Saturday, April 18, 2015
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Bronson Children's Hospital c/o Bronson Foundation
301 John Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Truly one of a kind, Norma Clinard lived life fully and completely at every opportunity, and then some. She was an extremely passionate woman about everything she did, and the people she loved. When Norma put her mind to something, there was no turning back. She gave life her all, and especially to the family she adored. Always caring, loving and supportive to those who came to know and love her, Norma leaves a multitude of memories to be fondly remembered for years to come.
In 1935, life was greatly defined by the trials of the Great Depression. Throughout these tumultuous times, Americans forged on with lasting hope, re-electing President Franklin Roosevelt to a second term. While Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced their way into the hearts of many, Benny Goodman introduced the ever popular, Swing. Born on September 22, 1935 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Norma was the fourth of eventually five children in her family. They made their home in Kalamazoo’s Edison neighborhood where Norma enjoyed a childhood typical of the times. She attended the local schools, and often roller skated in the celery flats and went bowling with friends. While in high school, Norma worked as a nanny for the Todd family.
Life as Norma knew it forever changed on a trip to Plainwell to go roller skating where she met a handsome young man by the name of Jerry Clinard. Although he often teased that Norma tripped him, the two were smitten from the start. Through the rest of Norma’s high school years and after she graduated from Central High School, their relationship blossomed to include love. On May 20, 1955, Norma and Jerry were happily married in Kalamazoo and enjoyed a memorable honeymoon at Niagara Falls.
Jerry supported his new bride as a tool and die maker. He worked as a machinist at National Waterlift, and also farmed. Although a city girl, Norma stood by the farm boy she so loved. For a time she worked in banking until they moved to Jerry’s family farm in Alamo. It took some time and adjustments, but Norma adapted well to her new surroundings. She learned to love life on the farm, and it gave her no choice but to learn how to drive because in the city, she easily walked or took the bus. Jerry was quite a handy fellow, and before long built their forever home on their property, which in time came to include 80 acres.
Norma and Jerry were eager to begin a family of their own. In time their home was bustling with the activity of five wonderful daughters. Priscilla, Penny, Pam, Paula, and Patty were an extension of Norma and Jerry’s love. Norma loved being involved in the lives of her girls. She made a good home for Jerry and the kids, and was a wonderful cook. Norma also helped Jerry on the farm, especially on the weekends when they took the pigs to the market. Many stories were shared over the years from their many adventures traveling with pigs! At one point, Norma took in a pig "pumpkin" and the little thing followed her everywhere!
Treasured memories continue to be counted of shared holidays, and Norma loved decorating for the holidays. As a family they enjoyed fun times at Mill Lake in Gobles. One time Norma even tried waterskiing, but didn't let go while underwater. Never considered a good swimmer, she nearly drowned as a kid. Alamo was a close knit farming community, and along with their neighbors, often helped each other out. After completing big jobs like harvesting the corn, they always celebrated with a big food fest where great times were enjoyed by all.
After the girls were grown, Norma went back to work. For a while she hosted at Fricano’s, before getting a job at Michigan Cottage Cheese, now known as Bernea Foods. Later she began working in the office at Seelye Ford, Brundage Roofing and Top Value Muffler. Norma also taught 4-H, and after retirement served as a volunteer for bingo at Alamo Nursing Home. She especially loved volunteering at Bronson Hospital where she rocked the babies in NICU. Norma was always known for her love of babies.
In time, Norma and Jerry were able to enjoy some traveling. When they made trips out to Las Vegas, they enjoyed visiting the Hoover Dam, and did so each time they went. They started going to Branson, Missouri to take in the shows and casinos, and they loved playing blackjack and the slots in Biloxi, Mississippi. When Norma’s beloved Jerry died in a tragic farming accident, Norma’s strength and perseverance was an inspiration. She continued her love of travel, and began traveling to destinations such as Italy, Paris, France, Ireland, Switzerland, and London. Next month she was to leave on a trip to New Orleans, as well as to visit her sister.
Whether on a trip, going shopping with friends or simply running to the store, Norma was always particular about appearance. From her make-up to her impeccable dress, Norma’s lips and eyebrows were always done before she went out. She even had a weekly appointment to get her hair done. In her free time, Norma loved reading romance novels and passed this pastime on to her daughters. When it came to music, she liked Andy Williams and country music, and just recently saw the Oak Ridge Boys perform. But shopping was Norma’s passion. A “professional shopper”, Norma knew how to get a good deal. Whenever she traveled, she brought back several or more treasures from her excursions.
Life was certainly an adventure for Norma. She would try just about anything once, even hot air ballooning and parasailing. She was afraid of heights, but that didn’t stop her; she didn’t like tequila either, but loved a good margarita! Tuesday night was margarita night, and just about every night was girl’s night out! Norma had a great sense of humor and was always willing to participate in party events. She loved organizing and attending events large or small to celebrate or just be together.
Following her husband’s death, Norma never wanted to miss out on anything, and simply stating she was outgoing and fun-loving is an understatement. In fact, a standing joke in the family was to get on her calendar! Norma went to the gym three times week, participated in many area social events, was part of a Bunco group, and was a member of the Red Hat Society for a while. She loved movies and theater, and was very caring toward her community. She recently became involved with local township politics.
Norma absolutely loved spending time with her grandkids and was a great “snow-day” grandma. She taught them all the card games she knew, and always had a large pot of their favorite goulash ready for their visits. She also loved attending all of their school activities and sporting events, never missing one. Norma loved her Detroit Tigers, and had a clear understanding of the game. She learned about other sports, too, and kept up on the latest trends which made for engaging conversations with the kids. She loved texting and keeping in contact with her grandchildren, as well. With three grandsons in the military, she was particularly proud of their endeavors.
In every sense, Norma was the infallible matriarch of her family. She never judged, and was all encompassing to their needs. She was caring and kind, and gracious in every way. Through her supportive nature, Norma was the rock for which her family could depend. Her loving heart and inner strength saw her family through the tough times in life. Deeply missed and never to be forgotten, the heart of Norma lives on through the love of family and the many memories she made along life’s way.
Norma Clinard, age 79, of Kalamazoo, died unexpectedly on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry Clinard in 1998; grandson, Michael Campbell, and by three siblings. Members of her family include her five daughters: Priscilla (Tony) LoBretto, Penny (Tom) vanRavensway, Pam (Scott) Campbell, Paula Hillsburg and Patty (Ronald) Asma; 12 grandchildren; a great-grandson; sister, Cora; sister-in-law, Bernie Clinard; many nieces and nephews.
Visit with Norma’s family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 2-5 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 375-2900 where services will be held Sunday at 1:00 PM. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center. Burial in Alamo Center Cemetery. Please visit Norma’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Bronson Children’s Hospital, c/o Bronson Foundation or to a charity of one’s choice.