NORMA V. GLASER, 83
Loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
Norma V. Glaser, 83, of Centerville, formerly of North Easton and Brockton, passed away after a lengthy period of declining health from complications of Parkinsonism on March 5, 2017, in her home surrounded by her loving family.
She was the beloved wife of the late Robert F. Glaser, Sr. They were married for 64 years at the time of his passing.
Mom was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and in her roles as a mother and wife she was our Number One Fan. First and foremost she was a remarkable and loving human being with a “beautiful soul” that we all are blessed to bear witness to.
Born in Brockton, MA on August 15, 1933 to the late Ada V. (Swanson) and Vincent L. Johnson, she was the oldest of 9 children (both brothers and sisters). Norma was not only a devoted daughter, but a devoted and loving sister during all of her younger and adult years.
She graduated from Oliver Ames High School of North Easton, MA in June 1951.
As the oldest of 9 children herself, she was not just a daughter and sister, but also a mom-in-training at a young age. Her father was a Swedish baker. It was a time in this country when some families did not have much but each other. I would often hear her talk about working for a local lawyer as a babysitter, and assistant to the family and as a Hilliard’s Girl Hilliard’s Chocolate Store in North Easton. Throughout her life she could tell her kids what the filling in each chocolate was based upon its markings. She made sure there was always a box for each of our families in later years.
She would talk about using some of her earnings to purchase needs for her siblings. The story goes that the siblings had to wait their turn to get a new pair of shoes… sometimes a hole in the shoe sole would appear before it was one’s turn for shoes, requiring a piece of traced cardboard in the shoe to cover the hole.
She was a mentor, a teacher and an example for her sisters,” per her sister Ginger.
On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1951 she met her “Valentine’s Sweetheart” at a roller skating rink in Brockton. Robert was an Air Force man stationed at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. After Mom’s graduation from high school in June, they packed up the old English Ford, went to Truax Air Force Base in Madison, Wisconsin where Dad was now stationed. On July 1, 1951 they were married at Our Savior Lutheran Church by the Reverend Nils Oesley. Two young people in love, Dad the oldest of 11, our mother, oldest of 9 children.
Chapter 31 in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible reads, “a capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life, seeks wool and flax, works with willing hands, provides food for her household and she looks well to the ways of her household and she does not eat the bread of idleness, her children rise up and call her happy, her husband too and he praises her.”
Oh, how our mother was the living 20th-21st Century living epitome of the “capable wife.” She would do anything she could and try anything to find ways to stretch a dollar to help the Glaser household to thrive and to make sure our Dad’s weekly paychecks from his hard work were always expended with purpose and respect.
She was the “capable wife” who: did in-home permanents for her daughters and haircuts for her sons, knitted hats and mittens for her children, never had a license or a car and stayed home with her children most of her life, was fiscally frugal and responsible in her management of the household finances and for period of time provided in-home child care for a working mom to bring in some money.
She was the “capable wife” who responded to her choking toddler by extracting a screw from his throat, removed razor blades from the mouth of another toddler son, and performed many other acts of courage and resolve. When construction work slowed in the winter months, she sought work at Alden Products in Brockton.
She was the capable wife who: in 1978 started a part-time job at Liberty Mutual when her youngest daughter was ten and eventually became a full-time customer service representative. Yet with all this, she always kept an impeccable house inside and out. Many a visitor to our house would marvel at this. Outside she did yard work. She swung a pretty good “dull” ax with her sons and made a yard for us out of what had been a Cape Cod landscape of trees and pine needles. Back in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on the farm where we lived in a basement apartment, the pigs would often get loose and Mom and the women would herd them back to the pen.
For 64 years of marriage she was the capable wife, proud of her “Elk Star Husband,” children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and her home. As many have said… “Norma was special.”
It has been said, “Your children are your greatest gifts in life, caring for them is your thank you.”
Our mother’s lifetime provided a living example of a distinguished motherhood. She demonstrated her thankfulness over and over, innumerable times, for better than 83 years.
