Norma Lavon Gifford went to sleep in Jesus on Nov. 18, 2020, within 73 days of her 100th birthday. She was born Jan. 30, 1921 in Elkhart, Ind., to Adolfus Samuel Hartle and Selma Badke Hartle, and was the middle child between brothers Richard (Dick) and Stanley.
The family moved to southern California when she was three years old. During her teen years, her parents divorced and Norma and her mom opened a boarding house in Burbank to support themselves. Norma gained experience in cooking, laundry, ironing and all the tasks required for maintaining a home.
Donald Gifford, one of the residents in the boarding house, struck up a friendship with Norma that led to their marriage on Oct. 9, 1942.
Norma was an exceptional homemaker, bread baker, seamstress, gardener, pianist, vocalist, loving wife to Donald, and mom to their two sons, Gary and David. For a number of years, Norma was the insurance billing clerk at the Lodi Community Hospital and later the secretary for Huisman Sales in Sacramento.
She was an active member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, leading out in children’s programs and, in earlier years, singing 2nd soprano in a ladies trio. She took great pride in her family and always loved their visits, especially visits by the great grandchildren.
Norma and Donald moved to Oak Avenue in Galt in 2002. Preceding her death were her parents, two brothers and her husband of 73 years, Donald. She is survived by her two sons and their wives, Gary (Jerri) Gifford and David (Lois) Gifford; five grandchildren, Shauna, Chip and Jonathan Gifford, Jenee Hilliard and Jacquie Shawler. Norma especially loved visits from her seven great grandchildren, Ava, Abi and Alyssa Gifford, Jasmin and Juliesa Shawler, and Levi and Daphne Hilliard.
We will miss mom, grandma, great grandma and sweet friend, but we hold fast to the “Blessed Hope,” looking forward to the day when we will be reunited with Norma.