Sandra Norman

Obituary of Sandra Joy Brownlee Norman

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Sandra left this world to greet family and friends in heaven on Saturday, April 2, 2022. Primary Progressive Aphasia erased her ability to read or speak these past years, so we are quite certain she is once again devouring stacks of books and voicing her ever strong opinions. Born in Russellville, AR on June 24, 1941 to Eunice and Henry Brownlee, Sandra was the younger sister to half-brother Harry, and older sister to Richard. Her father’s profession was the management of movie theaters, and his frequent job transfers put the young family on the move across the country to Oregon, Tennessee and then back again to Russellville. After becoming a single parent, Sandra’s mother supported the family by working a long day at Arkansas Tech as a dietician, followed by sewing for others through the night. As a result, Sandra took on the responsibility of caring for her brothers and the household. Sandra loved to sing, and was a talented vocalist. The Methodist church was a haven for her, she embraced the lessons learned, and thrived in the youth choir. Russellville was a small town, but Sandra’s world was far larger as a result of her love of reading. She embraced new ideas and absorbed information of all sorts, and developed the courage to be her own person. As smart as she was beautiful, she skipped her senior year of high school and enrolled in classes at Arkansas Tech. It was there that she met her future husband, Tech co-ed Robert (Bob) Norman, and they soon eloped across the state line to Poteau, OK on September 27, 1958. A hocked camera provided the funds for the marriage license and a wedding night dinner of hamburgers back in Russellville. Several more lean but loving years were ahead as Robert entered Officer Infantry School, and the first two of their children, daughter Laura and son Kelly were born on U.S. Army bases in Georgia and Texas. Once out of the Army, they settled in Houston and welcomed twin daughters Jenifer and Julie. Sandra had the work ethic of her mother, and was at Robert’s side as they built a number of highly successful businesses. Their marriage was a true partnership in all respects, and together they cultivated a life filled with family, friends, gardening, golf, travel and the arts. Sandra had an eye for design, both interiors and landscapes, and she created beautiful homes surrounded by lush gardens. She shared her passion for horticulture and art with Philbrook Museum, assisting in the renovation of the Gardens and serving on the Board of Trustees for many years. The love of gorgeous grounds inspired her pursuit of golf, and she celebrated a hole in one on her 60th birthday in Scotland while on one of their golf adventures with friends. She was happy to spend a day on the courses at Southern Hills Country Club, Birnam Wood in Santa Barbara, and especially Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, NC. It was the home she and Robert built in Cashiers where she felt most at peace, she loved the mountains so. While in Tulsa, Sandra enjoyed joining her friends in the Tulsa Antiques Club, Tulsa Investment Partnership, and Ruskin Art Club, and she loved attending Tulsa Opera performances. Her ability to participate in these activities subsided in recent years, and her presence was greatly missed by all. She leaves behind her husband of 63 years, Robert Edward Norman; daughters Laura Norman Colgan (Keith), Jenifer Ann Norman, and Julie Elizabeth Norman, and grandchildren Christopher Reed Norman and Lindsay Grace Colgan, all of Tulsa. Sandra is rejoicing being with her son Robert Kelly Norman in heaven, which gives us great comfort. She is survived by her brother Richard Brownlee of Aurora, CO, sisters-in-law Nancy Norman of Tulsa and Mary Estes (Bill) of Kilgore, TX and brother-in-law Don Warren of Austin, TX as well as many adored nieces and nephews across the country. Joy was a most fitting middle name for Sandra, as she lived her life with such joy and shared it in abundance with us all. We have missed being with the woman she was due to her disease, and we are grateful she is again a most spirited soul. A heartfelt thank you to the loving women who ensured Sandra was well taken care of at home: Equa Antai, Whitney Bennett, Luella Bullard, Demetria Griffin and Kelly Killian. A Celebration of Life is scheduled for 2 pm, Friday, April 22 at Boston Avenue Methodist Church. For those desiring, an honorarium in Sandra’s name for the benefit of the Gardens at Philbrook Museum would undoubtedly please her and may be sent to Philbrook Museum, 2727 South Rockford Rd, Tulsa, OK 74114.