Norma Jean Jackson
Norma Jean Jackson, beloved mother to four sons and their families, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on December 13 while resting at home in Freeland. She was 84.
She was born Norma Jean Perez on Sept. 3, 1931, in Arcata, Calif., the only child of George V. and Florina Perez. She grew up in northern California and graduated as valedictorian from Santa Cruz High School in 1948, then attended college at UCLA, obtaining a bachelor of arts degree in music education in 1952.
While still in college, Norma spent a summer with her parents in Venezuela, where she met a young civil engineer, Richard (“Dick”) Jackson. A lifelong love affair quickly blossomed, and after completing college the next year, she returned to Venezuela, where she and Dick were married in Caracas on July 13, 1952. They settled in Seattle where their four sons were born.
Dick’s career took the young family to Dallas in 1963 and to El Paso, Texas in 1966. They returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1977, living in Bellevue, and then in Portland, Ore. Following Dick’s retirement in 1987, they settled on Whidbey Island, living on Saratoga Road for more than 20 years before finally moving to the Maple Ridge retirement community. In 2012, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary together with numerous family and friends.
In retirement, Norma and Dick took to traveling, visiting many interesting and exotic locales through the Elderhostel program. After Dick’s passing in 2012, Norma ventured on her own to the Tuscany region of Italy, from which her maternal grandparents had emigrated over a century ago.
Norma had a great love of music, a love that was passed on to all her children. Her strong alto voice graced many a choir through most of her life, most recently at Langley United Methodist Church where she and Dick were active members. She also loved the outdoors, and remained active until the end of her life. But her favorite pastime was spending time with her children and grandchildren.
Norma was very involved in the communities where she lived, finding many outlets for her creativity and organizational skills. In El Paso, she worked as secretary for the El Paso Choir of the Southwest (later El Paso Pro Musica). In 1999, she was initiated into Chapter IF of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, where she served as Chaplain and Recording Secretary, and was a member of several committees. In recent years, she served on the board of her homeowners’ association.
She is preceded in death by her husband Dick. She is survived by her four sons and their families: Richard Jr. and Barbara of Cerritos, Calif.; Kurt and Ann and their daughters Emily and Sarah of Issaquah; David and Karen of Ellensburg and their sons Mark and Scott; and Jeff and Marla and their sons Nathan, Ethan, and Matthew of Scottsdale, Ariz.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Jan. 9 at Langley United Methodist Church, 301 Anthes Ave., Langley, WA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the music program or the endowment fund of Langley United Methodist Church.