When Norma Jean was called home on October 11, 2019, we lost an incredible light here on earth.
Norma was born to Lydia and Eldon Brainard on December 3, 1936, in Woodland, Illinois. She spoke of being a young girl, living on a dusty farm. I can just picture little Norma watching her mother wash clothes in an old washtub/wringer, digging in the dirt looking for leftover remnants of the covered wagon days, and playing with her beloved dog Teddy.
She was a fierce family advocate and selflessly gave up a career in dental hygienics to be a housewife and mother. Norma, the ultimate social butterfly, never knew a stranger. She was perfectly content to sit on a bench at Walmart and wait for me to do the shopping. Upon finishing I would see her deep in conversation with anyone that happened to sit next to her, and when we got to the car, she would recite the entire conversation, always finishing with, “Isn’t that interesting?” She had passion for music, and we would exchange songs that had meaningful words or melodies, songs that touched us and make us either laugh or cry together depending on the day. She also had an intense love for pretty things, be it flowers, good china or clothes, and Goodwill was her favorite hobby for these treasures.
Norma had an unshakeable faith. I would ask my mom to talk to God on my behalf when I hit a rough patch, and she would always say, “You are on my prayer list.” Funny, I always thought that was an expression, but one day, as I was sorting through her things, there it was … the list of people she was praying for — and indeed it was very long!
I will miss her beautiful smile, sunny disposition and our long talks. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to have her for a long while. I love you, Mom. Rest in peace until we meet again.
Norma is survived by her brother Chuck Brainard, her daughter Carol Hayward, and her son Mike Hayward. She was also blessed with three grandchildren, Tara, Michael and Lindsay Kaye, as well as a great-grandchild, Liam.
She will be honored at the Hermiston Cemetery with a private family burial.
Please share memories of Norma with her family at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon, is in charge of arrangements.