Norma Jean Hughbanks Harvey Henslee, born September 7, 1921 in Kimball, Nebraska, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on January 29, 2016 in Bakersfield, California. This amazing and multifaceted lady lived life on her terms but God won the final argument. She was preceded in death by her father, John Wesley Hughbanks, and mother, Adah Gazelle Pierce Hughbanks, her sister, Esther Bell, her two brothers, John "Tucker" Hughbanks and Fred "Fritz" Hughbanks, and many of her close friends. She is survived by her only and much-loved daughter, Jean Henslee Fisher, and son-in-law, Charles "Chuck" Fisher, grandchildren Rakel' Fisher Sampson, Joseph Sampson, Nathanael Fisher, Emily Davis Fisher, and great-granddaughters Elizabeth and Amanda Sampson, who were the lights in her eyes. She is also survived by numerous beloved nieces and nephews in California, Oregon, Nebraska, Colorado and Australia.
Norma graduated from Nebraska State Teachers' College and taught for a very brief time before following her sister, Esther, to Bakersfield. After arriving, she worked at J. C. Penney and then, for many years, at Title Insurance and Trust Co. During this time, she also attended Bakersfield College, Fresno State Extension, Cal State Bakersfield, and San Jose State Extension to pursue her goal of returning to teaching. Her hard work was followed by 25 years of teaching elementary grades and serving as a librarian. Two of her joys were improving the library at Buena Vista School and setting up the school library at the First Assembly of God.
Becoming a librarian was a natural fit for Norma. She absolutely loved books. She particularly enjoyed the Cat Who... series by Lilian Jackson Braun. This linked up her love for both the mystery genre and felines!
However, her greatest love was in her service to her Savior. For years, she was involved in Women's Aglow, Teen Challenge Auxiliary, and especially the Thursday morning intercessory prayer group at New Life Center. She also supported various missionary works and charities. The one closest to her heart was Missionary Freda Clifton and the Seeds of Love, Inc. Angeles de Dios Children's Home.
Since October of 2013 Norma resided at Pacifica Senior Living where their loving and caring community nurtured her and gave the family more time to enjoy her until her unexpected illness on January 20. After treatment at San Joaquin Hospital she returned home under the marvelous hands of Hoffman Hospice who made her final days more comfortable for her and her family.
Service will be held at New Life Center (4201 New Stine Rd.) on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. with Internment will follow Hillcrest Memorial Park(9101 Kern Canyon Rd.) Officiating will be Pastors Doris Pennington and Lucy Cooper from New Life Center and Pastor Charles Twist of Restoration Word Fellowship.
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