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Norma Ballard

Norma Jean Ballard

December 24, 1931 - July 11, 2020
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December 24, 1932 to July 11,2020

Norma Jean Ballard died of natural causes on 07/11/2020 in Greeley, CO. Despite the corona virus epidemic, the hospital allowed her some visitors, so she was able to be comforted by a few close family members. She was 88 years old. Born in Mill Creek, Oklahoma at the height of The Great Depression on Christmas Eve, she was the youngest of Joe and Pearl Tripp’s 8 children: Lyndon, Jo Hannah (Sis), Hazel, Jane, Cletus, PW (Tubby) aka Tripp, and Willa Dean. All of them but her brother, PW, of Amarillo, TX have preceded her in death. A grandson, Anthony Alongi, also preceded her in death in 2015. A niece, Cathy Tripp and a nephew, Robert Hall also preceded her in death
She is survived by her son, Richard Ballard, of Greeley, CO, a daughter, Sherry Alongi of St, James, NY, and 3 granddaughters; Angelina Alongi of Napa, CA, Andrea Beauman of Nesconset, NY, and Nicole Ballard of Denver, CO. Additionally, she leaves behind 5 nephews (Ronald Lessley of Claremore, OK, Kenneth Baker of Tishomingo, OK, Michael Angiorlis of York, PA, Roger Ashby OF Hesperia, CA, Terry Tripp of Amarillo, TX) and 4 nieces (Barbara Mason of Houschton GA, Carol Bamonte of Highlands Ranch, CO, Cindi Orendorff of Gettysburg, PA, Lyndee Tripp, Tulsa ,OK) and extended family.
Norma worked for various companies during her lifetime. Back in the day before dial, touch tone or smart phones, she was a telephone operator in Roswell, NM. Later in her career she worked at a variety of administrative and accounting positions in PA and CO, including AMF Head and Beech Aircraft in Boulder, CO. After retiring she spent her time enjoying her grandchildren, gardening, canning, volunteering for the ASPCA and sewing, the latter of which she was particularly proficient. In fact. she made all the shirts for a drum and bugle corps, which her son was a member. She also quilted all the quilt tops her mother had pieced together from flour sacks decades earlier.
Beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, she will be remembered for her untiring work ethic, standing up for women’s rights and setting an example for single mothers, long before it was politically correct and fashionable to do so, but an economic necessity never the less, and unshakeable loyalty to her family, even when it was difficult, at times.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to your local animal rescue or favorite charity would be appreciated
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Andrea Beauman

Posted at 06:29am
Hi Grandma!!! I know you are feeling much better now. When I was younger we used to go hiking. You handed me a magic walking stick. I could hike forever! We used to go on road trips when I was in high school and we would see billboards for tourist attractions on our way to our main destination, that's how we found Bear Country USA, and the ice caves next to a volcano. That ice cave was my favorite! However, on the ice cave trip you went off the trail and you busted your ankle and I told you to stay on the path. Thanks for listening to my crazy conspiracies, ghost sightings, and strange things in the sky and not thinking I was too crazy. ;-) I always enjoyed our Thursday phone calls. I will miss those but you always know where to find me. :-) Love Andrea

PS Jeff and all the animals love and miss you too

Angelina Alongi

Posted at 04:57pm
Bye Grandma😭. We had some great times and good laughs. Like the time we drove down the sidewalk on a one way street in NYC but we found the queens midtown tunnel 😂. Our coast to coast road trips were epic and unforgettable.
You taught me how to shoot a gun, fix anything using ingenuity and to not take 💩 from anyone. You are dearly loved and will always be missed. ❤️

