Norma Jean Bedell Jennings
June 23, 1927 to April 28, 2019
That smile. That's what it was. She always had a smile. Roald Dahl said, "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." And she did. Norma Jean Bedell or "Nimmie" was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a child she loved to dance and sing and occasionally performed with her older sister, Colleen. Nimmie attended Franklin High School and it was there that she met the man who would be the love of her life, Grant Jennings, but she just didn't know it yet! During high school Grant was "in line" with many male suiters who desired Nimmie's attention. One story has Grant calling Nimmie at home and suspecting she may be entertaining another admirer, asks her to listen to his sister practice the piano while he runs nearly a mile to catch a glimpse of the culprit in Nimmie's living room! Some rapping on the window was enough to scare the young suitor away! Although true love in high school would remain elusive, the fact that Nimmie was voted most beautiful and popular and Grant most handsome and athletic should have been an indication. Nimmie went on to the University of Iowa where she was president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and Grant was a Beta Theta Pi. These were wonderful years in which they developed lifelong friendships and shared many happy memories. After graduating with a degree in journalism, Nimmie ventured to San Francisco where she worked in advertising for BBD&O. While Grant was working in Kansas City, Mo., he would write an impassioned letter insisting he didn't care if they got married in a "church, synagogue or temple," they were meant to be together! The arrow was true to its aim and on Dec. 12, 1952, Nimmie and Grant were married in San Francisco at Grace Cathedral, then honeymooned in Carmel. After a short stint in Kansas City, where daughter Candace was born, they relocated to Carmel where Grant went to work for Equitable Life Assurance Co. Two more children were born, Bradley and Julia, and Nimmie created the ideal home and enjoyed perfecting healthy dishes before they were trendy. The family moved to Menlo Park, Calif. as Grant's career took off and then to Lake Oswego, Ore. to manage the Equitable Life office in Portland. Nimmie quickly became active in Welcome Wagon, Christ Episcopal Church, bridge clubs, Country Gardens Club, gourmet group and the club which would dominate their social calendar for the next 40 years, Oswego Lake Country Club. Nimmie became an avid golfer and bridge player and was elected president of the Women's Board. Nimmie and
Grant had several articles written in the Lake Oswego Review about their love of entertaining and their talents in the kitchen. They adored people and wanted to create a warm environment for friends to gather. Nimmie loved a party, she loved music and she loved Grant. The world seemed to stop when all three came together on the dance floor – hand in hand, both singing the big band songs they enjoyed so much. They were admired by all who witnessed their amazing 73 year love story, a love that transcends this world. Nimmie is survived by her children Candace Jennings (Gil Rodriguez), Lake Oswego; Brad Jennings (Renee) and daughter Nicole, Campbell, Calif.; and Julia Jennings Hall (John), and children Carson (Kendall) Hall and Courtney Hall, Portland. She was preceded in death by her husband, Grant Jennings and her sister, Colleen McNeal. She was blessed with several caregivers who cared for her with love; words cannot express our profound appreciation. A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2019, at Christ Episcopal Church, 1060 Chandler Road in Lake Oswego. Remembrances may be given to the Lakewood Center for the Arts Endowment Fund in Lake Oswego.