Norma Jean Poole Barnhart, 89, died June 19, 2017, at her home in The Mooring On Foreside in Cumberland, Maine, surrounded by family. A native of Illinois, where she lived most of her life, she moved to Maine in 2011 to be close to her daughter.
She was born Sept. 26, 1927, in Lincoln, the daughter of Mason Louis Poole and Betsy Hannah Kirkman Poole. Norma grew up in Lincoln, the oldest of the five Poole children.
In 1945, she graduated with honors from Lincoln Community High School. She earned an academic scholarship from the state of Illinois to attend college at Illinois State University. It was at college that she met her future husband, James Edward Barnhart of Streator. Norma and Jim were married on Aug. 24, 1947, in Lincoln, and settled in Bloomington, where they lived most of their married life.
For most of her life, Norma combined being a wife and mother with working outside of the home. She worked as a legal secretary before her daughter was born. Later, she served as the parish secretary at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, worked as a clerk in the McLean County Supervisor of Assessments office, and in 1966 began her favorite job, with the IBM Corp. office in Bloomington, where she worked for 23 years, retiring in 1989, with the title of administrative marketing specialist.
Norma’s hobbies included playing bridge and golf, both of which she enjoyed until she was 83. She also enjoyed travel, and in retirement, she fulfilled a wish to tour the United Kingdom, the homeland of her ancestors.
Norma became an Episcopalian after marrying Jim, and she was a devoted, active and valued member of every church she attended: St. Matthew’s in Bloomington; Christ the King in Normal; St. Andrew’s in Las Cruces, N.M.; and St. Bartholomew’s in Yarmouth, Maine.
After they retired, Norma and Jim lived for a few years in New Mexico and next spent a few years in Maine, before returning to Bloomington. After Jim died in August 2010, Norma returned to Maine to be close to their daughter. Norma lived independently until a year ago when her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease made assisted living necessary.
Norma is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Jamie and Joe Michaud of Cumberland Foreside, Maine; her beloved grandchildren, Alexander James Michaud, Seattle, and Katharine Claire Michaud, Portland, Maine; two sisters, Carol (Elvin) Schmidt, Sarasota, Fla., and Linda Sue (Joe) Diers, Lincoln. She is also survived by eight nieces and five nephews.
She was predeceased by her brother, Robert Louis Poole; a sister, Mildred “Mickey” Poole Gehlbach; and four nephews.
Her funeral was June 28 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Yarmouth, Maine.
A committal service will be 1:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Christ the King Episcopal Church, Normal, with burial at 4 p.m. at East Lawn Memorial Gardens, Bloomington.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Christ the King Episcopal Church, 1210 S. Fell Ave., Normal, IL 61761.