Obituary of Norma J. Harrison
Norma was born May 27, 1940, in Glade Kansas, the 3rd child of Blanche Lucille (Elder) Meyers and Elvaro Leon (Shorty) Meyers. Shortly after her birth, the family would move to Burlington Colorado, the place she would call home for the rest of her life. The majority of her youth, the family lived south of Burlington, in several places near the Smokey Hill school house. Living on a farm in the 1940’s and 50’s didn’t allow much for entertainment, so you had to make your own, prime for Norma and older sister Joy, was to torment their older brother Bob and to a lesser degree their own mother. Many a story were told of the things they would do to poor brother Bob, but as they would put it; he deserved all that he got. Probably in the end he gave as good as he got.
Around the age of 6, Norma contracted Polio and was forced to be in Denver in the hospital for an extended period of time. She would tell of being wrapped in hot wet sheets that were used as treatment at the time and how she would hear other children around her crying out in fear for their mothers and how sorry she felt for them. In the end she recovered, but was left with very little muscle in her stomach area. The current movement of not wanting to have your children vaccinated for diseases, that have been beaten back, was always something she found upsetting. She would say “Don’t they understand what they’re exposing their children to.”
Family and the larger Smokey Hill community were all a part of her youth. Sister Kay came along, then brother Ron and finally the youngest Debbie. Add in a multitude of cousins, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors that came to visit or sometimes to stay, the Meyers house was always a lively place where all were welcome. School, Sunday school and social events at the school house were a big part of this period of her life, with lifelong friendships established.
5th Grade for Norma and 6th for Joy, were their first years attending the Burlington school system. Their brother Bob and class mates from Smokey Hill, rode the bus to town to begin this part of her life. Here she met lifelong friends Jackie (Hines)Jenkins, Mary (Nash) Valiant and Gay (Dower)Crouse. Like all teen age girls, they spent a lot of time spending the night with each other. And just like generations before and after, every chance they got were spent cruising main street. Here she met her future husband Milton Harrison who took an instant shine to her. In May of 1958, Norma graduated from Burlington High School.
Norma and Milton were married on October 4th of 1959. Immediately, Milton was shipped off to Germany where he was stationed in Stuttgart with the US Army. To begin with Norma moved in with her in-laws, Dick and Frieda Harrison, before going to Germany to stay with Milton. At the time, all of this seemed a bit of a disaster, but they both came to feel this turned in to one of the biggest adventures of their lives. When opportunity arose they traveled throughout Germany and France, seeing all they could take in. The lesson from this that Norma tried to instill in her children and grandchildren was that sometime what seems to be a bad thing can become the very thing you needed.
Upon their return from Germany they set up house in a basement apartment in Burlington. Norma was already pregnant with their first child and Bruce was born in December 1960. Shortly after, they purchased their first and only home. A little basement house on Oak street that they spent a lifetime growing and improving. Today one would never believe what it started out as. Grant came along next in April 1962 but died in infancy and then came the red headed rebel, daughter Kelly in January of 1964. Although Norma worked at various jobs over the years, she mostly stayed home and cared for her family. Summer camping trips with the Crouse family, weekends traipsing over the hills of the high plains in search of arrowheads, weekends at the lake, working in the yard and garden, helping Milton with whatever business venture he was doing and, of course, time around a friend’s kitchen table or visiting on the phone, there really wasn’t time for a full time job. Gay, Anita, Jann, Donna Rae and so many more. How could a group of ladies have so much to talk about every day? But they did, and great friends they all were!
Milton came home with the news that he was wanting to buy the Western Motor Inn restaurant in early 1987, Norma didn’t take the news well. She cried! He told her not to worry, he wasn’t doing it to put her to work. She relented and the purchase was made. He lived up to his word, she didn’t have a position there, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t a large participant. Here again, she relearned the lesson of the past, sometimes the worst things turn out the best. There she got to spend time with her sister Kay and gained a whole new family of people that Milton and Norma had much affection for. December of 1998, the decision was made to close due to Milton contracting lung cancer.
Norma’s family officially grew in 1992 with the addition of daughter-in-law Deanna (Stahlecker) followed by grandson Landon in 1993, grandson Sterling in 1998, son-in-law Rich Westra and his son Zach in 1999. She loved being a grandparent and was there for all the events that she could or just there if anyone needed to talk or vent.
After Milton got cancer and the restaurant closed, Norma started work as a live-in desk manager at the Chaparral Motel in order to make ends meet. Milton passed away in 2004 followed by several of her closest friends and her Mother, then her daughter in a tragic accident in 2010 and then even more friends and family. She began to show signs of having some memory problems and ended up leaving her job at the motel. Time passed and the memory problems became more severe. Bruce and Deanna moved in with her in November 2018 to help her stay in her home. The following September 2019 things progressed to the point of her entering Grace Manor Nursing Home and 73 days later, after being with Joy, Ron and Debbie one last time, in the early morning of November 18, 2019 with Bruce and Deanna by her side, she passed on to a place of no pain and suffering.
From our vantage point on this Earth, knowing what heaven might look like is for each of us to imagine, but for Norma it has a kitchen table with friends and family gathered, laughing and telling stories while they wait for the rest of us to make it home. Rest In Peace
Norma is preceded in death by husband Milton Harrison, son Grant Harrison, daughter Kelly Westra, father E L and mother Blanche Meyers, sister Kay Carson and brother Bob Meyers. She is survived by son Bruce and Deanna Harrison of Burlington CO, son in law Richard Westra and Andrea of Frisco CO, grandchildren Landon Harrison of Houston TX, Sterling Harrison of Ft Collins CO, Zachariah and Amy Westra of Amarillo TX, sister Joy and Calvin Bowman of Littleton CO, sister Debbie Meyers of Denver CO and brother Ron and Sandra Meyers of Thornton CO as well as a wonderful group of nieces and nephews, thier spouses and children.
A service for Norma will be held at a later date sometime in the spring.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association in Norma's memory and may be left at or sent to the Equitable Savings and Loan Bank, PO Box 697, Burlington, Colorado 80807.
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