Her co-worker Gigi at Liberty Mutual tells this story: “Before the workday began she would keep us up-to-date on the children’s activities: birthday parties, Christmas presents, bridal showers, weddings, etc. Her life revolved around the love she had for all of you and your Dad. This dialogue did not affect her work… everyone knew Norma and would ask for her at the counter… she could calm the most upset ones down! Your mother was a loving, caring person and you were so blessed to have her.”
As Easter approaches I think of how she fussed about our Easter apparel… always a new dress, ribbons and an Easter bonnet/hat for her daughters and sports coats, ties (perhaps an occasional top hat) for her sons, and new shoes for all.
As in Proverbs in the Bible… “All her household were clothed in crimson… strength and dignity were her clothing and she opened her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness was on her tongue.”
At Easter our parents would get nine empty shoe boxes and use them as Easter baskets, which we found all lined up that morning.
At Christmas Dad would work putting up house foundations for another concrete form contractor on weekends. They would pay for the Christmas layaway of gifts for us with his earnings. Although there were several of us, Mom would painstakingly make sure the number of gifts were the same. Remarkable to me about their Christmas giving and just giving in general was their thoughtfulness for others. One year they made decorated Christmas candleholders and another year Christmas wreaths of hard candy for their friends, many of them elderly, whom we would all visit.
As the grandchildren began to arrive, she would look forward to her annual Christmas shopping trip to the Reading, PA outlets, where she would adorn all of them with carefully selected items of clothing as gifts.
Birthdays were constant in our family. Over her 83 years she witnessed 610 birthdays for her sons, daughters and husband. I found her little “Hallmark Date Book” full of the birthdays of sons, daughters, sons- and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all complete with length and weight at birth.
Just as her church life was important to her in her youth, she exposed all of us to a spiritual education, teaching Sunday School, as she had in her youth. All 9 were confirmed and made communion at the First Lutheran Church in West Barnstable.
She would always say, “We are behind you, we are backing you up.” She was always our Number One Fan, our eternal cheerleader at sporting events, pageants, school events, graduations, holding political signs on street corners, etc.
One evening as her disease was progressing as we were joking at the table about 0-10 ratings, I vividly remember her saying, “My kids are all tens!” She Believed In Us! Very important to children… a mother, who believes in them… we had such a mother.
If there were a Ph.D. awarded for motherhood she would have had 9 of them.
Thank you, Mom! We will miss you.
Norma is survived by her children: Robert F. Glaser, Jr. and Diane (Neff) of Sandwich; James L. Glaser of Centerville; Kathy L. (Glaser) and Frank Goodfellow of Sandwich; Diane M. (Glaser) and William Brown (deceased) of Sandwich; Randy A. Glaser and Suzanne (Bergeron) of Osterville; Joyce C. Glaser of California; Janet A. (Glaser) and Jon Gemme of Centerville; and Julie S. (Glaser) and Brian Hibbard of Yarmouth.
She is also survived by 24 grandchildren: Allyson, Erika, Ashley, James, Jr., Kirsten, Sarah, Joshua, Garrett, Grace, Andrew, Christopher, Stephanie, Matthew, Thomas, Nicholas, Kurt, Kraig, Landen, Lauren, Jon, Julie, Ryan, Erik, and Lynne, and 4 great-grandchildren.
Norma is also survived by sisters Lorraine (Johnson) Dixon, husband John (deceased), Jeanette (Johnson) Mennino, husband Frank, Virginia “Ginger” (Johnson) Wilson, husband Peter, Pamela (Johnson) Duffy, husband Robert and Susan McPhail.
Also survived by brother Richard “Dickie” Johnson, wife Candy and brother-in-law Robert Moffit. Previously deceased by sister Carol (Johnson) Moffit and by brother Robert Johnson.
Calling hours are Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 9:30-11:00 AM at First Lutheran Church at 1663 Main Street (Route 6A), West Barnstable, MA 02668. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM at the church.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in their mother’s memory to First Lutheran Church (Directed to the Memorial Garden) at P.O. Box 157, West Barnstable, MA 02668 or to the National Parkinson Foundation at 200 South East First Street, Suite 800, Miami, Florida 33131 (Directed to Research).
The family extends heartfelt appreciation and thanks for the “wonderful” care our mother received from Timothy Bilouris, MD and staff, Bayada Home Healthcare, the Visiting Nurse Association and Elder Services of Cape Co.