Cover photo for Norma Jean (Stewart)  Wicks's Obituary
1927 Norma 2023

Norma Jean (Stewart) Wicks

August 15, 1927 — June 11, 2023

Norma Jean Wicks (nee Stewart) was born August 15, 1927 to Flora Ernst Stewart and Robert Allen Stewart in Tecumseh, NE. Norma passed away June 11, 2023 at the age of 95. Norma attended country school for the elementary years and she graduated from Tecumseh High School in 1944 at the tender age of 16. We always thought that the most exotic thing about her high school years was that she took two years of Latin and remembered a good deal of it decades later. After graduation Norma moved to Lincoln, NE having said she was never going to marry a farmer. America was fully engaged with the World War II effort and Norma held clerical jobs that supported our government interests in addition to going to USO dances and buying a stylish fur coat.

Norma married Riley Jackson (Jack) Wicks August 21, 1948 in Long Beach, CA where he was serving with the U.S. Navy. The family moved to various military installations in the continental U.S. and overseas. Norma and the family moved to Albuquerque for Jack’s last duty station at Sandia Base in June 1962. Norma began her Civil Service career with the Department of Defense working at various bases where Jack was assigned until her retirement in the mid 1980’s. Norma and Jack maintained military and civilian friendships for decades.

After retirement Norma was a hospital volunteer for nearly 25 years. Norma and Jack traveled from the West Coast of Canada to Nova Scotia, down the Eastern seaboard to Key West and on through the Gulf area in their RV. They also traveled to numerous U.S. states for months at a time.

Norma was the eldest child and her sisters Carol, Marge and Marilyn were her best friends. It was a sight to see the four sisters all talking at once, but easily able to participate in each conversation at their yearly summer reunions. The sisters all loved to read and traded books every summer.

Norma had a wonderful smile and an engaging, memorable laugh. A work associate at KAFB once mentioned to Norma whether or not she enjoyed a movie the night before at the base theater. Norma replied that she had not seen him in the theater and he chuckled because he had not seen her either, but heard her laughter and knew she was there.

Norma is survived by her daughter, Linda Wicks, son, Michael Wicks (Laura), sister, Marge Stitt of Lincoln, NE, sister, Marilyn Nobbman and friend, Duane Johns of Syracuse, NE, cousin, Gary Ernst (Linda) of San Clemente, CA, cousin Jerry Ernst (Carolyn, deceased) of Huntington Beach, CA and nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Norma was preceded in death by Jack, her beloved husband of 50 years, her parents, Bob and Flo Stewart, her sister Carol Hutt, brother-in-law Orville Hutt, brother-in-law Harold Wicks and brother-in-law Jerry Stitt.

