August 26, 2012 in Obituaries

Obituary: Anderson, Norma Jo


(Full-size photo)

Norma Jo

Norma Josephine Anderson passed away peacefully on August 13, 2012 in Spokane.
Norma Jo was born December 15, 1920 on her family’s farm just outside Palouse, Washington. Her parents were Bessie Boone and Stanley Anderson, both of whom were descendents of Palouse country homesteaders. Norma Jo’s sister, Phyllis (Anderson) Burnam, preceded her in death. Norma Jo had a lifelong love of music. She had an excellent soprano voice and sang with the Washington State College Choir, the Spokane Symphony Chorale, and the St. Stephens Episcopal church choir. She was also an expert piano player. She graduated from Palouse High School in 1936 at the age of 15, and from Washington State College, where she was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, in 1941 with a degree in Music. Norma Jo did war-related work in Spokane during the early stages of World War Two. In January of 1943, she married Lt. Robert Hale Miller in Spokane and she spent the remainder of the war at military bases in Georgia and Texas. She had two sons, Michael (b. 1946) and Jeffrey (b. 1952). After divorce in 1960, Norma Jo earned a Master’s degree in Education from Whitworth College and then taught in Spokane’s School District 81, including Wilson and Hamblen grade schools, for 20 years. She was highly regarded by school administrators and her students, and she seldom walked around Spokane without meeting and talking with a former student. Never one to sit still, after retiring in 1982, she traveled the world including Europe, China, and New Zealand. During this time, she also became a successful investor. Norma Jo was a steadfast supporter of WSU and contributor to the WSU Foundation. Living on Spokane’s South Hill her entire post-war life, she moved into an independent home in the Rockwood community in the early 1990’s, later moving to a semi-assisted living apartment for the last few years of her life. Norma Jo’s remains will be interred next to the graves of her parents in the Greenwood Cemetery in Palouse. A singer, teacher, mother, friend, and daughter of the Palouse, she will return home forever. Norma Jo is survived by her two sons, Michael Robert Miller of Spokane and Jeffrey Boone Miller of Belmont, Massachusetts, as well as by her five grandchildren: Bonnie Joanne Miller of Santa Monica, California; Daniel Robert Miller of Sacramento, California; and Thomas Boone Miller, Caitlin Lenore Miller, and Elizabeth Margaret Miller of Belmont, Massachusetts. As a lasting memorial, the family requests that donations be made to the Rockwood Residents’ Foundation or to the WSU Foundation in Norma Jo’s name.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email