When reflecting on the life of Norma Sheets it is easy to see that there was no greater joy in her life than her family. She made working hard seem effortless, and she lived to use her time, gifts, and talents to bring joy to others. Norma was blessed to spend the majority of her life with her true love, and through their love her family tree blossomed to include numerous branches of loved ones she adored. A woman of faith, she exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Life will never be the same without Norma here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
The 1920s were exciting years in America. Innovation was leading the way to new technology, and America was recognized as a world leader for the first time. Cars were more affordable for the average family thanks to the wide implementation of the assembly line and the world of flight was transformed by the adventurous spirits of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of Fred and Eliza (Estlick) Marrs as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as August arrived in Etna Troy Township of Whitley County, in 1927. Their wait was over on Aug. 17 when the baby girl they named Norma P. drew her first breath. She was one of seven children as she was joined in her family by her siblings, Eileen, Lurabelle, Sally, Martha, Mary, and Charles. Norma was a typical young girl of her generation who attended local schools including Larwill High School. As a young adult she also worked at Blue Bell.
Not to be forgotten during her years as a young woman was Norma’s introduction to the young man of her dreams. His name was Morris Sheets, and he swept her off her feet at the Happy Valley Roller Skating Rink by skating around her until she agreed to go out on a date with him. They began dating, and it didn’t take them long to fall deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Norma and Morris were married on Nov. 11, 1946, in Columbia City. Together they welcomed four children including Susan, Mike, Janet, and Dennis into their hearts and home.
Norma made raising four children and being a farmer’s wife look easy. She did what needed to be done with their farm, Sheets Family Farm, whether it was milking cows, baling hay, or tending to her beautiful garden. As her family and friends can attest, Norma had fantastic cooking skills, and many of her most famous recipes have been passed down to several generations. When grandchildren arrived, she couldn’t have been happier as her family was her primary focus. Norma especially looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas every year as it was a time when the whole family could be together. It was a family tradition for everyone to line up and give Norma hugs. She was also an inspirational role model for what it means to selflessly love and serve others. Norma instilled her children and grandchildren with important lessons such as the importance of taking one day at a time, and she was also famous for saying, “Let Your Conscious be Your Guide.”
Although her work and tending to her family often kept her busy, Norma was able to pursue her interests as well. She was an avid fan of the Indiana University, and she loved watching the Big 10 as well as the Indianapolis Colts. For years Norma loved crocheting, and she made afghans for each one of her grandchildren. She continued until her hands were no longer able. Norma loved playing Scrabble, and she was affectionately called the “Scrabble Queen” as she was a strong competitor who was hard to beat. A lifelong resident of Whitley County, she was a member of Laud Christian Church and the Rebekah Lodge for over 50 years. When it came to music, Norma loved gospel music.
With unending devotion to her family, Norma Sheets was truly beautiful on the inside and out. Her life was filled countless sacrifices for others, and she had a way of making the ordinary extraordinary. Norma was a lifelong resident on the community she loved, and she was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Norma P. Sheets, 91, of Columbia City, passed away at 5:10 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2019, at her Oak Pointe apartment in Columbia City. Norma’s family includes her children, Susan J. McQueen, Mike A. (Jill) Sheets, Janet A. (Ron) Hindbaugh and Dennis D. (Diane) Sheets all of Columbia City; brother, Charles F. Marrs, Defiance, Ohio; 11 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Morris Sheets; sisters, Eileen Walburn, Lurabelle Kourt, Sally Wright, Martha A. Putman, Mary M. Stuersel; and two great grandchildren.
A gathering of family and friends will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 18, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the funeral home. Derek Laliberte will be officiating. Burial will follow at Union Cemetery, rural Huntington County.
Memorial bequest can be made in Norma’s memory to Cure Search for Childhood Cancer, 4600 East-West Highway, Suite 600, Bethseda, MD 20814.