Norma Mildred Speers Durkee Williamston Born July 22, 1919, passed away on October 16, 2013 at the age of 94. A friend to many still living and to many who have gone before, near and far. Norma would wryly say she was only related by marriage to her best friend and light of her life, husband Maurice Lafayette Durkee. They were sunshine for one another for their 72 ½ years of marriage, having and holding for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, loving and cherishing to death's door. She was cherished in life and cared for in the last journey by son Alan (Karen) of East Lansing; daughters, Marilyn (Larry d. 2003) of Detroit and Adele (Gordon) of Peterborough, Ontario. Norma followed with love, daily prayer and annual birthday cards the unfolding lives of grandchildren Aaron (Vonda), Jarrod (Sara), Alycia (Josh), Erica (John), Rachelle (Scott), Elisabeth (Rick) and Jessica (Matt). To the end she was delighted by her great-grandchildren Madison, Adan and Ella. An only child, Norma was preceded in the journey to life after life by beloved father Joseph Milo Speers and mother Olive Maria Carver Speers. She was the fifth Speers generation on Rowley Road, Locke Township, and attended Rowley School and Williamston High School where she played on the girls' basketball team. After graduating from Lansing Business College, Norma worked at Oldsmobile in Lansing during World War II until the birth of son Alan. After the births of Marilyn and Adele, she returned to higher education as a mature student and received a B.A. Ed. from Michigan State University. From 1957-1979 Mrs. Durkee taught Grade 6 at Williamston Elementary and Middle Schools. As retirees, Norma and Maurice lived November-April, 1979-2011, in Palmetto, Florida, enjoying visits from family and friends, and "playing" with a new circle of friends. They travelled extensively in their younger years within the United States and Canada, and in retirement travelled throughout the world, with highlights in China, Liberia and Malaysia. Norma was a lifelong member of Rowley Wesleyan Church, exercising her gifts of teaching and administration as a Sunday School teacher and treasurer. She learned friendship from Jesus and offered kind and generous hospitality to many who became friends. What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2013, 2:00 p.m. at Rowley Wesleyan Church, 3720 Rowley Rd, Williamston with the Pastor Les Kephart officiating. The family will receive friends on Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 205 E. Middle St, Williamston and one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorial contributions may be made in Norma's memory to the Rowley Wesleyan Church Building Fund, 3720 Rowley Rd, Williamston, MI 48895 or World Vision, PO Box 9716, Federal Way, VA 98063. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.grwilliamston.com.
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Published in Lansing State Journal on Oct. 17, 2013