Norma Fitzgerald was many things — beloved wife, mother, farmer, educator, insurance agent and active civic leader — and at the heart of everything she did was a desire to give back to her community.
Norma, a Wild Rivers Community Foundation board member and 50-year resident of Curry County, passed away March 31, 2018, at the age of 86. She left behind a legacy of helping others — particularly children — that continues to inspire those throughout Curry and Del Norte County.
“Norma and I had many mutual interests in health care, education, economic development and our youth,” said WRCF Vice Chair Dale Thomas. “Our paths crossed many times over the past two decades, and then we found ourselves serving together on the WRCF board. WRCF was a place that both of us found to help fulfill our visions for better health care, more accessible educational opportunities and development of youth in Curry County. Her zest for helping others inspired us all.”
Norma’s family settled in Curry County in 1969, where they raised sheep, cattle, and timber. Over the years Norma taught more than 1,000 children in Curry County. She taught music at Kalmiopsis Elementary School in Brookings from 1969 to 1972; was head teacher and principal at the Pistol River School from 1972 to 1974 and taught kindergarten, first and second grades again at Kalmiopsis from 1974 to 1981.
Norma took a leave of absence from teaching in 1981 to sell life insurance, quickly becoming “Agent of the Year.” She worked for decades as a top-producing New York Life Insurance agent while operating a ranch north of Brookings on Carpenterville Road.
“It’s hard to believe she’s actually gone because she’s always been such a live wire,” said Norma’s son, Ted Fitzgerald. “Through these experiences, Norma saw the vital connections between natural resources, people and communities. She was an enthusiastic member of the Wild Rivers Community Foundation because it stands for a lot of the things she believed in.”