Carol Sue Bamonte July 12, 2020

Posted at 10:38am
My first memories of my Aunt Norma Jean were of Sherry’s infancy. Before Cathy and Sherry, I was the favored child in Roswell. My Uncle Tubby brought me toys and gifts from his trips to Mexico. He gave me money. My Grandma adored and petted me, rocking me and saving special treats for me like boysenberries with cream. Then Cathy and Sher-ry arrived. All of a sudden, I was ignored and everything was all about the babies. No more toys from Mexico and loose change. Tubby had Cathy and Norma Jean had Sherry. All the attention was sucked up by the two babies. Mostly Sherry because she was around more. Carol was just the scruffy 5 year old.
I recall one Sunday when she was brand new, all were gathered in the living room and Nor-ma Jean was attempting to nurse Sherry (no small feat with the limited equipment Norma Jean had). Sherry bit her and Norma Jean yelped and threw up her legs which of course caused the ba-by to cry. All was pandaemonium with my Grandma hovering over Norma Jean. Confusion for 5 year old me. I thought Sherry was eating Norma Jean.
The next memories were of Norma Jean back in Roswell with 2 babies single and working for the telephone company. Grandma kept Sherry and Ricky thru the week and Sis kept them on the weekends. I thought that Norma Jean was the most glamorous person in the whole world. Telephone operator - so exciting. I used to play like I was working as a telephone operator with my dolls going to Grandma’s house.
Norma Jean asked my Mom (Sis) to make her a cocktail dress for some social occasion. I can’t imagine what event required a cocktail dress in Roswell in the 50’s. In our house was what seemed like miles of black net and black silky fabric. I was enthralled. Norma Jean was young and pretty and making her own living. She wore lipstick. It was kind of thrilling for me to see her operating without a husband. Kind of edgy though at that time edgy wasn’t a word.
Little did I know what she was going thru trying to make a living in the 50’s. She did it before there was any women’s movement. She did it the old fashioned, Okey way, she outworked every-body and clawed her way to the middle. The middle was the best women could possibly attain in those years and she did it!
Then came the Gettysburg years where we only saw Sherry and Ricky in the summer when they stayed with Grandma during the week and with us on the weekends. We saw little of Norma Jean in those years but I always had a picture of her in my mind - making it on her own. Buying a house on her own. Independent and sharp. A wee bit scandalous - at least for her sisters and my Grandma.
After I got married and moved to Denver, she kept in contact with me. She sent me some beautiful end tables from where she worked. We started corresponding and I was extolling the virtues of Colorado and how she should move here. Before Mary Tyler Moore thought of the scenario, Norma Jean sold her house, packed up her little station wagon and her kids and her enormous dog, Dino and moved without a job to Longmont. Very courageous.
She landed a great job and bought another house and soldiered on raising kids and working. her behind off. She fixed up her house herself. She had her own tools. She was amazing.
When I went into labor for Mark, Sherry was at my house to help with toddler Donna. Norma Jean came home from work and saw I was trying not to scare Sherry. Sherry asked “Does it hurt?” I said “Not that bad.” Norma Jean said, “Tell her how it hurts. Let her know!” She was all for scaring the heck out of Sherry.
Fast forward a few years and 2 more kids. I’m all about motherhood and Cub Scouts and Church work, baking bread from wheat I ground myself. Running a food co-op from my base-ment and canning vegetables. Throughly engrossed in home, kids and church. Out of the blue, I am thrust into a nightmare where I find myself facing a divorce with 4 kids under 11 and no mar-ketable skills. I fled to Oklahoma to figure out next steps.
My Mom asked me what I wanted to do. I said “I want to talk to Norma Jean.” After hearing the gory details, she said “ I knew he was an ***. Divorce him. You have got to get a job and make a living for your kids It will be hard but you are smart. You can do it.” That was the sum total of her advice. No coddling. No tears. Just hard truth. She did say “Let’s see if the Mormon church takes care of their own like they say they do.” The Church did help me some but I didn’t need all that much. I did it the Norma Jean way. I just outworked everyone around me. Of all the displaced homemakers who went thru the college program I got into, only 1 graduated - Norma Jean’s niece and Pearl Tripp’s granddaughter. Blood helps but examples make the difference. Thanks Norma Jean for beating down a path and showing the way. It was a lot easier for me than for you and I appreciate all you did. You could be tough. - you had to be. You could be a little bit-ter - no wonder with what you experienced. You had an opinion on every subject. - you earned your opinions. You were definitely blunt but also tender hearted with family and close friends and animals. Once you were on her short list, you were there for life.
I love you and I’ll miss you until we are all together again at Grandma’s knee telling all the old stories and laughing.

Nicole Ballard

Posted at 06:10pm
Grandma, that last few days have been awfully hard without you. I was lucky to have you around to call and hear you say, “be good, Sugar”. I miss hearing your stories even if you were starting to repeat the same ones.

I’ll miss your pies and deviled eggs every holiday or going to your apartment with Chick fill A just to chat.

There are so many things I wish you were going to be here for. I wish you’d get to see me get married or meet my new puppy. My last day with you I told you I put a deposit down on a dog just so you’d wake up and lecture me about how an apartment isn’t ideal for a dog. That might be true but I believe I Inherited the Tripp’s genes for how well we love animals and would do anything for them.

There are so many things I admire from you: Your work ethic, your independence, and your strength. You had a tough exterior but a soft soul. You were beautiful even the last day I got to be with you. I wish I had gotten your blue eyes.

I like to think that now you’re watching down on me and as a nurse and in every day life. You are missed more than you could ever know but I find comfort in knowing you are running around with your family and I’ll meet you up there (if I behave enough) and hear more of your stories one day. Love you so so much and missing you always.

Sherry Alongi

Posted at 12:43pm
I am posting this from Mom's oldest niece, Barbara Mason.

Norma Jean was only 13 when I was born so I always thought of her as my
young, fun aunt. When we were kids and she came to visit, our house
always rocked with laughter, teasing and funny stories. As the youngest
sibling she felt it was her duty to look after her elder siblings. She
visited Mom and Daddy frequently. If they ever had a health problem she
would try to come and help. I think they all three drew even closer as
the years went by and loved each other a lot.

She loved her two children who she raised as a single mother and was
very proud of their accomplishments. Her grandchildren were the apples
of her eye.

She was always proud of her background and understood that her work
ethic and success were based on her raising. She loved animals and her
pets had really good lives.

Her family will remember her and grieve our loss but feel she is up
there with her sisters. All laughing and talking and having a wonderful

Her niece,

Barbara Mason

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