Norma Ellen (Butt) Smoke of Portage, MI.
Norma passed away in the early afternoon of January 25, 2024, in Portage, Michigan, at the age of 98. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, on August 10, 1925, and was the first of five children born to Gordon Ranson Butt and Lena May (Reynard) Butt. Norma was married to Donald Smoke for 67 wonderful years, before he passed away in 2014. She is survived by their two children, Stephen (Margaret) Smoke, and Sharon (Dennis) Kelly; three grandchildren, Meghan (Michael) Mielcarek, Dr. Jarod (Irma) Kelly, Erin (Sean) Carpenter; and three great grandchildren, Brooklynn and Bryce Carpenter, and Tyler Mielcarek. Norma is also survived by her sister, Delores Sandine.
Throughout her life, Norma was devoted to her family. Her father passed away when she was 12 and she helped raise her siblings while her mother worked to support the family. She was very close to her mother, two sisters (Janice and Delores), two brothers (Ronnie and Eddie), and their families.
Norma was thrilled to be a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She took every opportunity to read to the children when they were young and taught them everything from the alphabet to math problems.
Norma started her teaching career as a cadet teacher in Clyde, Ohio. Since she was a cadet and not a certified teacher, she attended classes during the school year and in the summer, until she earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University. During this period, she taught full time and was a full-time wife and mother. In 1969 Norma and Don moved to Huron, Ohio, where she taught for 17 years until she retired. Her true passion, besides her family, was teaching. Her students loved her, often approaching her in restaurants and in stores, thanking her for what she did for them. Norma taught mainly middle school and enjoyed that age group. She loved teaching because of the students and every day was different.
Norma and Don lived in Huron, Ohio, for 37 years just a long stone's throw from Lake Erie. Those were wonderful years and included many walks on the beach and fun times spent with family and friends. Her grandchildren often vacationed there. During the summer, they would stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a week, and they cherish those summers to this day.
In 2006 Norma and Don moved to Kalamazoo to be closer to their daughter and son-in-law, whom they were able to see several times a week. When the grandkids came home for a visit, they always saw Grandma and Grandpa, who were like second parents to them.
Although she was loved by many, no one loved Norma more than her husband Don.
As her family, we know that Mom loved us unconditionally. Because we live forever in the hearts of the ones we love, so too will Mom live on in our hearts. And we will miss her every day.
Norma was also a member of Portage United Church of Christ.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 12:00pm at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services 411 E Centre Ave. Portage, MI 49002. The family will receive friends on Saturday, beginning at 11:00 am. Interment will follow at Genessee Prairie Cemetery. To view Norma's personalized webpage, please visit https://www.langelands.com