Vale Verity Norman, a woman of service

NICOLA KALMARBroome Advertiser

A “special lady” with “exceptional gracious manner” is how many will remember treasured Broome resident Verity Norman who passed away on February 5.

Mrs Norman, the wife of John Norman — the son and grandson of pioneering pearling masters Ted and Hugh Norman respectively — left a significant mark on the town’s community through her outstanding contribution and tireless voluntary work.

A special gathering was held by the Sisters of St John of God and Broome Historical Society last Wednesday, at the Broome Heritage Centre, to commemorate their friend and colleague, and share their stories of a remarkable lady.

During her 12 years in Broome, Mrs Norman was known as a “tireless worker” for her commitment to preserve the town’s history.

Mrs Norman became a dedicated volunteer at the SSJG heritage centre and Broome Historical Society.

Mr Norman said the museum had been a focus of interest for his wife, and she greatly benefitted from her hours of volunteer work and the fellowship of likeminded people.

Another side of her life was her passion and zeal for details of the life and courage of women in the outback.

Mrs Norman’s first visit to Broome was in 1990, and she subsequently returned each year.

She initially learned a significant amount of the town’s early days through her mother-in-law and other locals.

“She talked with my mother over 30 years about her life in the Kimberley and encouraged her to record detail of that life,” Mr Norman said.

This resulted in Mrs Norman’s written account “A pearler’s wife”, from their published masterpiece, A Pearling Master’s Journey.

A friend of Mrs Norman’s described her as a “special lady” who made other people around her special, and was the “epitome” of what a wife is to a husband.

Many remembered her as a lady with “great strength and energy” who made the lives of others richer by her tremendous support and courage.

SSJG director Sister Pat Rhatigan said Mrs Norman worked “behind the scenes” in many areas and was a faithful supporter of the women’s congregation.

Close friend Anne Bloemen said Mrs Norman was one of the “most generous friends” she ever had who “raised the bar” and inspired other people to volunteer.

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