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Norma's Story

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Norma Dene Thomas, age 90, of Centerville departed for her heavenly home Feb. 10, 2018 from Mill Pond Retirement Community and Care Center in Ankeny, Iowa. Norma Dene was born on the family farm in Exline, Iowa on Aug. 1, 1927, she is the daughter of Verl and Marvel (Withrow) Perkins.
Norma Dene attended country schools and then Exline School as a young girl. When it was time to enter high school, Norma Dene moved to Centerville with her sister Mary Lou and graduated from Centerville High School in the class of 1945. After graduating from high school, she worked for a brief time at the telephone company. She married Steve E. Thomas, Jr. on Nov. 28, 1947, and settled into her role as a homemaker. Norma Dene and Steve had two daughters together, but they later divorced and he preceded her in death on Nov. 9, 2000.
Norma Dene was an active member of the Exline Christian Church. She enjoyed reading, gardening, and cooking, but most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family. Before moving to Centerville, Norma Dene lived in Exline where she tended several gardens and canned numerous pints of various vegetables each year for her family to enjoy during the winter months. She raised several types of American Kennel Club breed dogs, and tended to several milk cows that allowed her to provide fresh milk, cream and cottage cheese for her family.
Norma Dene cared deeply for her family, her friends and her neighbors. She was always ready and willing to lend a helping hand or express her care and compassion, whether it was through a note of encouragement or a covered dish during times of bereavement or illness.
The family members left to cherish their memories of Norma Dene include her two daughters, Gail Lockridge (David) of Russell, Iowa and Sue Davis of Kissimmee, Florida; two granddaughters, Erin Johnson (Wesley) of Ames, Iowa and Amy Swigart (Chris) of State Center, Iowa; five great-grandchildren, Abigail, Lucille, and Kenneth Johnson and Joe and Mya Swigart; one sister, Donna Lee Bailey (Wendell) of Lincoln, Nebraska; and three nephews, Butch (Becky) Morrow of Centerville, Tim (Cynthe) Bailey of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Scott Bailey of Lincoln, Nebraska. She is preceded in death by her parents Verl and Marvel Perkins; her sister, Mary Lou Morrow and her nephew, David Morrow.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at the Lange Funeral Home in Centerville, Iowa with Pastor Kay Singley officiating. Interment will follow at the Zoar Cemetery in Exline. A visitation will also be held at the Lange Funeral Home on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 with the family present from 5-7 p.m. Memorials have been established to either the Zoar Cemetery Association or the Alzheimer's Association in Norma Dene's honor. Memorials may be left at or mailed to the Lange Funeral Home, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, IA 52544 or online at www.alz.org (Alzheimer's Association). Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.
Published on February 13, 2018
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