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Norma Jean Reneau, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning, December 28, 2023, at her Tulsa residence. She was 86 years old.
Norma was born on February 6, 1937, in Dallas, Texas, to Henry and Rita (Ballard) Eschmann. She attended Richardson High School and Crozier Tech in Dallas, graduating with the Class of 1956. Norma was not only a junior/senior high school cheerleader, but was a basketball player also. Outside of the school activities, she was a beautiful model; showcasing her elegance for Sears & Roebuck Co., and Titche's department stores during her formative years.
It was at Deuback's Skating Rink, in Dallas, where she met Charles, her future husband. Despite being a girlfriend to one of Charles's good buddies at the time, fate had other plans. It seemed to be love at first sight, and Norma and Charles tied the knot on August 1, 1956, at their pastor's house in Vickery, Texas. One year later, they welcomed a baby girl, whom they loved dearly and spoiled immensely.
A little over a decade later, in the early '70s, they relocated to Tulsa for Charles's sales career, leaving behind the small-town charm of Richardson.
Professionally, Norma had a successful career working for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and later-Texas Instruments as a quality control supervisor/manager. Her talents extended beyond the corporate world, as she was outstanding in sales, especially as an independent sales rep for Tupperware throughout the earlier years.
Norma's joy extended to her love for cooking, with her chicken and dumplings, and her phenominal sweets she was known for- like her fudge, divinity, and even her amazing sweet and spicy hot pickles, being legendary among family and friends. Feeding people was her love language, and she made sure everyone around her was well-fed. Always a morning person, she exuded vibrancy and happiness, especially in the early hours before school.
Norma had many passions...one of which was collecting antiques. This took her to Canton, Texas for their 'Trade Days' which she loved going to with her mother. As her daughter grew up, Norma loved how the two of them would spend time together on Saturday mornings, searching for unique treasures at local estate sales and yard sales.... and the rest of the days- they would spend time shopping the many stores and boutiques in town.
Never leaving her house without being impeccably dressed, she was always showcasing her profound love for fashion and jewelry.
Norma's life was marked by numerous travel adventures, from road trips to numerous places throughout the years (such as Williamsburg and the New England states, California, the Grand Canyon, New Orleans... just to name a few), and the yearly family vacations to DisneyWorld with charles, her daughter, and her two granddaughters.... to amazing trips such as when she accompanied her daughter and granddaughters to Austria- when the girls sang at the United Nations.
Norma took great pride in managing the music careers of her granddaughters from day 1.... And never missed a chance to talk about, and show pictures of, her girls. She was responsible for just about every fantastic venue and location they performed at over the years; from locally, to Branson Missouri and multiple states beyond. She played a pivotal role in the success of the Whitaker Sisters' singing careers, including her granddaughter (Alaina's) American Idol journey 15 years ago today.
Norma is survived by her loving husband, Charles; daughter Lana Kay Reneau Whitaker (&boyfriend, Mark); granddaughters Brittney Swanson (Noah), and Alaina Swanson (Nate); and great-grandchildren Wyatt, Naomi, Dean, Marlowe, and Walker Swanson. She is preceded in death by her parents.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2PM on Friday, January 12, 2024, in the Rivercrest Chapel at 13329 S. Memorial Drive in Bixby. A reception will follow in the Great Room as family and friends come together to honor the beautiful life of Norma Jean Reneau.