Norma Lea Russell Giovannoni
June 12, 1931 - September 8, 2013
Norma Lea Russell Giovannoni, 82, of Oakdale, CA died Sunday September, 8, 2013. Services will be held on Tuesday September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am at St. Mary's Catholic Church 89 North Oak Avenue Oakdale, CA. A reception to follow at the Catholic Church facility.
Norma was born June 12, 1931 in Des Moines, Iowa to George and Savannah Georgia Russell.
Norma was a 1950 graduate of Oakdale High School. She played on the Varsity basketball and softball teams all four years while in high school. Norma was crowned Miss Modesto, Miss Peaches and Cream, and held numerous beauty pageant titles.
While supporting herself, working at Bank of America, Norma graduated from Modesto Junior College in 1954. Through persistent effort she obtained her BA degree majoring in Education from Stanislaus State. Her first teaching position was at Riverbank Cardozo Elementary School. She later transferred to La Loma Junior High in Modesto and taught Art. Norma obtained her Pupil Personnel Services Credential and became a student counselor at La Loma Junior High. She then transferred to Downey High School as a counselor. She remained at Downey High until her retirement in 1982. Upon her retirement, after 27 years in education, Norma was honored as a member of the Teacher's Hall of Fame at Downey High School.
Norma was both an accomplished and award winning artist. She sold much of her works throughout Central California and also taught various Art classes in the Oakdale area. As well as belonging to numerous Women's Organizations and Art Associations Norma volunteered her time at the Senior Citizen's Center in her community.
Norma was an avid sports fan, she enjoyed outdoor activities, she was an extensive traveler, and accomplished gambler. Norma moved to Oakdale in 1949 and met LeRoy Giovannoni at the Oakdale Plunge. After a five year courtship they were married in 1954, and were one of the first couples married in the new St. Mary's Catholic Church on Oak Avenue in Oakdale. They were blessed with two sons, Kirt and Ross. Norma and LeRoy built their home in 1957 and they resided there continuously. Norma's greatest joy involved family activities and celebrating her son's and grand children's achievements.
Norma is survived by her husband LeRoy Giovannoni; son Kirt Giovannoni and wife Lindy; son Ross Giovannoni; grandson Casey Giovannoni; granddaughter Katey Giovannoni Choate and husband Bryan Choate; wonderful family members and friends.
Norma was a 16 year liver transplant recipient and was courageous to the end.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: California Transplant Donor Network 1000 Broadway, Suite 609 Oakland, CA 94607
Published in the Modesto Bee from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, 2013