Floral 26

Norma Ruth Burke

June 13, 1926 ~ February 8, 2021 (age 94)

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Norma Ruth Price was born at the Haxtun Hospital on Main Street, on Friday June 13, 1926.  She and her mother Anna spent their first 11 days there together.  Norma’s father, Ben, paid the hospital bill -- a total of $50.  Norma grew up south of Schram and north of Yuma.  Joined by her brothers Harry and Duane, the Price kids attended the Blach School.  Norma and Harry enjoyed playing pranks on the neighbors as they herded their cows in the ditches along the county roads, and always helped their dad with breaking horses.

Norma learned to embroider, crochet, tat, and knit.  Her mother was left handed so she used a mirror to make everything right handed for Norma to learn.  Norma knitted socks for the soldiers during WWII. When she and her mother turned in their socks, they received more wool to continue knitting.

Dad Ben played harmonica for dances, and Norma played piano.  With permission from her mother, Norma sent to Denver for information on accordions.  When the information came, an accordion was also shipped.  Ben told his daughter if she could learn to play the accordion over the weekend, then she could keep it.  So she spent the weekend north of the house and taught herself how to play.  She played for many dances after that. 

Norma married Lyle “Buddy” Blach in 1947 and to this union five children were born:  Beverly, Bobbi, Debbie, Denny, and Kenny.  She later married Chet Burke.

She played accordion for neighbors, friends, and us 5 small children while we were growing up.  We always liked it best when she played the piano just for us.  She would listen to songs on the radio and then play them.  We were always amazed that mom could play all the new songs without looking at any sheets of music.  Norma never did take any lessons, and always played by ear.

She made sling-shots for us kids out of tree branches.  She demonstrated these toys, and we told all our friends about them, and we practiced with green sand plums as ammunition.  She put our pet hamster in her shirt pocket and worked in the kitchen or ironing, with the hamster peeping out of her pocket at us.  She made beautiful cinnamon rolls and breads, and wonderful brownies.

Norma worked for Clark at Yuma Cleaners, and she did housekeeping and cleaning for the Catholic Church.  Oldest daughter Bev learned how to iron her dad’s handkerchiefs watching her mom iron robes for the priest and altar. 

Norma played on Marcus Muirheid’s traveling Women’s Softball Team.  She played 3rd base.  It was always fun to watch mom hit that ball and run!

Norma later worked at Colorado Mountain College in the Student Center as cook, and later the CSU bakery learning how to make 242 dozen long johns for the dorms before the sun came up. She also worked in the kitchen at Woodard Governor, enjoying every opportunity she had to learn and make new friends.

 Norma loved to tat. Later in life, Bev surprised her mom by signing her up for a tatting class in Greeley. When the big day came, Norma found herself teaching the instructor as well as helping all the other students learn.             

The 1990s found her playing accordion for 90+ children in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado at Children’s Ark where Bev worked.  She played for the Haxtun Nursing Home residents and for herself when the mood struck her.  She played a small organ in her home when the accordion became too heavy.

She loved games and puzzles, kept track of winners on Jeopardy, played along on Wheel of Fortune, and could whip anyone in Pitch or Aggravation.  She learned to “cipher” rapidly in order to keep up with the scoring to beat her Dad in dominos.

Norma bowled on a Women’s team in Holyoke.  She so enjoyed her bowling girl-mates and the traveling they got to do to enter state contests.  She was an honorary member of the Pleasant Valley Quilters.  She enjoyed all the farm ladies there and could easily relate to them.  She felt honored to be able to bind their quilts for them.

 Her favorite job of all was working for the Haxtun Soil Conservation District.  Norma got to share her knowledge and love of trees with her guys -- (the District Board) and members of the Soil Conservation Service.  She knew an awful lot about kinds of wood, and was always able to impress her guys with her knowledge.

She loved doing country chores for the Terry Weaver family.  She gathered eggs, fed horses, and talked to the dogs and cats.  Bev and Gage got to go too, sometimes Chad and Aja.  It made Norma happy to be on the farm and taking care of things.  She always told us horse stories and relived her time on the farm with her folks and brothers.

She continued her love for orchids, hibiscus, and all things green into her 94thyear.  She enjoyed the neighbors’ gardening and appreciated when we all shared produce.  She saved plastic bags for the post office for packing boxes; she saved flip tops off of soda cans for other friends who collected them.  For the past 6 years she has cut coupons for the Veterans to spend at the PX because their families can use the outdated coupons there.  She enjoyed her years with the Haxtun Sewing Club.  They met to mend for residents and patients and made clothing protectors.

Norma was one of only 3 cousins left in her generation.  She was the last of her family.  She treasured her grandson Chad and great grandson Gage.  The three of them had special times digging potatoes, playing games, or watching movies.  Norma played catch with Gage when she was in her 80’s.  She occasionally mentioned that she might have to slow down someday!  She loved riding with Chad in his semi and felt bad when she couldn’t climb in anymore.  

Norma had fun showing her granddaughter Kristin and great granddaughters Delanie and Lillian the secrets to making pecan rolls.  She made quilts for Aja and Gage and was helping Bev with a quilt for Delanie’s high school graduation.  Norma enjoyed visiting with Niki and children from Virginia, and Chad and Erin Norton, when they were in Fort Collins visiting with parents Bobbi and Dennis Norton.

Norma was a strong woman, came through many hard times, and did not know a stranger.  We think of her passing and are thankful she is not in pain.  We’re sure she is tatting and growing something, while waiting for the pecan rolls to rise!

Cremation has taken place.  Graveside services were held February 20, 2021 at the Yuma Cemetery as per Norma’s instructions.

To send flowers to Norma's family, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
February 20, 2021

10:00 AM
Yuma Cemetery
Co. Rd. 39 and Co. Rd G
Yuma, CO 80759

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