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Lynda Lee Norris remembered as 'a caregiver ... plus'

June 20, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

Lynda Lee Norris remembered as 'a caregiver ... plus'

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back -- through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others -- at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Lynda Lee Norris, who died June 11 at the age of 68. Her obituary was published in the June 13 edition of The Herald-Mail.

SHARPSBURG -- Family, friends, colleagues ... everyone was in agreement that Lynda Lee Norris was first and foremost a caregiver.

"I remember many a holiday family meal where when she finished eating, Lynda would immediately begin packing dinners for other people," daughter-in-law Kelli Souders said.

Kelli then would accompany Lynda as she delivered those dinners to an elderly man living alone, a woman who had a hard time getting around and a bedridden friend.

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Lynda died June 11 at the age of 68. Her unexpected passing has left a void in many lives, not the least of which is that of her mother, Betty Waters.

"Lynda has lived alone in her own house since she buried her husband and daughter, both in 2004," Betty said.

Lynda went over to her mother's house every day to cook and care for her.

Also living at Betty's house is Lisa Burker, Lynda's younger sister by 24 years.

"Lynda raised me while our mom worked," Lisa said. "Our relationship was much deeper than just sisters."

Lisa spoke at her sister's service about how much Lynda's presence in her life helped shape her as a person.

"She was my sister, my second mom and my friend," Lisa said.

Betty recalled Lynda, who was born in 1941 to her and her husband, the late Dallas Waters, as a child.

"She was beautiful as a child," Betty said.

Lynda married young and had a child, Diane, right away. Her union with the late Ray Norris lasted 46 years.

Lynda was a housewife, but that didn't begin to describe her involvement in many activities in her community and beyond.

She was a lifetime member of Sharpsburg Emergency Medical Services, where she reportedly was one of the first female ambulance drivers in Washington County.

"I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, the alarm would go in and I'd go to a neighbor's house," Lisa said, describing how she watched Lynda head out the door on an emergency ambulance call.

Betty said Lynda delivered at least two babies during her years with the ambulance company.

A drive past the West Chapline Street fire and rescue station a few days after Lynda's passing revealed a black drape over the bay doors in her memory.

Son-in-law John Souders recalled how he first met Lynda in rather dramatic fashion. At the age of 10, John was riding his new motorbike when he was struck by a vehicle and needed medical attention.

An ambulance arrived and two women began administering care to the youngster. One of those EMTs -- Lynda -- assured John that he probably would only need a cast and be sent home.

Eight years later, John met and fell in love with Lynda's daughter, Diane. He soon realized Lynda was the woman who had reassured him after his motorbike accident.

John said he loved to remind Lynda that her assessment was a bit off since he spent six weeks in the hospital.

Always welcomed as more like a son than a son-in-law, John remarried after Diane died. His current wife is Kelli, who said she also was made to feel welcome in a difficult situation thanks to Lynda's big heart and caring ways.

"Every day, Lynda cared for an uncle," Kelli said. "And she called a sister-in-law every day to check on her, too."

Sharpsburg resident Donna DeLauney said Lynda was more like a sister when she described her lifelong relationship with her.

"We have exchanged birthday presents every year since we were young girls," Donna said.

On Donna's last birthday, Lynda gave her a ham. Donna had bought a store gift card for Lynda's birthday in late May, but sadly, she never got to give it to her.

"Lynda was a caregiver ... plus," Donna said.

At Lynda's service, Kelli spoke of a poem called "The Dash," which she felt described Lynda's legacy perfectly.

The poem alluded to the grammatical mark on a tombstone, separating one's date of birth and date of death. Kelli said the poem stressed the two dates matter much less than how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

"I am impressed with how Lynda lived her dash," Kelli said.

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