Norma Henry Sutherland passed away peacefully at her home on October 28, 2019. Norma was born in Wichita, Kansas on December 31, 1923 to Trine and Cecil Henry. A New Year’s Eve birthday was always a festive event - usually dinner parties with friends in the early years and, more recently, with family and grandchildren. She graduated from Wichita North High School in 1941 and is an alumnae of the University of Kansas, graduating in 1945. At KU, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and had the honor of being chosen the Jayhawker Yearbook Beauty Queen by none other than Gregory Peck.
Norma met her future husband Dwight D. Sutherland while at KU. The relationship almost never happened as he came down with the mumps on their first date and failed to pick her up. Norma thought he had stood her up! All was explained, and on February 2,1946, she and Dwight were married at the Episcopal Chapel in Wichita. Following a honeymoon to the family farm in Maysville, Arkansas, they made their home on Nall Avenue in Overland Park. Together they shared interests in travel, tennis, KU sports and horse racing.
Norma was an accomplished gardener and photographer. She was a member of the Kansas City Rose Society and The Westport Garden Club (The Garden Club of America). She served as WGC President as well as GCA Zone Chair, Zone X and XI Flower Show Committee Vice Chair, and Zone Judging, Awards and Horticulture Rep. She served as both GCA Floral and Horticulture Judge as well a prospective Photography Judge. Her GCA national positions included GCA Board of Directors, GCA Vice President, GCA Endowment Committee and GCA Board of Associates. She was awarded the Medal of Merit, Zone XI Creative Leadership Award and Zone XI Judging Achievement Award. Norma, along with her friend Susie Vawter, represented the GCA at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1993, winning a Bronze medal for their entry. Her garden has been documented by the Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution. She participated in the creation and design of a garden at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, where Dwight had served as president of the board of directors.
Norma was a member of the Mission Hills Investment Club, the Junior League, Mission Hills Country Club, Saddle and Sirloin Club, the Kansas City Country Club and the Colony Club (New York).
She was an avid bridge player and enjoyed sewing and knitting. The strawberry hats she knitted for grandchildren and family friends were cherished favorites. She was a devoted grandmother, delighting in hearing of her grandchildren’s activities, achievements and goals. She was “Nomo” to those who knew her best and greeted all alike with a hearty “woo hoo.” She enthusiastically pursued her family’s ancestry, a hobby she shared with her niece, Anne Henry Ralls. She loved attending KU basketball games and could often tell you the names of all the players.
Norma is predeceased by her husband Dwight Dierks Sutherland, Sr. and brothers Robert (Bob) Henry and Dr. Clarke Latta Henry, Sr. with whom she shared a dry sense of humor and a love of pranks. She is survived by her sister, Shirley Dixon as well as four children and their spouses, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The memorial service will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to The Westport Garden Club or the Sutherland Family Nursing Award in care of KU Endowment, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence KS 66044.