A life well read - - this phrase describes Norma Jean Smallwood McDonald. From the time she first got her library card to the end of her life, she would read anything. As a young girl, she favored romance novels but at the end she gravitated towards the mystery genre, especially murder mysteries. It certainly is no mystery that she was well loved by her family and friends. Norma died at her home under the wonderful care of Hospice of the Panhandle on Sunday, September 15, 2019.
Born on August 10, 1933, she was the only child of Gladys and Russell Smallwood. However, Norma developed life-long friendships with her Winchester Avenue School girls: Teresa Nicklin, Clara Ward, Jean Best, Joe Ann Knauss, and Marion Normandy.
After graduating as Valedictorian of the Martinsburg High School Class of 1951, Norma started attending Shepherd College with the plan of becoming a biology teacher. Her plans changed when she met her future husband, Ernie McDonald, while she was working at the Farmers’ Dairy on Addition Street in Martinsburg. Norma and Ernie were married on March 8, 1952, and they built their life together at their farm Rocky Mead in Arden. The biggest part of that life included their four children: Susan McDonald Vetter, J. R. McDonald, Andrew McDonald, and Arden McDonald Tryon.
When she married Ernie, Norma became a member of Arden United Methodist Church. Her faith led her to serve others both in the church and in the community. She served the church by being a Sunday School teacher as well as being part of various church committees.
While her children were in school, Norma devoted most of her time and attention to her children and their activities. During their elementary school years, she was active in PTA and was a homeroom mother. As they moved to high school, she became active in the Musselman Band Parents, where she was active in fundraising. Every Friday during football season you could find her running the concession stand, frying french fries, and cheering on the Musselman Applemen especially when her sons were playing. Norma was also a dedicated leader of the Arden 4-H Club and a West Virginia 4-H All Star. She served as a camp counsellor and helped in many fundraising activities. In addition, Norma often drove not only her children and grandchildren, but also their friends to practices, games, competitions, and camps.
After Ernie died in 2010, Norma continued to be a strong, independent woman who lived life on her own terms. She continued her trips to the Martinsburg/Berkeley County library every three weeks and was often reading two books at a time; one upstairs and one downstairs. To fill her time, Norma became involved in the Arden Tabler CEOS where she served as the club secretary.
Norma is survived by her children: Susie and Moe Vetter, J.R. and Sandy McDonald, Andrew McDonald, Arden and Ed Tryon, and daughter-in-law, Tammy McDonald. She will be greatly missed by her grandchildren: Megan McDonald, Kelley and Eric Wilkerson, Michael and Brittny McDonald, Morgan and Ashlee McDonald, Riker McDonald, Karina McDonald, Dylan Tryon, Sam and Courtney Tryon, and Claire Tryon; and her great-grandchildren: Alexa, Charlotte, and Rosemary McDonald, and Leia and Miles Wilkerson. She will be missed by the “Old Biddies” - her sisters-in-law: June and Willie McDonald, Kathleen Merceruio, and Alice Cogle, as well as many nieces and nephews and her Caravan Card Ladies.
Family receiving friends Thursday, September 19, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Brown Funeral Home South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 1:00 PM at Arden United Methodist Church with Pastor Sam Tryon officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the Martinsburg/Berkeley County Public Library 101 King Street, Martinsburg, WV 25401; the Camp Frame Association c/o Sandy Davis 13828 Apple Harvest Dr. Martinsburg, WV 25403; or Hospice of the Panhandle 330 Hospice Lane, Kearnseysville, WV 25430
To send flowers to the family of Norma Jean McDonald (Smallwood), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.