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December 14, 1921 - January 16, 2014
Norma Ferrari was the only child of Oliver and Mary Ferrari. The family business, Ferrari's Gardens, provided vegetables and plants to residents of Des Moines, IA for many years. During her high school years she became a protegee of Des Moines' legendary music teacher Cornelia Williams Hurlbut, aunt of the singer Andy Williams. On the recommendation of Mrs. Hurlbut she was offered a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music in New York City but elected not to enroll. Instead she married Ralph Bliquez in April 1940; soon they became parents to Larry in 1941, to Terry in 1943, and to Ralph, Jr. in 1944. The Second World War brought Norma out to San Francisco where Ralph had been stationed while serving in the US Navy. In 1946, the couple returned to Des Moines but was obliged in June of 1948 to remove their asthmatic sons to the more healthful climate of Phoenix, AZ. Once her boys were grown, Norma attended Lamson Business College, and this opened the way to jobs in the Phoenix Public School District where, through the 1960's, she served as secretary to the principles of Carl Hayden and Camelback high schools. Bitten by the political bug, she migrated to the Arizona
State Legislature where she served on the staffs of several state representatives and, upon her and Ralph's return to Des Moines in 1972, she again found employment in the Iowa
State Legislature on the staffs of two Iowa lawmakers. Her last job was with the Meredith Publishing Company during which she was diagnosed with, and survived, breast cancer. Norma and Ralph (who passed on in 2007) spent their final years at the Village of the Incarnate Word Retirement Center, San Antonio, TX. It was at Incarnate Word Retirement Center where Norma spent many years as their resident ambassador, a position she thoroughly enjoyed. The family wishes to extend special thanks to the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and to the Staff of Incarnate Word Extended Care. In addition to her sons, Norma is survived by her three daughters-in-law, Patricia (Larry), Kathleen (Terry), and Karen (Ralph Jr.); sister-in-law, Anne Welter; grandchildren, Kimberly, Elizabeth, Andrew, Emily, Rebecca, and Alice; great-grandchildren, Presley, Cayden, Porter, Zev, Beatrix, and Enzo. She will lie in rest at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery with her husband, Ralph. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sky Cross, 7302 Putter Lane, San Antonio, TX, 78244, or to Village of Incarnate Word, 4707 Broadway, San Antonio, TX, 78209. Condolences may be sent to the Bliquez family at www.theangelusfuneralhome.com. Arrangements by:
Published in Express-News on Jan. 23, 2014