Norma Ellen Arnold-Butler obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Norma Ellen Arnold-Butler

January 2, 1930 - September 3, 2016

Obituary


Norma Ellen Arnold-Butler, born on January 2, 1930 in Webster City, Iowa to parents Clyde and Grace Hannon Decker, departed this life on September 3, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She had a big brother, Clyde, and a little sister, Harriet. Norma is survived by her sister, Harriet Alto, her son, Douglas Arnold, her daughters, Marie Arnold and Yvonne Amrine, and step children John Butler and Jacqueline Diaz, along with 13 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren.

Norma grew up in Gilmore City, Iowa, attending school there until her family moved to...

Norma Ellen Arnold-Butler, born on January 2, 1930 in Webster City, Iowa to parents Clyde and Grace Hannon Decker, departed this life on September 3, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She had a big brother, Clyde, and a little sister, Harriet. Norma is survived by her sister, Harriet Alto, her son, Douglas Arnold, her daughters, Marie Arnold and Yvonne Amrine, and step children John Butler and Jacqueline Diaz, along with 13 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren.

Norma grew up in Gilmore City, Iowa, attending school there until her family moved to Roseville, California when she began her Sophomore year of high school. She became a member of the Methodist Church as a young girl, and throughout her life Norma stayed connected to her faith and her church.
In the summer after Norma's Junior year, she went back to Iowa to visit her Aunt Beth and Uncle Fred Hersom. It was during that visit that she met her future husband, William (Bill) Arnold, when he was home on leave from World War II. Two years later they were married in Manson, Iowa on June 27, 1948.

After their wedding, Bill and Norma took over the Arnold family farm near Palmer, Iowa. Incidentally, Norma said the reason she always loved drinking "Arnold Palmer's" (iced-tea and lemonade) was because she was an Arnold and she was from Palmer, Iowa. It wasn't long before their oldest son, Doug was born in 1950.

After the War, Bill joined the Reserves and was called up to serve in Korea. She and young Douglas left Iowa on a train to travel to Roseville, California so that they could live with her parents. They stayed there nearly two years and when Bill was released from the service, they returned to the farm in Iowa. While in Iowa, two more sons were born, Greg and Scott. Finally, after three boys, daughter Marie was born.

Making a living farming was difficult in those years. In 1957, Norma's Uncle, Vern Hannon, who owned a successful patio furniture store in Scottsdale, AZ, offered Bill a job. Bill decided being a salesman was not to his liking and instead chose to use his skills in construction to work with Del Webb, a new home developer in AZ at the Camelback Apartments, where he worked for many years.

They originally lived in the Sunnyslope area, but in 1958, they moved into a brand new Del Webb development of red brick homes on Citrus Way where Norma lived until 2013 when she moved to an assisted living home. The last of their children, daughter Yvonne, was born in Phoenix in 1959.

Almost immediately, the family joined the new Methodist Church that was starting in a little house on 31st Ave and Glendale. They were charter members of that church, which later became Trinity United Methodist Church. Norma joined the choir there in 1960 and sang in it for 50 years.

Because Norma and Bill loved to dance, they joined the Cholla club, a dance group that met monthly. Norma was a musician herself and she encouraged her children to be involved in music. All three boys were a part of the Phoenix Boys Choir. Norma and Bill allowed Doug and Greg to use their living room as a practice studio for their band. They all were proud of how successful the band became, especially when they were invited to be a part of the U.S.O. tours and travel around the the world performing for the troops during the Vietnam era.

After being a stay-at-home Mom for many years, Norma decided to find work outside the home. She started working as a secretary for Caterpillar and in 1970 she decided to get her Real Estate License. Norma loved being a realtor. She worked for Century 21, Walker and Lee, Blue Ribbon Realty and finally, West USA.

At one point, she helped her church sell the parsonage and, unselfishly didn't charge a commission. Norma and her real estate buddies Patty O'Neal and Irene Taylor had a great time together for years, not only at work, but outside of work as well because of their close friendship.

Norma was a story teller and she also loved hearing people's life stories. If you were on the phone with her, she would tell you about the latest family she was working with and all the details of their lives, people you most-likely never would meet! Her children frequently continue to meet people who say, "Your mother sold me my first home." Norma was in Real Estate over 30 years, not retiring until 2004.

Her husband Bill passed in 1990 from cancer. Through it all, Norma was courageous, being confident that her Lord would see her through. Norma's faith was always important to her. She participated in the "Walk to Emmaus" in the early years of the movement, and treasured the banner and all the love she received during the retreat. She participated in other Trinity United Methodist women's retreats for a number of years and always added some "holy fun" to whatever she was doing. She especially looked forward to the Mother's Day teas, which she attended for years.

Norma also volunteered at her church faithfully in a variety of ways. She is remembered there as a faithful servant...ready to help where help was needed and always serving with joy. Her heart went out to those that she saw on the streets and she was very involved in her church's outreach programs for feeding the homeless. She was also a Stephen Minister and enjoyed visiting nursing homes to check up on members there.

During the mid-1990's, Norma began visiting long-time friends and fellow charter members of Trinity United Methodist Church, Paul and Pauline Butler. Pauline had cancer and Norma, as a Stephen Minister, was reaching out to them. After Pauline passed, Paul and Norma began to spend time together and soon discovered that love was giving them a second chance. They were married on Labor Day weekend of 1997.

Norma and Paul were able to travel to all kinds of wonderful places, both in Europe and the U.S. with a trip to Hawaii being one of their favorites. They had four years together before Paul died of cancer in August of 2001. Norma cared for him tenderly during his illness. Although their time together was short, it was very sweet, very full, and a blessing to both of their families.

After Paul passed away, Norma continued to travel with friend Florence Stafford, also a member of her church, and sometimes with her children.
Norma was not only a mother, but a grandmother and great grandmother. She treasured the time she had with her grandchildren and loved to have them over for visits. Norma loved her family dearly and willingly made many sacrifices to bring blessing to their lives. Norma was also a huge fan of the Phoenix Suns and Dan Majerle was her special favorite.

As Norma later faced the challenge of living with Alzheimer's disease, she was blessed with a devoted live-in caregiver, Yemoja. Yemoja kept her active, took her on trips and once a month had a barbecue for the family.

For the last 3 ½ years, Norma has been blessed by Gail Dixon and the staff at Dream Catcher assisted living home in Scottsdale. There Norma had a large room looking out on the pool, attentive caregivers, and the company of her precious companion, her dog, Roxie.

Norma continued to love music throughout her life. Although she later couldn't remember many things, she would remember every lyric to her favorite tunes when they were played. When Doug would come to visit and sing for her at Dream Catcher, she would often exclaim, "Oh, that's my favorite". It was a special treat for her to be able to sing with Doug and her children, even until the last few weeks of her life.

Two of Norma's sons, Greg and Scott, preceded her in death in recent months. It is difficult to know how much she understood of that, but no doubt it was a grand reunion for them in heaven.

Norma was such a loving, compassionate, generous and fun-loving person. She touched the lives of so many people as she made her journey among us.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, at 2 PM Sunday, September 25, 2016, located at 3104 W. Glendale Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85051, (602) 973-1276. There will be a reception to follow at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel 2620 W Dunlap Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85021 (Please RSVP for reception by Sept. 21, 2016 at 619-955-6138). Donations in lieu of flowers: Alzheimer's San Diego at: www.alzsd.org/tribute-gifts/, or Alzheimer's - Desert Southwest Chapter at: www.alz.org and specify Desert Southwest Chapter.