Norma Viola Winebarger Rynearson was born on September 9, 1929 in John Day, Oregon to Walter M. and Cora V. (Eads) Winebarger. She passed away on April 18, 2020 at Sun Terrace Assisted Living in Hermiston, Oregon at the age of 90. Due to Covid-19 a private family burial was held April 24th, 2020 at the Prairie City Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a later date for family and friends.
When Norma was ten days old her parents took her home to Fox, Oregon where she spent her childhood years living at the lower end of Fox Valley. She started school at the age of 5 walking a half-mile to and from school with her older sister Verna until she got lost in a snowbank. Her mother then home schooled her until she was 8 years old when she began attending the Lofton District. The family built a house in the town of Fox to live in during the winter so she, her brother Walter (Earl) and sister Bessie could attend school. Many of her school years she was the only student in her class.
In 1944 Norma moved to Prairie City, Oregon, as a sophomore in high school. She also began working at the Blue Mountain Hospital, earning 32 cents an hour. Norma married Floyd L. Rynearson on December 24, 1946 in Prairie City, Oregon. She graduated salutatorian of her class from Prairie City High School in 1947.
Norma sold Baum Toys, Stanley Fuller Brush Products and Avon products. She worked at Prairie City School District as a classroom assistant and library assistant for many years. She retired as a clerk for the U.S. Forest Service, Long Creek District and Malheur National Forest.
Norma was a 73-year member of the Prairie City American Legion Auxiliary serving as the girl state chairman.She was baptized in the Prairie City United Methodist Church December 5, 1957 where she served as a Sunday School Teacher, Chairman of the Birthday Calendar Committee, Treasurer and Board Member. When the Prairie City church closed, she transferred to the John Day United Methodist Church. Norma was a volunteer at the church thrift shop and food bank. She was recognized as church member of the year in 2010.
She also served on the Grant County Election Board. She was a member of the Grant County Home Extension Group. She was a 34-year 4-H Leader for knitting, crocheting, and cooking. She served as the Superintendent of the Needle Work Department for the Grant County Fair for many years. She was a member of the Prairie City Garden Club and Grand Marshall of the 1995 Prairie City 4th of July.
Norma’s hobbies were knitting, crocheting, reading, and visiting with people. She was inspirational in starting the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club and the Saturday Night Dinner Club for ladies in Prairie City. She was the leader in the Red Hat Society that later became the Mad Hatters. She was a member of the Smart Reader Program for Prairie City School District. Spring was her favorite time of the year with drives to see the wildflowers in bloom. She loved to pick huckleberries and cook breakfast and supper over the campfire during the summertime.
She is survived by her children: Marva Ransom, Margie and Carroll Walton, Marvin and Lisa Rynearson, Marnie and Gary Mediger and Marlene and Doug Freels; grandchildren: Floyd and Carla Ransom, Cassandra Wamego, Reggie Freels, Carson and Ashley Freels; eight great grandchildren; fourteen great-great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Floyd, son-in-law’s Terry Newton, and Robert Ransom, siblings Vera Leiber, Walter (Earl) Winebarger, Bessie Rynearson, Fay and Fred Winebarger.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her name to the Prairie City Cemetery Irrigation Project, Prairie City American Legion Auxiliary or to a charity of your choice through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.
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