Obituary of Norma J. Hawkins
A remarkable woman has left us and has begun her celebration of eternity in God’s glory. Norma J. Hawkins, age 91, left her earthly life in Grass Valley, CA on September 27, 2018. Norma was born on April 25, 1927, in Bell, CA, the younger of two surviving children of John C. Douglass and Dorothy M. Jordan Douglass. She was raised in southern California with her older brother, John Jr. Norma was a very bright child, skipping a grade in school in spite of missing a year while recovering from rheumatic fever. After graduating from Bell High School, class of 1944, she attended community business classes.
In 1947, Norma married Michael Culhane. They had 2 children: daughter Karen in 1949 and son Douglas in 1954. Soon after their daughter’s birth they bought a house and moved to Downey, CA. By 1955 Norma was a single parent of 2 young children. Determined to provide stability for her children and keep the family in their first home, she found work as a clerk/typist. From the start she developed professional goals which would enable her to provide more financial security for her family. In 1961 she found an entry level position as a clerk in the Personnel Dept. of a private company in Los Angeles. As a result of her perseverance, intellect, and hard work, she advanced in the company, eventually entering management, proving herself to be a pioneer for women in business. One of our favorite photos of our mother was taken during a conference of managers and executives from her corporation. In the group photo she is the sole woman in a group of 22 men. Throughout these years she maintained an attitude of absolute humility which endeared her to all, especially to those on her staff. In 1992 she retired after many years as the Director of Human Resources for a national corporation. She was always a bit embarrassed by her own success, for whenever someone inquired as to the nature of her job she would only reply “oh, I work in the personnel department”. Most importantly, Norma was a role model to her children. Through her example, she taught courage, goal-setting, resourcefulness, and perseverance. Although most of her child-rearing years had been spent with extremely little financial resources, she insisted to her children that, if we wanted to pursue advanced educational opportunities, “we’ll figure out a way”.
At the age of 74, love found Norma again in the person of a gentleman who moved in across the street from her townhouse in Fullerton, CA. At that time, Norma was battling metastatic cancer and insisted she was both “too sick to get married” and “too independent to marry again” yet the new neighbor, Jim Hawkins, won her heart and they were married in 2001. After her recovery from cancer, they moved to Sun Lakes in Banning, CA. In 2005 they moved to Grass Valley. In recent years Norma had suffered multiple effects of severe heart disease. She was at peace, having a strong faith in God’s plan for her life and a heartfelt anticipation of the joys of Heaven.
Norma leaves her husband, James Hawkins of Keizer, OR and his family, daughter Karen Culhane of Grass Valley; CA; son Doug (Holly) Culhane of Grass Valley, CA; grandchildren: Tim Culhane of Richland, WA; Dana (Joseph) Brennan of Bakersfield, CA; and Lindsey Syrstad Culhane of Sarasota, FL, nearly-adopted granddaughter Danielle Culhane of Anaheim, CA; and great-grandchildren Bella and Joey Brennan. She also leaves her sister-in-law Bonnie Douglass, San Clemente, CA and nephew Richard (Jane)Douglass, San Clemente, CA and family and niece Jane Douglass (Alan), Shelby Township, MI. She is preceded in death by her parents, brother John Jr., and siblings who died in infancy and early childhood, Shirley and Billy.
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The family will hold a private service at a later date. For those wanting to honor Norma’s life with a charitable contribution, her favorite non-profits included: Christian Encounter Ministries, PO Box 1022 Grass Valley CA 95945; Gold Country Campus Life/YFC, PO Box 277728, Sacramento, CA 95827, Presence Point Shepherd Leadership at presencepoint.com, or Hospice of the Foothills.
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