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Barbara Bunting Norman, who taught seventh grade with relish and who kept family and friends close by coordinating regular get-togethers, died Sept. 13 in the Franciscan Care Center, Sylvania. She was 83.
She had severe osteoporosis and dementia, her daughter, Andi, said.
Mrs. Norman, a longtime South Toledo resident, retired in 1995 from the Anthony Wayne Local Schools, where she worked for more than 30 years.
She taught social studies, including geography and history, at Fallen Timbers Middle School to seventh-graders.
“She thought that age was fantastic,” her daughter said. “Because they weren’t at that point where they knew more than you did, like teenagers, but yet they were old enough that they were coming into their own.”
Some children called her “Stormin’ Norman.” She didn’t mind.
“She had a schoolteacher voice,” her daughter said. “She could get you to sit up a little straighter and pay attention.”
Mrs. Norman was very serious about social studies, and she knew her subject well, said Aggie Drury, a colleague at Fallen Timbers and a friend from childhood.
“Barbara did have a humorous side,” Mrs. Drury said. “She was respected by her students. She made the learning fun.”
Mrs. Norman often bought school supplies and lunch for students in need without bringing attention to herself or those children.
“It affected her when she saw kids who didn’t have things or their home life was challenging. She genuinely cared about her kids, and her kids knew that. Her kids could tell that,” her daughter said.
She was born April 9, 1930, to Elizabeth and Donald Bunting. Early on, her care was entrusted to her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Bunting, and her aunt Dorothy Bunting, and she grew up in the family home at 1431 Harvard Blvd.
Her father lived there, too, as did her grandfather William H. Bunting, who was vice president and general manager of Bunting Brass & Bronze Co.
“She always said she was so lucky to have been raised by them,” her daughter said. “Both her grandmother and aunt placed huge emphasis on education and treating people well.”
Mrs. Norman went to Harvard Elementary School and was a 1948 graduate of Libbey High School. When she and Homer Gilbert were 5, he and his family moved from East Toledo to Broadway. As he rode his tricycle onto Harvard, “so the story goes,” Mr. Gilbert said, “Barbara Bunting was the first young lady I met. We remained friends for 78 years.”
She received a bachelor of education degree in 1952 from the University of Toledo.
Mrs. Norman was a member of Maumee River Yacht Club, where she volunteered and helped plan events and worked on the newsletter. She organized get-togethers of family members and friends for lunches and dinners; Sunday brunch was a given, and many gatherings were at the yacht club.
“She was the one who initiated them and coordinated them and got a hold of everybody,” her daughter said. Mrs. Norman kept careful track, with pencil and paper by the phone, of who’d been asked and who had accepted.
She was formerly married to the late Jack Norman.
Surviving is her daughter, Andrea “Andi” Norman, who is director of marketing and public relations at the Toledo Zoo.
Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Walter Funeral Home, where the family will receive friends after 11:30 a.m.
The family suggests tributes to the Anthony Wayne Education Foundation or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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