Norma E. Reynolds, 80, of Sycamore, formerly of Maple Park, passed away suddenly yet peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 29, at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill.
She was born July 3, 1932, in Maple Park, the daughter of Independence and Lillian (Lakin) Needham.
Norma grew up in Maple Park and attended local schools, where she became a basketball cheerleader before graduating with the class of 1950.
Jan. 17, 1947, was a fateful day in the life of both Norma and Toby Reynolds. She happened to be working at the Dairy Bar after a basketball game in Maple Park and caught Toby’s eye. Even though he was too shy to ask her out, a friend intervened and she became not only his first girlfriend, but his last. They were united in marriage on Oct. 11, 1951, just before Toby went into the Army.
Norma kept the home fires burning while Toby served his country, and when he returned from duty in 1953, they continued to make their home in DeKalb and, later, Maple Park.
They were blessed with five children, and Norma was kept busy not only caring for them, but also adding those special touches every day that made their house a home.
As the children grew, Norma honed her sewing skills to a master level. She taught sewing at Stretch and Sew and became a “fashion color analyst,” able to, at a glance, find the most complimentary styles and colors for anyone and everyone.
Her expertise as a seamstress benefitted her family, as well. She not only made their clothes, but also two wedding dresses when her children were married.
Norma provided her talents to the general public, as well, while running a resale shop, Twice Is Nice, in Sycamore for 10 years.
After retiring in 1997, she and Toby made 10 years of memories wintering in Mesa, Ariz., where she was able to swim nearly every day. They also made special trips to visit their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were spread to the four corners of the country.
She passed on her love of her Chicago Cubs, creating a family of loyal “die-hard” fans, cheering loudly through thick and thin.
Even in retirement, her hands were never idle as she knitted hundreds of helmet liners for the soldiers in Afghanistan. But what gave her the most joy was knitting clothes for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with love in every stitch.
There was nobody better in the kitchen, either. Norma loved to bake, especially pies, making sure that everyone had their favorite.
She will always be remembered for the immense pride she took in her home, but more importantly, the never-ending love she had for her family.
She is survived by her loving husband of almost 61 years, Toby; five children, Valerie Reynolds, Steve (Cathy) Reynolds, Roger (Deb) Reynolds, Jim (Theresa) Reynolds and Scott (Sarma) Reynolds; seven grandchildren, Brian (Kristy) Reynolds and their daughter Olivia, Lisa (Michael) Brinkley and their children Savannah and Tanner, Joe (Casey) Reynolds, Kristi (Ryan) Kunkel and their son Jack, Sarah (Wes) Leos, Kyle Reynolds, Alex Reynolds and her daughter McKenzie; one sister, Nancy (Kenneth) Roof; many nieces, nephews and a family of friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents; four siblings, Lloyd Needham, Lois Kuchera, LaRelle Campbell and LaDelle Kenyon.
Visitation was held Tuesday at Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. A funeral service to celebrate her life was held Wednesday, also at the funeral home, with interment at Gardner Cemetery in Maple Park.
A memorial has been established in her name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Norma Reynolds Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com, where you can also find Norma’s full-life story.