Norma Jean Nelson
When nine years old, she endured a severe case of rheumatic fever and had to lay flat on her back for three months, not even able to feed herself. The doctor didn't expect her to live. Despite her illness, she loved to play softball, and could catch anything she could touch. She was chosen by the coach to play first base, but was not allowed to stay on the team because of her rheumatic fever.
She loved animals, and adopted stray dogs and many barn and house cats over the years. When in grade school, she joined the Calf Club -- the only girl at that time to do so -- and had a beautiful little Jersey calf named Daisy. Norma used to sit down in the pasture where Daisy was and the calf would put its head in her lap. Throughout her life, she enjoyed the challenges of farming.She believed that happiness is "a state of being not unhappy," and said that the belief did her well to the very end, and that -- for the most part -- she was a happy person. Music was a large part of her life. Norma enjoyed the music of the 1940s and 1950s and old hymns and gospel music. She could whistle well, doing so at times in public. She also played the guitar and ukulele.
Norma worked in retail for several businesses in Newberg, and for a short time at Willamette Industries, becoming the first woman to work on the floor rather than in the office. Most important to her, however, was her work as a freelance artist and graphic designer throughout her life. She produced work for Willamette Industries and a number of local firms. In addition, her work appeared in national magazines on cycling, including Dirt Bike Magazine and Cycle World. She said that she was, however, frustrated as an illustrator, and would like to have illustrated books and magazine articles. She especially loved to draw people.
Norma Nelson had no children of her own, but loved and enjoyed her niece and three nephews. She leaves many friends and relatives behind, and is survived by her sister, Betty Wall, Betty's children, Lon Wall, Shawn Wall, Brent Wall, and Kent Wall and other relatives in the area. She was a member of the Fine Arts Committee of the West Chehalem Friends Church for many years. She died July 7, 2019, on the Nelson family farm outside of Newberg.A service will be held at 3:00pm on Thursday, August 8, at: West Chehalem Friends Church, 16700 NE North Valley Road, Newberg, Oregon 97132