Norma was born in Chicago, Ill. to Harry Marsh and Ottolene Bowes. She was the first of Ottolene’s two children. After her father’s death in 1930, Norma was raised by her Canadian grandmother, Belle Bowes, for four years on Manitoulin Island, Canada. Norma returned to her mother in 1934, after Ottolene married Roland Howard. Norma’s sister, Marian, joined the family, born in 1938. On Aug. 17, 1947, Norma married Robert (Bob) Gibson Smith in Chicago, Ill. After being blessed with twin girls, Gwen and Gail, their small family packed up the 1947 Chevy coupe. They removed the back seat to create a playpen for the girls and ventured westward to Medford, Ore., where Bob worked in his trained profession as upholsterer. This began a long caravan, over several decades, of Chicago relatives joining the Ore. crew, and relatives from Bob’s side of the family making the trek from Mo.
Norma cared for her twins and her third child, Sara, as a full-time mom and homemaker for much of the girls’ upbringing. She worked as the bookkeeper and business manager for the years Bob ran his own upholstery business, Bernie’s Sure-fit. Norma was known as the Griffin Creek School secretary for a short time. Her girls fondly remember Norma as being their supporter at all drama productions, choir concerts, and other school activities. Norma and Bob taught their children to have faith and to love the great outdoors through countless camping outings, fishing expeditions, and road trips. Norma and Bob picked up roots again, when Bob became ill, and settled in Cottage Grove.
Bob passed away after forty-six years of marriage. Norma married Jack Kirkpatrick and they enjoyed several full years of travel and community involvement, including Elder Hostel tours to the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales) and the southwest area of the U.S. Jack passed away after three short years of marriage.
One of Norma’s loves in life was her grandchildren: Ellie, Natalie, Lara, Colleen, and Meara. In the later years of Norma’s life, she was blessed by the arrival of great-grandchildren: River, Zoe, Jack, Wesley, Dean and Kellan. Norma had a grand surprise in store when, thinking she would be single and a widow for the remainder of her life, she met Les Moore. They married in Cottage Grove, Ore. in Feb. 15, 2003 and have spent 19 years loving each other and life in the community of Cottage Grove. Together they enjoyed time remodeling their home – Les providing his mechanical and technology skills and Norma supplying her flare for decorating. They traveled extensively in Canada, Washington, and Oregon, enjoying the beauty of the Northwest. Les lovingly cared for Norma as she approached her time to be reunited with friends and family who had passed before her.
Norma is survived by her husband, Les Moore, her three children, Gwen Mansfield of Poulsbo, Wash., Gail Murphy of Portland, and Sara Smith of Cottage Grove. Her grandchildren survive her as well, including Ellie Mansfield of Poulsbo, Wash., Natalie Mansfield of Honolulu, Lara Richardson of Hillsboro, Coleen Roulin of Happy Valley and Meara Davis of Salem. She also is survived by her sister, Marian Dreiling of Medford, great-grandchildren River Richardson, Zoe Mansfield, Jack Roulin, Wesley Roulin, Dean Roulin, and Kellan Davis. Her Canadian family, the Bowes Clan, will remember Norma fondly and always love their memories with her. She will be missed by nieces and nephews, her church family, and the Cottage Grove community.
The light of God shone at the center of Norma’s life for many decades, and her faith wove through every aspect of her days. She cultivated a life of faith, even evident in her final years, with advancing dementia, her reverence for God and joy in the love of Jesus remained bright.