Norma R. Cabell, 101, passed away Friday, July 3, 2020, at Harrison Springs Health Center in Corydon.
Norma was born on the family farm near Ramsey on 20 July 1918 and lived her next 101 years in Harrison County.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John Cabell; her parents, Milton and Maggie Windell; one sister; and five brothers.
She is survived by her four children, Jim (JoAnn) of Nokomis, Fla., Dick (Hayden) Cabell of Charlottesville, Va., Bruce of Billings, Mont., and Becky (Jim Connell) of Lexington, Ky. She is survived by nine grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
She was also the last survivor of 38 grandchildren of Spencer Township patriarch Abraham Sieg and was also a great-great-granddaughter of Dennis Pennington.
Norma graduated from Corydon High School in 1935 at age 16. She was able to attend the out-of-district school because her brother taught science there and drove to the school each day. After high school, Norma worked for a year at Clover Valley Hatchery. She married John Cabell two months after her 18th birthday and began her adult life as a farm wife on a hardscrabble tobacco farm on the Old Forest Road in Scott Township. Being a farm housewife meant working in the fields during peak farm season, growing vegetable gardens, canning, tending livestock, doing the wash by hand, getting up early to light the fire in the kitchen cooking stove and raising a family.
During the first 12 years of their marriage, the boys were born, and she and John lived a frugal farm life. In order to avoid wasting “one red cent” on costly frills like electric bills or gasoline, they had no electricity or mechanized farm equipment.
After World War II, when civilization arrived to what had been Scott Township, John became involved in political endeavors, serving eight years as Harrison Township trustee and eight years as Harrison County clerk. The kitchen table at the farmhouse became “Base Camp One” for the Democratic Party in Harrison County as John began a 20-year stint as party chairman.
During this same time, Norma expanded her large vegetable garden and her work canning and freezing huge quantities of the garden’s bounty. Her goal each year for green beans alone was to can 100 half-gallons. Most years, she met this goal in addition to “putting up” many other vegetables. While she did this, the family never lacked for any home comforts. There were always clean socks in the drawer, warm blankets on the bed and three hearty meals on the table, without fail.
At the end of World War II, John built a large tobacco-curing barn and began growing a five-acre tobacco base each year. Besides working in the “Baccer Patch” during planting and housing seasons, she was a key member of the stripping team: Jim stripped trash, John -— lugs, Norma — leaf, Dick and Bruce — tips and handled the stripped tobacco into the bulk. All four children graduated from Purdue University with Bachelor of Science degrees.
After that era, the farm was sold in 1978, and John and Norma moved into Corydon.
John died in 1981, and Norma continued living in the home alone. Norma had multiple interests, hobbies and volunteer roles. She placed family, church and community as top priorities and never sought any recognition for her efforts. She was a faithful member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church for 84 years. She greatly enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, euchre, traveling, assisting voters, leading Bible studies and volunteering at the hospital, Red Cross blood drives and church. At her home in Corydon, she grew large flower and vegetable gardens, providing extra produce to neighbors, friends and family.
Norma lived her life following a few basic principles: People live in houses, and animals live in barns (therefore, no house pets); If you cannot say something nice about someone, then do not say anything at all (therefore, she rarely talked about Republicans); If God gives you lemons, then make lemonade; No whining; and Don’t yell at your children.
She will be missed and remembered affectionately by family, friends and loved ones.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 10, 2020, at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon, Ind. Pastor Evangeline Rajkumar will be the officiant. Burial will be in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 9, 2020, and again on Friday from 9 a.m. until the service at 10 a.m.
A special thank you to those who helped care for Norma, including: Rosie Chism, Juanita Gresham, Sue Gabaree, Debbie Durham, Nyoka Emily, Debbie Kessler, Harrison Springs, Amedysis Hospice and her Gethsemane Lutheran Church family.
The family requests that any gifts in memory of Norma be made to Gethsemane Lutheran Church through the funeral home.
Due to COVID-19, we can accommodate 60 people or less inside the building at one time. The funeral service will be broadcast on our FM transmitter 106.7 on your car radio for those wanting to listen from the safety of their car in our parking lot. The family request those who enter the funeral home please wear their mask for everyone’s safety and health.