Norma Jean "Norma" Thomas Schell
Our loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Norma Schell, 91, passed away on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Inverness, Florida with her daughter, Jaime, at her side.
Norma was born in Childress Texas July 24th, 1922 near the family farm, to the late William Henry Dee (W.H.D.) and the late Ruby Leona Daughtry Thomas.
She graduated from West Texas State - Canyon, Class of 1944, majoring in Art, with a minor in Geology also earning a teaching certification in education.
While in college, Norma met her future husband, Norbert Schell, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a USO tea in while he was stationed at a U.S. Army Air Corp base in West Texas.
Following graduation from Canyon, Norma enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Norma and Norbert were married in uniform, September 25th 1944. The wedding took place in Raleigh North Carolina, in the Catholic Bishop's Chapel.
After the war, Norma and Norbert lived in Milwaukee briefly until they moved to Menominee WI where Norbert attended Stout State College. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Stout in Industrial Arts, using his GI Bill benefits.
In 1950, the family moved to Hartford, Wisconsin where Norbert taught at the high school and Norma was well known for the artwork she did for the nuns, school and St. Killian Parish.
In 1964, when the family moved to West Allis, Norma then started her teaching career at Tess Corners Elementary School, in the Muskego-Norway School District, teaching 4th and 5th grades.
After moving to Sheboygan, in 1968, Norma taught 5th grade for a number of years in Howards Grove, retiring from Northview Elementary School. Over the years since retiring, Norma recalled fondly the faculty and staff of Northview, especially fellow 5th grade teacher, the late Elmer Koppelmann.
Norbert and Norma also built the family home on Lake Michigan at the end of Orchard Beach Road. This property is now part of the Christopher Gardens.
In retirement, Norbert and Norma traveled the country in their motor home, as well as taking historical tours and classes in Europe, especially in Poland through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Norma called herself 'Polish by Marriage,' and admired the Polish people and loved the country. She sent 9 of her grandchildren to study at the Catholic University at Lublin-Poland through the UW-Milwaukee program.
Always an artist and gardener at heart, Norma was a former member of the Kettle Karvers, many doll clubs, several art groups and SCARTA. She will be remembered for her woodcarvings, cement sculptures, watercolor paintings, needle sculptures - many of which she donated to local charity events, especially Sheboygan Service Club, SPEF and Pigeon River PTA.
She loved gardening, often saying 'a person could not have too many flowers or enough trees'. Her English cottage style gardens on Highland Terrace in Sheboygan and Milwaukee as well as her native plant garden in Florida often attracted walkers and fellow gardeners to see what was blooming.
After Norbert's passing in 1995, Norma served annually with Global Volunteers on teams in Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Ireland, Ecuador, Peru, St Lucia, Crete and Hungary, many times taking family members with her.
Starting in 1995, Norma spent the winters at her second home, The Woodland Lutheran Camp, Montverde Florida, where she made many good friends, especially Nancy Houde, and found a loving and supportive community. After the Woodlands closed, she moved with many of her friends to Red Oaks in Bushnell Florida.
Norma is survived by: daughter - Jan (William James) Tighe of Pulaski, New York and their children, Thomas (Alyson) their children Luke and Nora of Pulaski, NY; Katie (Justin) Frontuto of Elmira, NY; Erin (Jeff) Tyo of Syracuse, NY; and Rachel (Andre) Norris of Syracuse, NY;
Daughter - Jody (Robert) Goswitz of Hartland WI, and their children Robert of Minneapolis, MN and Andrea of Fort Atkinson, WI; daughter - Jaime (Dr. James) Hanson of Milwaukee and their children Tyler (Erica) of New Haven, CT; Evan (Angela) of De Pere, WI; and Alex (girlfriend, Holly) of Denmark, WI; daughter - Jacqueline (Dr. Terry) Radtke and son Richard all of Milwaukee;
Grandson - Samuel Thomas Schell-Olsen of Cape Cod/Dayton Ohio; Daughter-in-law Pauline Schell, and her children, Dustin Schell, Matthew Schell, Rosemary (Benedict Jiskra) and their children - Lucy and Jack, all of Cumberland, Wisconsin.
Norma is further survived by her younger sister, Nelda (the late Plez) Abney of Odessa TX and her son Gary; brother-in-law Ray (the late Dorothy) Schell of Largo, Florida and their children, Kathy Georgeson, Ellen Weidner, Ken Schell and William (Bill) Schell and their families. Norma is further survived by nieces Linnis Russell, Carol Paradowski, Jane Bishop and Donna Thompson, nephew Randy Gess and their families.
Preceded in death by her loving husband Norbert; son, Tim O. Schell; son, Thomas Michael Schell and his wife Cindy; her parents W.H.D. and Ruby Thomas; and brother Wayne Wright Thomas and his wife Maxine; brother Glenn Daughtry Thomas and his wife Maxine; parents-in-law Bill and Gertrude Schell; sister-in-law Adeline and her husband Wilbur Gess; sister-in-law Dorothy Schell; brother-in-law Plez Abney; niece Gayle Abney Watkins.
Services will be held at St. Clements Parish 707 North 6th Street, Sheboygan Wisconsin on May 31st, 2014. Visitation will be at the church from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. A Memorial Mass will be at 1:30pm. Graveside services will be held following the Mass at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the following charities that Norma supported or enjoyed on a regular basis would be meaningful and appreciated:
St. Lawrence Parish, Golden Agers Club, 320 Dade Ave, Bushnell FL 33513;
Global Volunteers, 375 East Little Canada Road, St. Paul, MN 55117-1628;
Smile Train, PO Box 96231 Washington, D.C. 20090-6231;
Bookworm Gardens, 1415 Campus Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081
Unbound, (formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging) One Elmwood Ave. Kansas City, KS 66103
Mother had two sayings she often repeated. Later in life, she always said: 'Keep Moving!'
In addition, as a team member with Global Volunteers for many years, her thought of the day was always from the Christopher Motto -
'It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.'
Zimmer Westview Funeral Home
W2132 Garton Road Sheboygan, WI 53081
Published in Sheboygan Press from May 25 to May 31, 2014