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Saturday, October 14, 2023
9:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Saturday, October 14, 2023
11:00am - 1:00pm (Central time)
Norma Jane (Simons) Hamm died suddenly with her closest loved ones by her side on July 28th, 2023. She was 90 years old.
Her hospitality, kind spirit, animated personality and zest for life are how she will be remembered.
Norma was born February 16th, 1933, in Pittsburg, Kansas, to Kenneth and Irene (Broadhurst) Simons. She had a look-alike younger sister, Elaine, with whom she shared a tight bond.
Norma first met the love of her life, Jerry, in elementary school in Pittsburg, but they didn’t become a romantic item until many years later. Norma finished her elementary, junior and high school years in Pittsburg. She was very involved in drama as well as speech and debate — where she came into her own as the outspoken, spunky Norma we all knew and loved.
She then went on to attend the University of Kansas in 1951 to pursue an education degree. While in Lawrence, Norma was an active member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority chapter. Her mother’s death brought her home to Pittsburg, where she finished her studies at Pittsburg State and helped take care of Elaine. She then spent her first year’s post-grad as a kindergarten teacher in Pittsburg and Coffeyville.
That’s around the time Jerry returned from his Army service in Japan to also get a degree at Pittsburg State. He reconnected with Norma, and they fell in love. They wed on August 4th, 1957, at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsburg.
A job opportunity for Jerry brought the Hamm’s to Humboldt, Kansas, in 1959. Jerry worked as a high school guidance counselor, while Norma continued teaching.
In 1961, the Hamm’s decided to settle down in Coffeyville, where they remained for the rest of their lives. They had daughters Betsy, in 1962, and Nancy, in 1964. Norma was a stay-at-home mom for Betsy and Nancy’s young lives but returned to teaching in the 1970s.
She retired in 1999 and spent several years at home but couldn’t resist her love of education and got involved with Parents As Teachers — an early childhood development program helping parents prepare children for school. Norma loved children’s books and was very passionate about educating young children through reading.
Through the years, Norma was a fixture in the Coffeyville community. She was heavily involved in programming and Sunday school at the First United Methodist Church; PEO; Salvation Army Auxiliary; Coffeyville Imagination Library and many other book clubs and lunch groups.
She is survived by her husband, Jerry, daughter Betsy Chappell (Jim), seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, son-in-law Scott Dixon and three step-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, Kenneth and Irene Simons, stepmother Helen Dickey Simons, sister Elaine, daughter Nancy and many other friends and relatives.