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Laverne Eleanor Norman Russell, 81

Laverne Eleanor Norman Russell, 81, passed peacefully into Heaven from her residence at The Forum in San Antonio, Texas on Feb. 4, 2013.
Laverne was born in Greene County, Springfield, Mo., on July 3, 1931 to parents, Clyde and Effie Curry Norman.
Laverne is predeceased by her husband, Jack Russell; her parents; her brother, Ruskin Curry Norman M.D.; and her sister, Betty Norman Hicks.
Laverne lived an exemplary life as a kind, respected and active member of her family and community.  She was a fun, happily engaged daughter, wife, sister, sister-in-law and aunt. Laverne spent her childhood in Ava, Mo., enjoying life in the countryside with her siblings, Rus (and his first wife, Jean) and Betty (Wayne), and many cousins. They enjoyed picnics, fishing, hiking, and swimming in the creeks near Ava surrounded by the Ozark Mountains.
While attending the Ava Normal School, she sang in the choir,  graduating in 1949. She shared an interest in horses with her father, as they owned and she showed Tennessee Walking and Trotting horses throughout Missouri. She attended college and also worked in Ava, supporting her family’s businesses in retail, pharmacy, and the newspaper, The Douglas County Herald.
In the 1960’s, Laverne relocated to Tucson, Ariz., to acquire a master’s degree in library science. This led her to develop and direct the Audio Visual Department of schools in the Tucson Public School System. As a librarian, Laverne’s keen interest in books and authors was nurtured. Her involvement with the Book and Author Luncheon/Fundraiser in Tucson led her to share this idea with her San Antonio, Texas relatives (Rus and Karen).
While working in Tucson, Laverne met the love of her life, Jack Russell. Together, they enjoyed many happy years working and traveling the country and Jack’s ancestral home in Scotland, and then refurbishing homes in Tucson.
Laverne enjoyed strong relationships not only in her family, but with Jack’s family as well. She organized family reunions that took place in homes located in Missouri and Texas. Laverne, later in life, relocated to San Antonio, Texas to be cared for by her family.
We remember Laverne for her all encompassing humor, her intellectual inquisitiveness, and her love of others. She will be greatly missed by all family and friends in Missouri, Arizona, and Texas.
Laverne is survived by her nieces, Nancy Norman Robertson (Rob) and Susan Norman Smith (Lon) and Karen Hicks Erwin (Bob) and nephew Jim Norman (Alice); her grandnieces, Jenny Robertson Holshouser (Will), Whitney Smith, Shelby Smith, and Eleanor Norman Verrett (Kyle); and grandnephews, Robbie Robertson, Andrew Smith, Alex Smith, and David Norman (Rosie), John Norman (Valerie), and Scott Erwin (Nita), three great-grand-nephews and one grandniece.
Especially close to Laverne was her beloved caretaker, Sylvia Stetson. Laverne’s family will always be deeply grateful for the joy and love Sylvia provided for eight years to Laverne in her later life.  Sylvia’s daughters, Shannon Pantoja, and Cheryl Hallisey, and two granddaughters also cared for Laverne, as did Wiley, the cat. Thank you for filling Laverne’s days with laughter, singing, and dancing.
We are also thankful for the lovely care of Laverne provided by Dr. Colleen Kennedy and her staff, Dr. Paul Smith and his staff, and Sarah Dirks, DDS and her staff.  Additionally, we extend heartfelt thanks for the loving, special care given by the nurses and staff on the “skilled” nursing area of The Forum at Lincoln Heights and the Vitas caregivers.
The memorial service and celebration of Laverne’s life was held Feb. 8, at 12 noon, at Sunset Funeral Home, San Antonio, Texas. Scott Kitayama, associate rector of Christ Episcopal Church presided.  There will be an interment service for Laverne’s ashes at a later date in Ava, Mo.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Laverne to the Alzheimer’s Association, Tucson, Ariz., or The American Cancer Society.
To sign the online guestbook, go to http://www.sunsetfuneral homesa.com/.

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