Richelle, by sister Lisa's daughter, recently wrote this tribute to my mother, Norma Gibby. With Mother's Day approaching, I thought it a great time to post the tribute. We are all so very grateful for her life and legacy, and love her very much.
"My Grandma, My hero
Norma Gibby is my grandmother and my hero. I have never known someone so strong, optimistic, and lovely. My grandmother has always been the rock in our family. She never fails to have a smile on her face and her faith is unwavering.
Norma was born in Basin Idaho and lived there until she was three years old. She moved several times throughout her life. Some of the places she has lived include Burley Idaho, Highland Park California, Glendale California, Provo Utah, Fullerton California and Mission Viejo California.
When Norma was only ten years old, her mother passed away. Norma and her older sister were left to tend their younger siblings and learn how to cook, clean, iron, etc. When asked how she was able to cope and get through this trial she said that she was "born brave" and she just did what she had to do. Life didn't get any easier when Norma's father passed away a few years later when she was 16 years old. She was forced to support herself and her sister financially and emotionally. After lots of hard work and dedication Norma and her sister bought their first home in California for 7,000 dollars.
Norma has worked everywhere from the ice cream parlor to being a "lead girl" and building fuel tanks for airplanes. Wherever she worked, she was always in a leadership position, either as a manager or a supervisor.
When Norma was 22 years old she married the man of her dreams, Delbert Gibby.Del wrote her poems and letters from the day they met up until the end of his life.Their love was rare and beautiful. They moved to Utah and Del got his college degree at Brigham Young University. After having a few children, they moved back to Glendale California where Del taught for a few years before they settled in Fullerton California for 18 years. Not only did she have four children of her own to look after but Norma ran a daycare out of her home where she tended several kids at a time. After their children were grown Norma and her husband moved to Mission Viejo California, where they lived for the next 20 years until Del passed away from Cancer. Norma then moved to Laguna Nigel and has lived there for the past 6 years.
I was pretty sure I already knew what her answer would be when I asked my grandma what she values most in her life. She has always made it known that the most important things to her are her family and her membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Norma loves her life right now. She feels a lot of gratitude for her posterity and for the great people she is blessed to spend her time with. When she looks back on the her life she can't believe how fast the years have gone.
When I was given this assignment, the first person that popped into my head was my sweet Grandma. At 86 years of age she has this love for life that I cannot describe. She sees the beauty in everything and the good in everyone. Grandma spends her time cheering up friends and neighbors and doing little acts of service for those in need. She has made it a goal to ask herself what she can do for someone else everyday.She possesses a love that is pure and Christlike.
Her trials have made her stronger and she has made it through the most challenging of times because of her strength and courage . She has taught me how to be resilient.She has taught me how to be grateful. She has taught me how to love.When i think of her I cant help but think of the lyrics to her favorite song "I hope you dance"....
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
I hope you dance.
Norma Gibby has danced through life. Always finding joy in the journey. An inspiration to me and everyone around her"