Norma Elizabeth Wasilewski, 92, died peacefully on October 16, 2013 at the Pavilion of Croasdaile Village in Durham, NC. Born in Shelbyville, Illinois to Joseph and Naomi Noble, she was the twin sister of Naomi (Osborne), and the younger sister of Margarett (Patrick). The family built a home there and lived happily for the first 12 years of Norma’s life. The home of the three girls was rich with song and music, as Norma’s mother was a pianist who played for the silent movies. Growing up, Norma was always considered a regular tomboy; she climbed trees and was known for fearlessly scaring off the boys who would bully her younger twin. She would carry the reputation as a fierce defender of the underdog for all of her life. Norma’s family left Illinois for Mt. Carmel. PA in 1931. Even before they left Illinois, Norma’s mother was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition and was confined to bed. Norma’s mother taught her to play 500 rummy to pass the time; she became a master of this game and continued to play and successfully defeat all challengers up until the time of her recent passing.
Among her many loves, Norma also loved to dance and was considered the “best jitter-bug dancer in PA.” In her early twenties she married her high school sweetheart, Leonard Wasilewski, right before he left for Paris to serve as a Sergeant in the Army Air Corps of WWII. During the war effort, she worked at Glenn L. Martin, the famous aircraft manufacturer. Len’s return prompted their move to Baltimore county where eventually had their two children Yvonne (1948) and Len (1951). She is remembered fondly as a devoted and loving mother. While raising children, she was a Girl Scout leader; and as president of the American Legion she sewed on the replica flag for Fort McHenry, and made many trips to Fort Howard to visit the wounded warriors.
Norma was also an avid gardener and could make anything grow. She was famous for finding red maple seedlings and growing them into beautiful Japanese red maple trees. She was also a great lover of animals. There were always dogs, cats, birds, and turtles in her home when the kids were growing up. Norma spent time at the beach upon her husband’s retirement and they both loved boating and fishing. She was a great fisherwoman, and loved to swim.
After the passing of her husband in 2004, Norma was lovingly cared for by both her family in Baltimore and her family in North Carolina. Norma will always be remembered as the queen of hearts in our family. She is survived by her daughter, Yvonne Wasilewski-Kostin, son, Leonard Wasilewski, son-in-law, Joel Kostin, daughter-in-law, Jane Wasilewski, and three grandchildren, Dan Kostin, Pete Kostin, and Carolyn Wasilewski.