Norma Ruth (Keesling) Gardner
Norma Ruth (Keesling) Gardner, 74, passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side after a courageous four year fight with cancer on Aug 2, 2012. She was born March 3, 1938, in Anderson to Herbert and Nellie Keesling and grew up on the family farm north west of Pendleton where she mastered the art of homemaking.
She studied dancing, including tap and ballet, at the Ann Harmeson school of dance which included recitals at the Paramount Theater. Norma participated in 4-H and was in the cast of the Pendleton Easter Pageant. She was a 1956 graduate of Pendleton High School.
Norma and Larry began dating in 1953 and were married July 1, 1956, by Reverend James Horner in the Pendleton First Christian Church where Norma was earlier baptized at the age of fourteen.
She was a member of Job’s Daughters for five years and Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority since 1956. Norma loved her sorority, MU Chapter of Sigma Phi Gamma. She became a member after graduating from high school. Through the years while traveling with her husband who was in the military, she always attended meetings and helped with projects when in this area. Although she has been inactive for a number of years, she was always available to help them with their projects, such as style shows, salad suppers, frying hamburgers at the Heritage Fair and the Senior Girls Reception. She will be missed by all her sisters.
As an Air Force wife, Norma lived in Texas, California, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Rhode Island, Georgia and seven years in England. Other travels took her to Mexico, Italy, Spain, Denmark and a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on the SS America.
She lived in 17 permanent and three temporary homes in 20 years. It never mattered whether Norma moved her family in to a trailer park or a big house, because when Norma moved her family in to a new residence, she instantly made the place home.
Norma treasured both her children and grandchildren. She had many special friends over the years, but her closest and dearest friends of all were her mother, Nellie and mother-in-law, Verna Vee. During the past few years she became close friends with Jane Rector as they both battled cancer.
Survivors include her husband of 56 years, Larry Gardner; son, Jeff (Tracy); daughters, Amy (Allen), and Ann; grandchildren, Casey, Scott, Troy and Erin; and great grandchildren, Tyler, Courtnie, Valerie and Joey. She also left behind many loving nieces and nephews.
Norma was preceded in death by her parents, Herb and Nellie Keesling; brother, Jim Keesling; sister, Jeanette Snider; and parents-in-law, Ray and Verna Gardner.
Visitation was from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, at Lahm Chapel. Services was from10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service and Crematory, Lahm Chapel, Pendleton, with Pastor Jerome Bell officiating. Burial in Grove Lawn Cemetery, Pendleton.
Online condolences available at www.wilsonstpierre.com