Norma Reynolds (1923 - 2019)

  • "I loved teaching with Norma at Hayes. She was so helpful..."
    - Ann Frederich
Obituary

Norma Reynolds

With family by her side, at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, our beloved mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt, Norma Marie Nebinger Reynolds, went home to heaven just days short of her 96th birthday. Norma was born to Margaret Anna Hartman and Richard Wayne Nebinger on May 19, 1923 in Steelton, Pennsylvania.

While in junior high school, Norma met Richard Paul Reynolds, who would become her husband on October 1, 1944, in Mt. Clemans, Michigan while he was on leave from the army during WWII. This union, which spawned a large family of seven children, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, withstood the test of time for over 73 years until Richard's death on February 18, 2018.

Norma was the valedictorian of her Steelton (PA) High School class and received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Ursinus College (PA). Initially she worked at Smith, Kline & French Pharmaceutical, but when she started a family she knew that her career had to change to one that provided similar hours as her children's. Thus began her teaching career. While raising her children and teaching first grade at Hayes Leonard Elementary School she obtained a Master of Arts Degree from Valparaiso University. She received several awards during her twenty-eight years of teaching and was beloved by the children who came under her tutelage. A running family joke was that a 30-minute shopping trip into town with her always turned into an hour because she knew so many students and their families, and she would stop to chat with any she bumped into.

Starting when her children were young, family vacations were camping trips to State and National Parks all across the country. A memorable one was a 67-day camping excursion in a station wagon to National Parks and monuments around the Southwest with her seven children, a nephew, and her elderly father-in-law. Not one to shy away from an extreme adventure she backpacked the Beartooth Wilderness of Montana and rafted the Colorado River in Arizona. In retirement, Norma and her husband continued traveling often with grandchildren in tow visiting their children who were now scattered across the country.

As evidenced by the rainbow explosion of blooms in the flowerbeds surrounding their home, Norma had a very green thumb. She also loved to read, with murder mysteries being a particular favorite. Knitting was another skill at which she flourished, with personalized Christmas stockings gracing mantles and afghans strewn across sofas of relatives throughout the U.S.. She was a prolific letter-writer to family and friends, a shoe- and purse-aholic with jewelry to match, a fan of the mighty chocolate/peanut butter combo, a provider of the best car snacks, and she threw delightfully scrumptious tailgate picnics when traveling. She loved a good tea party, always remembered birthdays, believed ice cream could solve problems, and was always up for a trip to the mall (as long as soft pretzels with cream cheese were part of the plan). But, no matter what endeavor she was involved in, her family garnered her attention and devotion.

A 2001 diagnosis of Parkinson's disease didn't slow Norma down much until the eventual onset of dementia in recent years. Her children banded together and cared for her in her home until the end as she had cared for them. Through it all, Norma was as she always was: a pillar of quiet strength, kind and loving, witty and smart, caring and generous, a selfless individual esteemed by her family. She will be sorely missed.

Predeceased by her husband and parents, Norma is survived by her sister Judy (Marlin) Moffett; seven children: Diane Reynolds (Bob Prescott) of Orleans, MA; Cindy Walker of Portage, IN; Debra (George) Regan of Superior, MT; Norma (Duane) Benage of DeMotte, IN; Janis (Bill) LaBelle of Peoria, AZ; Richard (Mary) Reynolds of Valparaiso, IN and Patricia Reynolds of Valparaiso, IN; nine grandchildren: Jeny (Marc) Neighbors of Phoenix, AZ; Kristin (Chad) Stratton of Porter, IN; Tempe Regan of Salmon, ID; Luke Regan of Missoula, MT; Justin Benage of Colorado Springs, CO; Megan Benage of New Ulm, MN; Alyssa LaBelle of Peoria, AZ; Kristifer Reynolds of Valparaiso, IN; Janson Reynolds (Brandi Lavold) of Stafford, TX; seven great-grandchildren: Skyler Lagneau, Lily Stratton, David and Devan Neighbors, Maison and Everly Reynolds, and Mikaela Lavold; and numerous nieces and nephews.

No services will be held at this time. A gathering of family and friends will be held at a later date for both she and her late husband. As a continuation of a life of giving, Norma generously donated her body to the Anatomical Education Program at Indiana University School of Medicine. This gift will contribute significantly to the advancement of health science education in the State of Indiana.

The entire family wishes to acknowledge their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the bath aides, nurses, and all the staff of VNA Hospice of Northwest Indiana who so lovingly and devotedly assisted and supported the family in the care of Norma throughout her final years. Donations in Norma's memory may be made to VNA Hospice of NWI or to a .


Published in The Times on May 15, 2019
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