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Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Norwood-Norfolk mourns loss of elementary principal


NORFOLK - Joanne A. Bigwarfe’s Facebook page immediately began filling up with condolences as friends of the Norwood-Norfolk Elementary School principal learned of her death Tuesday night after a battle with cancer.

“I’m so sorry to hear about Joanne. After all these years, I can picture you so clearly. Such a sweet person and a beautiful soul. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. LOVE,” one person wrote.

“An amazing person, mother, educator, friend, sister, aunt, taken too early. God must have needed an angel, just wish it wasn’t you. My thoughts and heart go out to your family. We will miss you, Joanne!” another wrote.

Others shared the same sentiments, leaving messages such as, “What a wonderful soul taken way to soon!” and “My heart is so Sad for Joanne Bigwarfe I can’t help but to cry.........”

It was a somber day when students and staff returned to Norwood-Norfolk Central School on Wednesday, according to Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie, who received a call from Mrs. Bigwarfe’s family informing her of the news following a board of education workshop Tuesday night.

“Before she was our elementary principal she was also our special education administrator. She touched the lives of many young people. She was certainly an important part of our staff. Everyone is just struggling to come to terms,” Mrs. Kirnie said.

A Mass of Christian burial for Mrs. Bigwarfe, 43, of Potsdam will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday at St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam with the Rev. Msgr. Robert Aucoin celebrant.

Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Garner Funeral Service in Potsdam.

Online condolences can be sent at

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