveside Services, a luncheon will be served at her grandson Jarred's home located at 909 E. 7th Street in Spencer.


Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 7:59 AM
“My condolences to all of our family. I have so many fond memories of my time with my cousins, Aunt Fern, and Uncle Harold at their Spencer Farm. When I was a baby, Aunt Fern and Uncle Harold babysat me in Sioux City, so my mom and dad could got out. I have a favorite picture of me holding an ice cream cone on Uncle Harold's lap with Aunt Fern next to us. This pair of aunt and uncle helped shape me as a man I am sure. I have always missed seeing them more and now will just have wonderful memories. They will always be missed by me....”
- Dennis E Johns
Monday, July 20, 2020 at 8:02 AM
“Tina, Jim& Bob. I am so sorry to hear of your moms passing. You are so very lucky to have had her as a part of your lives for so long. May she Rest In Peace ”
- Jeanni Jorgensen Demers
Friday, July 17, 2020 at 8:28 AM
“Bob, Jim and Tina. My deepest sympathy. I have many awesome memories growing up, camping with your family. Your parents were real gems. May God wrap his arms around you at this time and comfort you with peace. ”
- Doug Alger
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 7:28 AM
“Jim and family,
Sending prayers for strength and comfort. So sorry for your loss.
Pat Mallory Robidoux, SHS Class of 1975”
- Pat Robidoux
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 7:28 AM
“Tina ,Bob and Jim I'm sorry for your loss of your mother. She will be missed. May God Bless you and your families. ”
- Greg Foote
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 2:05 PM
“Bob, Dee and family, so sorry to hear of your loss! May God guide you through this time. Prayers”
- Becky J Fear-Hatting
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 9:22 AM
“Bob & Dee--So sorry to hear about your Mom. I have many fond memories of learning to paint ceramics at her shop. I wish I had know sooner that she was a Danish genealogy guru. I would have loved to swap stories.”
- Sharon Jorgensen
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 9:22 AM

Fern was a wonderful, caring, Christian woman. May God wrap his loving arms around all of you; she will be missed by many”
- Linda Conlon
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 9:21 AM
“So sorry to hear about Fern. Many evenings myself and many others were at the ceramic shop. She had great ideas and always ready to help us figure something out. Thinking of her family during this time.”
- Monica Johannsen
Monday, July 13, 2020 at 2:56 PM
“Bob, Doris and family.. so sorry to hear about your mom. Our thought and prayers are with you.”
- Deb. & Dave Woodcock
Monday, July 13, 2020 at 8:41 AM
“It was an unwelcome surprise to see that Fern died. I don't know the circumstances, but I'll miss my "Danske." I enjoyed visiting with her about the Danes when we would run into her at American Classic Cafe. I'm German, but I think she tolerated me anyway! May she rest in the arms of her Savior. God rest her soul.”
- Pastor Mark Wilms
Monday, July 13, 2020 at 8:41 AM
“Fern and Harold were good friends of my parents, Oliver & Jo Smith. I remember many hours spent with my mother in Fern's pottery shop working on our "masterpieces " while Harold and my dad "talked shop!" They were wonderful people and will be missed by many. God bless your family with precious memories and the assurance that they are now truly at "home" in Heaven with their Savior and reunited with family.”
- Charlene Radcliffe
Monday, July 13, 2020 at 8:40 AM
“We were so sorry to hear of your loss our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family I have very fond memories of the good old ceramic days”
- Steve and Barb Meyer
Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 10:09 AM
“So very sorry to read about Fern. I spent many evenings with her in the ceramic shop while she taught the art of painting ceramics. We had lots of laughs. I can only imagine all the fun memories you all have. Thinking of you!”
- Donna Malmgren
Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7:53 AM
“Our sympathies to the family. Fern was a very kind person and always pleasant to visit with. ”
- Kurt and Julie Schwarck
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 7:04 PM
“Our sincerest condolences to all of you . Fern had a wonderful life . She has imprinted plenty of people's lives. I am sure she gained her wings and is dancing in the sky. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you as you go through these hard days. Know she is watching over you all.
- Della & Frank Jeffrey
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 7:03 PM
“So sorry to hear of Fern’s passing. Spent many enjoyable days at her ceramic shop. She was a Sweet lady. May God give your family peace and comfort. ”
- Dee Kilpatrick
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 7:03 PM
“My heart feels heavy as I say farvel to my kære Dansk veninde , Fern who was my 2nd bedstemor. We had so much fun doing kaffe and lunches together! Brought together thru another Dansk friend Marilyn Meyer, we spent hours translating old postcards and letters and working on my family tree geneology. She never ceased to amaze me with her smart comments and deep insight. Mange tak to Tina and Jared for sharing this special person with me. ”
- Pixie Jensen
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 2:01 PM
“Tina and Jarred, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your memories will bring you lots of comfort. Thoughts and prayers for your family. Keith, Vicki, and Erin”
- Vicki Peterson
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 2:01 PM
“To Fern's family, I so enjoyed seeing. and visiting with Fern at church.
She was so kind and upbeat about everything. I know she was met
at heaven's gates with open arms!!
And God said, "Well done good and faithful servant!! She was one of a kind!!!
Jean Oleson”
- Jean Oleson
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 2:01 PM
“Dear Bob, Dee, and family,
We are sad to read that Fern has passed away. She and Harold had a positive impact on us and were guardian angels when we had our tornado back in 1984. They graciously let us store all of our belongings on flatbed trailers in their large storage building until we could deal with it. They were great people. We crossed paths with them many times over the years with our duties with the SVFD. And of course, who could forget Fern's Ceramics? During this time of sorrow, may you always be aware of the Lord's abiding love and mercy. May many fond memories give you comfort in the days ahead. Our deepest sympathy-Tom and Mary Galik”
- Tom Galik
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 10:06 AM
“Jim, Bob, Tina and family, so sorry to hear about Aunt Fern. When I was in high school I used to go out to her ceramic shop. A life well lived.
- Linda Norgaard
Friday, July 10, 2020 at 10:06 AM
“Our prayers are being lifted for your family today. Fern and Harold were the best. Our deepest sympathies to your families.”
- Dana Anderson
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