Norma Ann Lee (Stoner, Cobb), formerly of Murray Street departed this life October 12, 2019. She was born December 10, 1931 to the union of the late Mont Zimmer and Elizabeth Lee. There were four children born to this union: Jimmy and Willy who died in childbirth, Sarah Elizabeth and Norma Ann.
Norma gave her life to Christ and joined Pastor George M. Joseph of Faith Baptist Church. She was very active during this time, taking Moody Bible College classes, working in the kitchen and helping with the youth choir. Norma loved taking four of her grandchildren along with her: Bernie, Dayatra, Horace and Haven, who were baptized in 1983. Norma married Benjamin F. Stoner and to that union two children were born: Benjamin F. Jr., who preceded her in death and Brenda Ann. In 1959 Norma met Oscar D. Cobb and they were married in 1960. Through this marriage in 1965 she gained a daughter, Rosie Belinda (Linda) and a son, Oscar D. Jr., who preceded her in death. Norma often said “Linda is more like a daughter to me than a step-daughter.”
In 1947 she left high school, and later pursued her education to become an accountant. Norma attended a newly opened school, known today as Ivy Tech. After graduating she applied for a position in accounting with the Associates Corp. Norma was given a broken comptometer for her employment test. She advised the tester immediately, who confirmed the machine was broken and she was then given a working machine and Norma passed the test with a perfect score. She was then hired as one of the first “women of color” to work at Associates in their accounting department. She also worked at the South Bend Housing Authority for a short time with her dear friend, Vernetta Nolan.
After two years Norma applied for an accounting position with Bendix and was hired at Bend Missile Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. When the plant closed in 1972 she transferred to the main plant in South Bend and worked there until she retired in January 1988. After retirement she carried her Accounting skills to H&R Block where she worked the tax season for over ten years.
As a Bendix employee Norma continued her education by attending Indiana University of South Bend, where she received her Associate Degree in accounting. Norma was a drum major for higher education being the key to success. She set the bar high for all her children, no grade lower than a “C” and no more than one was allowed. Norma was always available to help with homework. Norma believed in early education for her grandchildren, making Sesame Street the TV program of the day, as well as reading to and with her grand and great-grand’s whenever they were with her. Books and learning toys were always part of their Christmas gifts.Norma took a lot of pride in being able to recite the entire alphabet- forwards And backwards and always tried to teach the grandchildren to do the same.
Norma was active in the Urban League of South Bend for several years. Her involvement was at the behest of her extended family Leona Kimble who was an activist in South Bend. She was a member of the Bendix Girls Club and Secretary of the Bendix Retirees group by preparing and distributing the Bendix News Letter. Norma always enjoyed going to the Alpha Kappa Apha Soroity luncheon’s when her adopted daughter/friend Irene Eskridge would always invite her and her Sister Sarah to come.
Norma loved her grandchildren and wanted to be sure they were spoiled rotten. She was affectionately known by "Little Granny" from one of her grandsons Kimani.
Cherishing her memory are daughters: Brenda Ann Stewart of Chicago, Illinois, Rosie Belinda Hairston (John) of South Bend, Indiana, Sarah Tillman (sister) of Chicago, Illinois, Irene Eskridge, of Indianapolis, Indiana. She leaves eight grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, 13 great-great grandchildren.
Preceding her in death was her father and mother, Mont Summer and Elizabeth Lee; sons: Benjamin F. Stoner Jr., and Oscar D. Cobb Jr.
The family has chosen Riverview Cemetery for her earthly resting place.
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