Mary Bell Norman, 91, went home to be with the Lord Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, at home. Mary was born Dec. 30, 1927, in Lancaster, South Carolina, to the late Franklin Pierce and Docia Threat Bell.
She was a 1944 graduate of Lancaster High School. On July 17, 1945, she married Lowe A. Norman Jr. in Charlotte, North Carolina. She worked to support her husband, so he could graduate college and seminary. Much later in life, she completed a degree in secretarial sciences at Tidewater Community College.
In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by her daughter, Marie Elizabeth Norman; granddaughter, Autumn Sunshine Norman; daughter-in-law, Vikki Carden Norman; grandson, Dylan Lowe Norman; great-grandson, David Spisak Jr.; and eight siblings, Earl Blackmon, Pauline Williams, Eldon Blackmon, Dan Blackmon, Erma Lee Henry, Ernestine Couch, Sara Lundie and Dot Hardin.
Left to cherish her memory are her loving husband of 74 years, the Rev. Lowe A. Norman Jr. of Virginia Beach; sons, Ronald L. (Paulette) Norman of Fort Mill, South Carolina, Timothy S. (Tammy) Norman of Barhamsville, Richard F. (Vickie) Norman of Paeonian Springs and Jeffrey L. (Julie) Norman of Disputanta; grandchildren, Caleb Norman, David (Mindy) Spisak Sr., Heather Ward (Chris) Sawyer, Zachary C. (Lisa) Norman, Jessie (Mandy) Ward, Zoe A. Norman, John D. (Rebecca) Norman, Beth Anne (Paul) Norman-Driskill, Crystal Norman (Wesley) Walters and Jessica Norman (Matthew) Hall; nine great-grandchildren, Breezy Urbanek and Molly Spisak, Emily and Peyton Sawyer, Sean and Issac Norman, Dallas, Dawson and Dayson Ward, Clara, Finley and Faith Norman; Graden Hall and Stella, Wayne and Wyatt Walters; and one great-great-grandchild, Jaxtyn Holder. She also leaves behind her very special friend of 60 years, Pearl Moyers-Dean, and her husband, John, as well as her dear friend in recent years, Tiffani Mello, and her husband, Brian. She was also blessed to have a wonderful team of care providers, led by Debbie Mianulli, to care for her and her husband in their home.
Mary was a conscientious civil servant with the City of Chesapeake for three decades, serving as secretary to the Detective Bureau in the Police Department for the City of Chesapeake. She then served as a secretary to the Department of Environmental Safety until her retirement in 1992. She completed her degree at Tidewater Community College attending classes at night while working during the day.
In addition to her career, Mary was a lifelong seamstress. She loved to crochet and knit as well. She was also accomplished in arts and crafts and painted portraits as well as landscapes. She started Merry Bell’s Preschool in the Green Run Baptist Church and operated there for about 20 years. Mary enjoyed traveling with her husband and family. She and her husband had a permanent RV spot at The Anchor Baptist Campground in Currituck.
She was a member of the Red Hat Club of Virginia Beach and the Tidewater Decorative Painters Guild. The wife of a Baptist minister, she was very involved as a Sunday School and VBS teacher, and she was a Girls Auxiliary and Women’s Missionary Union leader. She served alongside her husband at Red Mountain Baptist Church in Rougemont, North Carolina; Woodville and Riverside Baptist Churches, Elizabeth City, North Carolina; Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Chesapeake; and helped found a new church, Green Run Baptist Church, Virginia Beach. In their retirement years, the Normans were active members of St. John’s Baptist Church, Virginia Beach.
Mary loved all flowers but had a special affection for roses. She also loved to entertain for family and friends and was known for her large and lavish Christmas parties.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, Oct. 28, at St. John’s Baptist Church, 2300 Holland Road, Virginia Beach, with funeral services immediately following. There will be a luncheon for friends and family in the church social hall following the service. A second service will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Camp Creek UMC in Lancaster, South Carolina, with burial following in the church cemetery. A luncheon in the church fellowship hall will follow the burial.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. John’s Baptist Church Building Fund.
Share online condolences with the family at Altmeyer Funeral Homes & Crematory.