Eulogy

Norma Wicks was born in Tecumseh, NE on August 15, 1927. It was a town of 2,000
people and she came from a hardworking family with decent values. If you knew Norma at
all you know she was a kind, intelligent woman with a good sense of humor, a radiant smile
and a delightful laugh.
Norma had an independent streak which was evidenced by her grit to move to Lincoln,
NE after graduation from high school at 16 because she did not want to be a farmer’s wife.
Norma was very open-minded to new ideas as the world changed and progressed.
After an experience as a child in a swimming pool she overcame her fear of water by
learning to swim in her 40’s. She also decided to get her ears pierced in her 40’s or 50’s.
Norma dragged Linda to the self-service pump at a gas station decades ago to make her learn
to pump her own gas. In about the 1970’s Norma learned more about Harley-Davidson
chopper motorcycles than probably any other mother in her circle of friends. It was an
interest Mike was excited about and Norma wanted to hear all about it.
Norma met Jack Wicks in CA in 1947 where he was stationed with the U.S. Navy. They
married August 21, 1948 in Long Beach, CA and Norma had a whole new adventure seeing
more of the world and meeting people from many different places. After
becoming a parent with Linda and Mike, Norma’s mother thought she should wear house
dresses like most of the mothers of the era. Norma said “no” and stated that she was going to
wear her jeans which she did into her 90’s.
Norma wanted to be a career woman starting in the 1940’s. When Norma became a
parent she said she was a better mother by fulfilling her need to be independent in working
outside the home. Jack was very astute in choosing an independent life partner. It served
Norma well on occasions like the time Jack had a military assignment overseas and their only
contact during that time were daily letters to each other for nineteen months.
When Mike was under five he and his mother were co-conspirators at dinner time. Mike
regularly put bites of meat or vegetables in the rolled up cuffs of his jeans without his dad
ever knowing it. When dinner was over Norma said she was taking Mike for his bath. When
they got into the bathroom Norma held Mike over the toilet, and turned down the cuffs to
flush away the evidence of whatever food was there. Not a word was said and Jack was none the
wiser.
When Linda enrolled in college in the olden days students had to stand in long lines in
the gym in August. They had to stand at tables with the first letter of their last names to sign
up for each class they hoped to take. It took hours and Linda came home without buying any
of her books. When Linda said she was not going back to buy books, Norma jumped in the
car and went to the bookstore at UNM. She got some tips from other students about looking
at cheaper used books to buy first and came home hot and tired, lugging two large shopping
bags of books, but she was victorious because Linda did go to college! Norma’s parenting
style seemed to be guide when needed and redirect when necessary.
Norma and Jack were fun parents (but clearly with some military regimen sprinkled in)
because they were usually some of the youngest parents in their social crowd. When Norma
and Jack retired, they called Linda and Mike every year on their birthdays to sing “Happy
Birthday” on two telephone extensions. Norma was usually laughing too hard hearing Jack’s
“warbling” to sing too much herself, but the greeting was enjoyed by all.
Norma had her quirks and her favorite things. She called Elmer’s glue “Henry’s” for
decades. She loved to buy new bed pillows a few times a year because they “wore out”. She
had a passion for reading mysteries. She was known for her love of See’s dark chocolate,
soft-center candy and brownies. She always wore her lipstick.
In Norma’s dementia years which started December 2008, we all went on an adventure
not of our choosing. Some of it was amusing like when for a spell of time she answered every
“yes” or “no” question with “yep” or “nope” like an old cowpoke. There was also the time
she sat all night watching TV in her recliner refusing to listen to Linda telling her it was
bedtime.
Norma also went through a late-in-life glamorous phase which started in her early 80’s. It
was all about the hair styling by Mary Ann, colorful outfits, jewelry and lipsticks, but it was
something more special than it had been before so we had to call her a “hot babe” and
“babelicious” which she thought was hilarious, but clearly enjoyed hearing. Her friend Peggy
across the street who was also of a certain age told Norma that they were not senior citizens,
but senior sophisticates. That tickled both of them. One of Linda’s friends who was 85 always
said Norma could be a senior model and we laughed out loud wondering if we could corral
her into posing.
In the last couple of years during her birthday week Norma ate brownies every day with
her breakfast. She did it a couple of other random weeks since last August because why not?
The greatest gift Linda said she got from caring for Norma was to have the experience of
holding her hand; she hadn’t done it as an adult and instantly felt transported to decades in the
past where holding your mother’s hand was feeling loved and safe. Every time it was like
magic because it was so calming and cherished. Think about taking the time to hold the hand
of someone elderly you love. It might be special for you too.
Norma Wicks was born in Tecumseh, NE on August 15, 1927. It was a town of 2,000
