Norris Hattlestad

Norris O. Hattlestad of Merrill passed away Tuesday March 29, 2022, at Pine Crest Nursing Home, Merrill. Born on May 16, 1938, in Decorah, Iowa, he was the son of the late Nels and Winifred (Thompson) Hattlestad. He received numerous awards for his athletic achievements in football, wrestling, and baseball at Decorah High School and received athletic scholarships in wrestling and football at Iowa State University. He received a BS degree at Iowa State and a master’s degree from Winona State University.

Norris wrestled four years at Iowa State, and following graduation, began teaching and coaching in Durant, Iowa. After one year there he moved to Richland Center, Wisconsin where he served as assistant football and head wrestling coach.  His Richland Center wrestlers consistently won conference championships and numerous state-wide honors over the next nine years. As a consequence, Norris was aggressively recruited to coach at several schools and chose to accept the head wrestling and assistant football position at Merrill, Wisconsin, where he served with distinction for the next ten years. There he met and married Linda Sandberg on October 8, 1982, at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.

During his years as head wrestling coach at Richland Center and Merrill, Norris’ teams won 243 dual meets while losing only 23. His teams won 13 conference championships, as well as 17 regional and 11 sectional titles. Thirty-eight of his wrestlers were place winners in the Wisconsin state wrestling tournament, and four were state champions. Fellow coaches across the state elected Norris to serve as president of the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association. The sport of wrestling was in its infancy when Norris relocated to Wisconsin in 1963; accordingly, he was frequently invited to share his knowledge and skills at coaching clinics across the state. Norris was also in high demand as a wrestling official at schools and colleges throughout the state. He was inducted into the Richland Center Athletic Hall of Fame, the Merrill Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Norris is survived by his wife, Linda Hattlestad of Merrill; daughters, Diane (Frank Canino) Goldy of Arvada, Colorado, Janet (Charlie Augello) Hattlestad of Golden, Colorado, and son, Bradley (Sandra) Hattlestad of Weston: step daughters, Lorri Weix of Merrill, and Susan (Jon) Jaeger of Merrill; eight grandchildren, Samantha Hattlestad, Gavin Hattlestad, Emmaline Hattlestad, Chloe Hattlestad, Margaret Hattlestad, Michael Goldy, Megan Goldy, and Alden Hattlestad; three step grandchildren, Sara Weix, Patrick Weix, and Mitchell Jaeger; one great-grandchild, Sterling Hattlestad; one step great-grandchild Greyson Bushar; and brother Neil (Jackie) Hattlestad of Conway, Arkansas. Norris was preceded in death by his parents, Nels and Winifred Hattlestad; sons, James ‘Jamie’ Hattlestad, Timothy Hattlestad; and Step son-in-law, John Weix.

Memorials may be directed toward the Richland Center High School Wrestling Club, the Merrill High School Wrestling Club, or the Lincoln County Humane Society. Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Merrill, is assisting the family.

Online condolences may be made at

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