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Norma Jean

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Norma Jean Obituary
Jean, Norma
91, of Nampa, Idaho passed away on November 9, 2015. Norma was born on November 28, 1923 in Huston, Idaho to Glen and Melvina Suiter. She was raised on homesteads in the Owyhee Project and graduated from Oregon's Nyssa High School in 1941. She entered college later in life, earning an Associate of Arts Degree from Glendale Community College in 1975 and studying art at Arizona State University. In 1952, Norma met her third husband, William Andrew Jean, at a leap year dance at the Adams Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. Both had grown up mostly in Idaho and they hit it off immediately. They later married and were together until his death in 2007. They lived in the greater Phoenix area until October 2006, when they moved to Melba, Idaho to be closer to their son and his family. In 1982 they bought an RV and had two decades of great enjoyment traveling around the country, especially throughout Idaho and the American West. Norma was also a world traveler, beginning in 1977 when, at the age of 53, she backpacked across Europe for two months with her 20-year-old daughter. Her favorite international trip was exploring Italy by motorhome in 1999. Norma was a woman of remarkable talent. She was an award-winning artist, dressmaker, flower arranger and gardener, as well as an avid fisherwoman, voracious reader and crossword puzzle solver (in ink). For 35 years she was active in Phoenix area garden clubs, serving as President of the Washington Garden Club from 1964-66. She also was elected President of the Valley Garden Center in the 1960's. In 1982 she edited The Classic Carrot Cookbook for 24 Carat Cooks as a fundraiser for the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs 50th Anniversary project Trees for Travelers, which placed trees and benches at Arizona highway rest stops. The cookbook sold out and provided the initial funding the project. Norma grew exhibition chrysanthemums and was a National Chrysanthemum Society judge and a National Council of Garden Clubs judge. In the late 1960's, she won a national award for editing and writing the Bulletin of the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs. In recognition of her civic leadership, Phoenix Mayor Milton Graham appointed her to the Billboard Commission. For several years in the 1970's, she served as Superintendent of the horticulture exhibit at the Arizona State Fair. Norma was fearless. In 1971 her family moved to a home in rural Peoria, Arizona and they needed more space. She took on the task of overseeing the construction of an addition, even though she had never done anything like it before. She installed the fixtures, framed and hung the doors and did all of the mudwork herself. She also was known on occasion to enjoy good dark beers and margaritas. In the 1980's she entered a McCall's Magazine sewing contest in California. She and 400 other entrants had 8 hours to complete an entire outfit. She made a lined, three-piece suit modeled by her husband and won third prize. She liked to boast that she had lived long enough to become the matriarch of the family. She was preceded in death by her husband, Andy, two brothers, Marion and Clarence Suiter, and one son, Richard Anderson. She is survived by four children, Linda Hylton of Spokane, WA, Lorri L. Jean of Hollywood, CA, William Andrew Jean, Jr. of Melba ID and Randi Jean of Nampa, ID, as well as 8 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. She was especially grateful for her beloved daughter-in-law Kim. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be made to the scholarship program of the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs. Checks may be mailed to Scholarship Program, c/o Linda Larson, 1540 W. Milagro Ave., Mesa, AZ 85202.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 15, 2015
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