1938 ~ 2023
Date of Death: August 6, 2023
In profound sadness, the staff of Veasley Funeral Home & Cremations, Inc. want to express our sincere condolences to the Gary Family. Norma's earthly temple is now resting in the care of Rowell-Parish Mortuary. Revelations 21:4 says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death; nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." Be assured that in the days ahead you will surely gain strength from the memories of Norma Gary.
Derrick Veasley ~ Director
Henry Veasley ~ Director
Pastor E.C. Maltbia ~ Chaplain
Norma Jean Gary was a beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, Sister, Aunt, Dean and Friend to many. She entered this world on Pickett Hill in Van Buren, AR on December 5, 1938 to Edward William Folks and Altha Bell. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 34 years, John Edward Gary Sr, Sister, Linda Mays, brothers, Frazier Bell and Ronald Bell.
There are many accolades that characterize Norma. Some are listed below.
· Salutatorian of Lincoln High School Class of 1957
· Worked as Librarian at Lincoln High School after graduation
· Associate Degree from Westark Community College
· 1st African American to be employed with the Social Security Administration in Fort Smith, Arkansas from 1966-1998
· Served as Boy Scout troop Leader with her husband John Gary for several years
· Professed her hope in Christ at an early age, uniting with New Hope Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Wagner where she served in various roles including Deaconess, Choir Director, Pianist, Sunday School Teacher, Women Missionary Society, Church Secretary, Church Clerk and any and all other responsibilities as needed
· Served the Antioch Baptist District Consolidated Association for over 42 years serving as Congress Dean from 1977 to 2019
· Received MLK Community Award 2007
· Recipient of the Unsung Hero Award from the Gordon Youth Foundation, Inc 2017
Norma was loved and respected by many and always willing to lend a helping hand wherever she was needed. She was known for her love for Christian Education and promoted a culture of Christian conduct. She gathered her children and grandchildren around the piano for years singing from the Old Caravan song book and old songs by the Roberto Martin Singers.
In her free time, Norma Jean loved puzzles, collecting angels and other figurines, watching game shows, and movies, especially Columbo, Murder She Wrote, and Perry Mason. She was an avid sports fan and could be found calling them hogs especially during football and basketball season. She was quick witted and full of laughter. Her happiest times was spent surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Norma will continue to be loved and missed by her children; John Gary, Jr.(Peggy) Angela McGee(Darryl) Brian Gary, and Kevin Gary; Grand Children, Chad, Miranda, Brittany, Gary, Kara, Dana, Takarah and Roan; Ten Great-grandchildren; Sisters, Beverly Norwood and Clara Christian both of Fort Smith, AR; Pearl Bryant of Utica, NY; Pam Davis of San Deigo, CA and Connie Scourten of Richardson, TX; Niece, JoAnne Perry; Special friends, Allen and Laurie Wright of Fort Smith, AR; a host of other relatives and friends.
Visitation for family and friends will be held Sunday, August 13, 2023 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 18 S. 14th St., Van Buren, Arkansas.
Celebration of life service will be held Monday, August 14, 2023, 11:00am, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 18 S. 14th St., Van Buren, Arkansas.
Committal service and final resting place will be held at the Fort Smith National Cemetery.