people and she came from a hardworking family with decent values. If you knew Norma at
all you know she was a kind, intelligent woman with a good sense of humor, a radiant smile
and a delightful laugh.
Norma had an independent streak which was evidenced by her grit to move to Lincoln,
NE after graduation from high school at 16 – 'cause she did not want to be a farmer’s wife.
Norma was very open-minded to new ideas as the world changed and progressed.
After an experience as a child in a swimming pool she overcame her fear of water by
learning to swim in her 40’s. She also decided to get her ears pierced in her 40’s or 50’s.
Norma dragged Linda to the self-service pump at a gas station decades ago to make her learn
to pump her own gas. In about the 1970’s Norma learned more about Harley-Davidson
chopper motorcycles than probably any other mother in her circle of friends. It was an
interest Mike was excited about and Norma wanted to hear all about it.
Norma met Jack Wicks in CA in 1947 where he was stationed with the U.S. Navy. They
married August 21, 1948 in Long Beach, CA and Norma had a whole new adventure seeing
more of the world and meeting people from many different from many different places. After
becoming a parent with Linda and Mike, Norma’s mother thought she should wear house
dresses like most of the mothers of the era. Norma said “no” and stated that she was going to
wear her jeans which she did into her 90’s.
Norma wanted to be a career woman starting in the 1940’s. When Norma became a
parent she said she was a better mother by fulfilling her need to be independent in working
outside the home. Jack was very astute in choosing an independent life partner. It served
Norma well on occasions like the time Jack had a military assignment oversees and their only
contact during that time were daily letters to each other for nineteen months.
When Mike was under five he and his mother were co-conspirators at dinner time. Mike
regularly put bites of meat or vegetables in the rolled up cuffs of his jeans without his dad
ever knowing it; when dinner was over Norma said she was taking Mike for his bath. When
they got into the bathroom Norma held Mike over the toilet, and turned down the cuffs to
flush away the evidence of whatever was there. Not a word was said and Jack was none the
wiser.
When Linda enrolled in college in the olden days students had to stand in long lines in
the gym in August. They had to stand at tables with the first letter of their first names to sign
up for each class they hoped to take. It took hours and Linda came home without buying any
of her books. When Linda said she was not going back to buy books, Norma jumped in the
car and went to the bookstore at UNM. She got some tips from other students about looking
at cheaper used books to buy first and came home hot and tired, lugging two large shopping
bags of books, but she was victorious because Linda did go to college! Norma’s parenting
style seemed to be guide when needed and redirect when necessary.
Norma and Jack were fun parents (but clearly with some military regimen sprinkled in)
because they were usually some of the youngest parents in their social crowd. When Norma
and Jack retired, they called Linda and Mike every year on their birthdays to sing “Happy
Birthday” on two telephone extensions. Norma was usually laughing too hard hearing Jack’s
“warbling” to sing too much herself, but the greeting was enjoyed by all.
Norma had her quirks and her favorite things. She called Elmer’s glue “Henry’s” for
decades. She loved to buy new bed pillows a few times a year because they “wore out”. She
had a passion for reading mysteries. She was known for her love of See’s dark chocolate,
soft-center candy and brownies. She always wore her lipstick.
In Norma’s dementia years which started December 2008, we all went on an adventure
not of our choosing. Some of it was amusing like when for a spell of time she answered every
“yes” or “no” question with “yep” or “nope” like an old cowpoke. There was also the time
she sat all night watching TV in her recliner refusing to listen to Linda telling her it was
bedtime.
Norma also went through a late-in-life glamorous phase which started in her early 80’s. It
was all about the hair styling by Mary Ann, colorful outfits, jewelry and lipsticks, but it was
something more special than it had been before so we had to call her a “hot babe” and
“babelicious” which she thought was hilarious, but clearly enjoyed hearing. Her friend Peggy
across the street who was also of a certain age told Norma that they were not senior citizens,
but senior sophisticates. That tickled both of them. One of Linda’s friends who was 85 always
said Norma could be a senior model and we laughed out loud wondering if we could corral
her into posing.
In the last couple of years during her birthday week Norma ate brownies every day with
her breakfast. She did it a couple of other random weeks since last August because why not?
The greatest gift Linda said she got from caring for Norma was to have the experience of
holding her hand; she hadn’t done it as an adult and instantly transported to decades in the
past where holding your mother’s hand was feeling loved and safe. Every time it was like
magic because it was so calming and cherished. Think about taking the time to hold the hand
of someone elderly you love. It might be special for you too.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Norma Jean (Stewart) Wicks, please visit our flower store.

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