Mary Ellen Gleason Normoyle
May 18, 1920 ~ July 5, 2013
Mary Ellen Gleason Normoyle, age 93, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 5th at the St. Joseph's Nursing Home, Catonsville, MD.
Mary Ellen was born May 18, 1920, in Boise, Idaho, the daughter of Thomas and Hattie Gleason. She grew up in Boise and graduated from Idaho State University with a two year certificate in business. Prior to World War II, she worked as a secretary and ski model in Sun Valley, Idaho. As Japanese forces were invading the Aleutian Islands, Mary Ellen sailed to Sitka, Alaska on a wooden hulled ship to begin working as a secretary for the U.S. Navy. After the war, she was hired by Andre De Toth, a movie producer, first in Sun Valley and later at studios in Hollywood, CA. Mary Ellen told friends and family that she got the job because she could take shorthand while riding on horseback as crews filmed Ramrod, a cowboy movie.
In the late 1940s, Mary Ellen accepted employment in Hawaii where, on a blind date, she met the gallant and dashing Navy pilot, Robert (Bob) Harding Normoyle. A few months later, they were married at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Honolulu. The young couple provided six wonderful children to the post-war baby boom. At first the family lived in Honolulu and then moved to Boise, ID; Frankfurt, Germany; Kansas City, MO and finally McLean, VA. Mary Ellen kept busy caring for their six children. She also taught business in the Fairfax County Public Schools, sponsored the Future Business Leaders of America, and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a master's degree from George Mason University. In 1979, she retired from teaching, and Mary Ellen and Bob moved to Ocean Pines, MD.
In retirement, Mary Ellen remained active. She was a church organist at two Catholic parishes and was energetic in numerous charitable organizations. She loved to travel the world. Mary Ellen and Bob were often spotted on the tennis courts and golf courses in the Ocean Pines keeping fit. In 2000, they moved to Charlestown Senior Living Community outside Baltimore, MD and made many new friends while enjoying being closer to their children and grandchildren. Both Mary Ellen and Bob continued their community service until Bob passed in 2005. In 2010, Mary Ellen moved to the St. Joseph Nursing Home in Catonsville, MD.
Mary Ellen was always very proud of the fact that she shared the same birthday as Pope John Paul II. It is a happy coincidence that John Paul was cleared for sainthood on the same day that Mary Ellen passed into heaven. The family wonders if she had some kind of heavenly influence on the Vatican's decision.
Mary Ellen is predeceased by her husband of 56 years and survived by her sons Tom of Salem, OR; Rick and his wife Linda of Poolesville, MD; and Robert and his wife Michele of Dickerson, MD; and daughters Nancy Rischard and her husband Paul of Springfield, VA; Patsy Nyman of Columbia, MD and Rosemary of Alexandria, VA. In addition, she is survived by thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The family is eternally grateful to the sisters and staff of St. Joseph's Nursing Home for the immeasurable love and care they gave Mary Ellen each day of her three-year stay.
Services were held at St. Joseph's Nursing Home in Catonsville, MD on Monday, July 8th. Burial was at the Crownsville Veteran's Cemetery in Maryland. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Joseph's Nursing Home.
Published in Idaho Statesman on July 26, 2013