Alrita Ornes

January 7, 1935 — April 10, 2024


   NORWALK - Alrita Ornes, 89 of Norwalk, WI, passed away peacefully at the Morrow Memorial Home in Sparta, WI on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

   Born on January 7, 1935, in the quaint town of Dell, Wisconsin, to William and Loretta (Brueggen) Laufenberg.  She graduated from Wilton High School in May of 1953.  Four months later, she married the handsome boy she met at a wedding dance, Gordon Ornes.   They were united in Holy Matrimony September 2, 1953, at St. John the Baptist Church in Wilton, WI.

   Her early years were spent in the heart of Wisconsin, where she developed a strong work ethic and diverse skill set. Alrita managed the “Trail Cafe” in Norwalk from 1970-1972, later taking on a variety of jobs. Her professional journey was as eclectic as her interests, and she approached every task with dedication and enthusiasm.

   Alrita was not only a hard worker but also a passionate advocate for her community. Her tireless efforts were instrumental in launching the recycling program in Monroe County, where she remained active for many years. Her leadership skills shone brightly as she was a founding member of both a Lioness group and a Garden Club in Norwalk, bringing people together for the betterment of their environment and community.

   Her faith was an integral part of her life, as evidenced by her active participation in the St. Augustine Catholic Church PCCW. Serving for over two decades as the Monroe County Fair Superintendent for flowers and houseplants, Alrita’s green thumb was legendary. Her garden was a testament to her love for the earth, brimming with tomato plants, and many other vegetables, and she was particularly fond of her beloved African violets. The rocks she collected from her travels lovingly adorned her flower beds at home.

   Alrita’s interests extended beyond gardening to the simple joys of fishing, where her husband, Gordon, would delight in cooking what SHE caught. Together, they shared a love for camping and traversed the United States, creating a tapestry of memories. Alrita took great pride in making lefse, a tradition she passed down to the next generation.

   Alrita is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, John and Barb Ornes of Norwalk; grandchildren, Matthew (Diana) Ornes of Sparta, and Timothy (Sam) Ornes, of Norwalk, WI; great-grandchildren, Kennedy, Lailah, Vanessa, Elliott, Josie, and Lena; great-great grandchildren, Porter and Maevis; sister and brother, Jane (Jerry) Darling of La Crescent, MN and Roger Laufenberg of Janesville; along with many nieces nephews, other relatives and dear friends.

   Alrita was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon in 2018; her parents; a grandson, Paul Daniel Ornes; and sister-in-law, Debra Laufenberg.

   A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, April 19, 2024, 12:00 p.m. (Noon), at the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Norwalk, WI.  Father Matthew Bowe will officiate.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.  Family and friends are invited for visitation at the church on Friday, April 19, beginning with a rosary at 10:00 a.m. and visitation will follow until 12:00 p.m.

   The Torkelson Funeral Home of Sparta, WI is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences may be offered at

Torkelson Funeral Home