Published: December 14, 2012
Norma Shoemaker of Hot Springs Village died at home on December 7, surrounded in her final days by loving family and friends. Born September 7, 1933 in West Salem, Ill., she was the middle child of Theodore and Mabel Birkhimer. She graduated in 1951 from Highland Park High School in Highland Park, N.J. She met her husband, Bob, on a blind date in 1951. They were engaged two years later and married in August 1954 in the Princeton University Chapel.
She was the faithful loving supporter of her husband's long career with the Boy Scouts of America, raised their four sons and traveled with her grandchildren as she and Bob lived in Irving, Texas; Corpus Christi, Texas; Beaumont, Texas; Texarkana, Texas; Purdys Station, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; San Antonio, Texas; Bloomfield Township, Mich. and Princeton N.J., before retiring to Hot Springs Village in 1997. From 2000-2002 she and Bob also guided and mentored their granddaughter, Bethany, who lived with them and graduated from Fountain Lake High School in 2002.
Known for both her smile and her competitive spirit, she loved to play handbells-the handbell choir at Village United Methodist was her fourth; she was challenged by golf-enjoying both her golf scramble group and the ladies golf organizations; and she more than held her own in her pinochle group and the fierce family card games. She cherished her Church and her Sunday School Class, and she was very much a part of the many ongoing cultural opportunities that are a part of everyday life in Hot Springs Village and central Arkansas. She did so much love living in the natural beauty of Arkansas.
She is remembered by all for her courageous and valiant ten year fight with Multiple Myeloma. Her persistence and tenacity in that battle provides today inspiration for all who knew her, and she was an honoree of the 2011 Village Walk for Cancer Research. The family will always be grateful to Dr. Bart Barlogie and all the great team of Doctors, Nurses, and Technicians at UAMS for their loving help and support in her long struggle.
She is survived by her husband, Bob; their four sons, Doug, of Hot Springs Village; Bill and wife, Darcie, of Hot Springs Village; Joe, and wife, Caren, of Ann Arbor, Mich; and John and wife, Jenn, of Kingwood, Texas; and their ten grandchildren and three great-granddaughters; and her sister, Carolyn Ernst and husband Paul of Grapevine, Texas.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 10 a.m. at the Village United Methodist Church. Memorial Gifts may be made to the Hot Springs Village Community Foundation (P.O. Box 8024, Hot Springs Village, Ark. 71910) and designated for the Bob & Norma Shoemaker Endowment for Education and the Arts. Arrangements are under the care of Caruth Village Funeral Home; guests may register at www.caruth-hale.com.