On October 31, 2021, Norma Mabel Mayer O’Brien peacefully bid farewell to her large earthly family and reunited with her even larger heavenly family.
Norma was born August 15, 1929, to Otillia and Harry Mayer in Philadelphia, PA. There she grew up and attended public schools, graduating from Olney High School.
Between her junior and senior years she and a classmate traveled to Wildwood, NJ to work the summer waiting tables for tourists enjoying vacations at the beach, where “I made enough money for my room and board as well as for all my school clothes.”
Her next job after graduation was with Bell Telephone Company where she first “caught the bus, then the trolley, then the subway, and then the elevated to the other side of Philly.”
Norma’s strong work ethic and back east attitude would serve her well when she met U.S. Army G.I., Larry Michael O’Brien, whom she married May 16, 1951.
After living in the same home her entire childhood through young adulthood, Norma followed Larry to Alaska, New Jersey, Kansas—“hated all the tornado warnings…every stinking night another warning”, California, Arizona, Oklahoma,and Texas—not necessarily in that order, nor in any semblance of order when Larry said “go.” In the late 80s Norma and Larry settled in Baird, TX, and made Callahan County their home. Norma worked for the Baird Meals on Wheels, the Baird Whistle Stop Café, the Gym Diner on Elmdale Road, and finally an Abilene dry cleaners before retiring and handing over the keys to her Buick.
After moving to each new town, Norma maintained a variety of jobs that helped sustain and feed her growing brood of seven children. Each child had his or herfavorites of their mom’s special made-from-scratch meals, which she happily prepared for them, even up through the majority of this year.
She loved having her family members close, sharing her quiet moral values, herfrugal financial advice, “save a little from each pay check,” and an open, welcoming home. She enjoyed reading suspense novels, crocheting afghan throws, and working needlepoint with a skill not matched by any other lefty.
She will be missed each day in small and large ways by every person blessed to have been included in this incredible woman’s circle.
Preceding Norma in death were: her parents; her two brothers; her husband; her oldest son, Larry Michael O’Brien, Jr.; and her youngest son, Matthew O’Brien. Surviving Norma are: her daughter, Martina Biehle and husband Mike of Yuba City, CA; her son Pat O’Brien and wife Robyn of Clyde; her son John O’Brien and wife Ruth of Houston; her daughter Naomi Santos and husband Julian of Baird; her daughter Sarah Seip and husband Brett, of Santa Fe, TX; sixteen grandchildren and thirty great-grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at a later time.
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