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Norma Fitzgerald

1932 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Norma Fitzgerald Obituary
Norma Fitzgerald

Wilsonville, OR - Norma Fitzgerald passed away March 31, 2018 in Wilsonville, Ore., surrounded by her four children. Norma lived in Curry County for almost 50 years, where she taught music and elementary grades for many years and worked for decades as a top-producing New York Life Insurance agent, while operating a ranch north of Brookings on Carpenterville Road.

Born Dec. 16, 1932 in Phoenix, Ariz. to a prominent Arizona pioneer family, Norma was the daughter of Norman Hurley and Margaret "Peggy" Stokely Hurley, who was named Phoenix Woman of the Year in 1957 for her volunteer and fundraising activity. Norma was the granddaughter of P.T. Hurley, who arrived in Phoenix in 1881 at age 20 and played a key role in helping to establish water resources via the Salt River for Arizona farmers.

Growing up in Phoenix, Norma enjoyed picnics and hikes and began riding a horse at age 5 with Captain H.A.M. Mosse's Riding Academy, laying the foundation for a life of travel and adventures. Norma was very sociable and in high school she was a member of the Phoenix X Club and the Ria Club. She graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1949, and received a B.A. in elementary education from the University of Arizona in 1953, where she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Later that year Norma married Mike Fitzgerald, following his graduation from Arizona State University. After Norma's first year of teaching at Murphy School in Buckeye, Ariz., the couple started a family and relocated to Germany, where Mike served for two years as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

After having four children, Norma resumed her teaching career. She was a substitute teacher beginning in 1965 in San Diego, where her family lived for several years, and she returned to the classroom full-time for one year in Seattle, before the family settled in Curry County in 1969, where they raised sheep, cattle and timber.

Over the years Norma taught more than 1,000 children in Curry County. She taught music at Kalmiopsis School in Brookings from 1969-1972; was head teacher and principal at the Pistol River School from 1972-1974 and taught kindergarten, first and second grades again at Kalmiopsis 1974-1981. Norma took a leave of absence from teaching in 1981 to try selling life insurance, quickly becoming Agent of the Year. Norma continued to run her insurance agency for the rest of her life, becoming a permanent member of the Million Dollar Roundtable and received lifetime career honors from New York Life.

Norma was active in all the communities where she lived. She was a member of the Junior League in Phoenix and San Diego, where she also was a Girl Scout leader. In Curry County Norma was a member and president (1986) of the Brookings Soroptimist Club, Brookings Chamber of Commerce and president (1986), and as a licensed private pilot (1983) she was a member of the Brookings Flying Club. A longtime committee member of the Brookings Harbor Scholarship Foundation, Norma also was a commissioner of the Port of Brookings Harbor, served the Educational Services District (board of ESD 7, 1997-2003), and was county chair for various political campaigns.

Predeceased by her husband Mike in 1989, her brother Pat Hurley (1995) and her sister Susan Hurley DeConcini (2016), Norma is survived by her large family, many nieces and nephews and thousands of friends. Her family includes children Shannon (Ken Elam), Julie (Bob Renfro), Kate (Marshall Craig), Ted (Sharon Fitzgerald); seven grandchildren including Adam, Elliot, Garrett, Claire, Fiona, Adelaide and Seamus and five great-grandchildren including Aiden, Elle, Brynn, Carter and Mason.

Norma Fitzgerald decided years ago that no public services would be held at her passing. "I have been so honored by the hundreds of students I taught in Curry County and the thousands of friends and families I've met in my work with New York Life," she said.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, any donations made in her memory go to the Brookings Harbor Scholarship Foundation or libraries.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Apr. 8, 2018
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