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On November 8, 2023, Miss Norma slipped out of her earthly bonds and was gathered by her people with rejoicing.
Norma Jeanne Dryce was born November 6, 1928, to Thomas Dreihs and Beatrice (Lufkin) in Cambridge Massachusettes. Her father legally changed the spelling of their surname to Dryce. They lived all over the country, mostly the East Coast and the West Coast as her father followed available employment. He was an architect, artist and salesman. Her mother was a writer.
Norma graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1946, excelling in grammatical expression, spelling and art. Although she wanted to be an artist, her parents felt secretarial work would be a more secure occupation. She took a general accounting course as well as a summer jobs with Booker Associates, Inc secretarial practices. Over the years she worked for Georgetown University, Treasury Department Bureau of Customs, US Army Materiel Command Survey Department, Congress of Industrial Organizations labor union, Pentagon-Department of Defense Policy Division, World Bank as secretary to the Bangladesh Ambassador, James Madison University Memorial Library, Uuche Pines Institute as a teacher, editor, artist and reference librarian, International Wilderness Club and Magazine as secretary, editor and lay-out artist, Champaign Park District and Baltimore County Division of Finance. She took great pride in her work. Many people and organizations have benefited from her editing, organizing and grammatical zeal. Anyone who has ever known her will forever know the difference between lay and lie, to be aware of dangling participles and for the love of Pete, to not end a sentence with a preposition.
Norma's true passion was art. She had enormous talent at drawing, painting, sculpture, glass blowing, calligraphy, copper enameling and ceramics. She also wrote poetry and songs. Her family treasures her artwork and will be reminded of her joy found in creativity.
It is not surprising that Norma outlived all of her contemporaries as she passed 2 days after her 95th birthday. Norma was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings June Bray and Leigh Kimball, son Scott Braheny, grandson Billy Hooff, her husbands: Jerry Braheny, Larry McGinley, Harry Seher and Ellis MacLeod, and her companion Chuck Basham. Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, of whom she was very proud, Jan (and Jeff) Hamilton, Georgiana Hamlett, Elysse MacLeod (and Milo), and bonus son Mark (and Molly) MacLeod, her beloved grandchildren Michelle Hooff, Chris (and Andrea) Harmon, Taron Hutchings, great grandchildren Cairi Harmon and Aiden Harmon, as well as a nephew Tom Kimball (and Barb) and nieces Laurie Bray (and Ernie), Bonnie Bray (and John), Alison (and Peter) Bissinger, Jeannie (and James P.) Bloomer.
Norma grew up in the Great Depression Era and that made a lasting impression on her. She was always thrifty, worked hard, was quite an accomplished seamstress, designing and sewing beautiful clothes for herself, and later on for her children. She often spoke of singing with her mother and sister when she was young and loved going to dances. She loved to dance. As an adult she joined an international dance club to learn a variety of dances from around the world. She was also quite competitive. She cultured an irrepressible optimism and never lost her child like joy in adventure and the world around her. She loved nature, yoga and was an avid student of life. She was an adventurous soul. She marched, petitioned, wrote letters and challenged the establishment. She encouraged creativity, imagination, resiliency, dedication and compassion. She had great faith in God and prayer. She always rooted for the underdog. She was also a health enthusiast and quite vigorously campaigned for the health of her loved ones. She also was a great prankster (which got her into trouble a few times). She could not pass on a good pun. She definitely had joie de vivre.
Norma despised run on sentences, injustice, self-pity, complaining and curse words. She did occasionally employ harsh language; so, when she said Judas Priest! Merde! or Hell Mabel! you knew the schnitzel was going down.
She loved God, her family, reading, the joy of learning, the wonders of nature, learning phrases and songs in other languages, telling stories from back in the day, singing a song and dancing a jig.
Towards the end of her life her body and mind betrayed her. COPD and Lewy body dementia tried to take the pep out of her step. But she was not a quitter. She chose to be grateful for each and every positive in her life, the people around her and took comfort in her faith. She always had a sparkle in her eyes. She was a student of life and in that respect believed in the value of anatomical donation, her final charitable gift.
With much gratitude we give thanks to the staff and caregivers at The Kensington, Seminary Manor Memory Lane, OSF Hospice, Hinchliff-Pearson-West and Lamplight who cared for our mother, treated her with respect and showed her love. She appreciated you and so do we.
In lieu of flowers or donation, Norma would have appreciated a random act of kindness, a compliment to a stranger, a smile to someone who needs one, a card sent to a resident in a memory wing and to share the joy of humor and gratitude.