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Longtime El Segundo resident Norma Keller died on 8 May 2013 after a short bout with cancer. She was 82. A native of Red Lodge, Mont., she had lived in El Segundo since 1956. She was retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District where she worked as a school nurse at several city elementary schools from 1964 until retiring in 1991. Previously she had worked as a nurse in Southern California medical centers that included Daniel Freeman and Imperial hospitals. She was a 1954 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder where she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing. She also attended UCLA; Mount St. Mary's College; Loyola Marymount University; and California State University, Long Beach. In addition to her training as a nurse, she also was credentialed to teach elementary school in California.She was born Norma Niemi on 24 March 1931 on a cattle ranch just outside of Red Lodge, Mont., to George and Alvina Niemi. She attended elementary school in a one-room school house, and often rode to school on horseback. As a small girl, she remembered falling asleep on the floor of Saturday-night barn dances that her parents and family attended. She was able to operate a horse-drawn hay rake with skill, despite considering herself a city girl since locating in California. She graduated from Carbon County High School in Red Lodge. She married Jack Keller on 9 August. 1953, and lived briefly in Montana and Texas before moving to Southern California in 1954. She lived in Hermosa Beach and Inglewood before moving to El Segundo in 1956.
She enjoyed reading, gardening, camping, and history, and had visited many of the national parks and state campgrounds in the Western U.S. She always was at her best around the campfire. An intrepid traveler, she had a life goal of setting foot on all seven continents, and achieved that in 1991 when she and her husband visited Antarctica. In recent years she had enjoyed travel on cruise liners, and on one cruise passed through the Panama Canal aboard ship.
She was a member of the El Segundo Women's Club; Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for professional women educators; the United Teachers of Los Angeles; and the California School Nurses Organization. She helped supervise voter polling places in El Segundo for several recent elections. Surviving are her husband, Jack Keller of El Segundo; her daughter, Deborah Lyons of Goleta; her son-in-law, Stephen Lyons of Goleta; her son, John Keller of Milford, N.H.; her daughter-in-law, Judith C. Keller of Milford, N.H.; her sister-in-law, Judy Niemi of Billings, Mont.; her granddaughter, Kathryn Ngari of Nashua, N.H.; her great-grandson, Jeremiah Ngari of Nashua, N.H.; her aunt, Laverna Pilati of Billings, Mont.; her niece,Christine Niemi of Billings, Mont.; and numerous cousins. She was predeceased by her two brothers, Donald and David Niemi of Montana. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Kathryn L. Kurka Children's Health Fund Inc., or to the
. She requested no funeral services, and plans for a memorial are pending. Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on May 17, 2013