On November 12, 1930, in the small town of Osage, Okla., Norma Lee Goodman was born. She lived there with her family until the pivotal year of 1948 when she graduated as valedictorian from Osage High School. She left there and moved to Cleveland, Tenn., where she went to work as a proofreader at the Church of God of Prophecy Bible Place (now International Offices). While Norma was there, she met and married the tall, dark and handsome man with the million-dollar smile – S. E. “Buddy” Gibbons.
Following his work assignments, they lived several years in Knoxville, Tenn., but spent most of their lives in Cleveland. Norma was a dedicated wife, mother and homemaker. She was shy and unassuming, but was always faithfully working behind the scenes to fulfill her responsibilities. She was generous and compassionate, often visiting, sharing, and feeding those who seemed to be overlooked by others. For many years, there seemed to be an endless stream of her children and their friends around her dining room table which was always full of country cooking. She was an excellent seamstress and made (and patched!) many clothes, not just for her family but for friends as well. In her earlier years, Norma used her beautiful penmanship to write letters and notes of encouragement to others. While she didn’t continue professionally as a proofreader, it wasn’t uncommon for her family to pick up a newspaper or magazine and find diacritical spelling and grammar correction markings on them. And it certainly wasn’t unusual for them to be the recipients of her instructions on correct grammar!
Norma accepted the Lord as her Savior when she was a child and faithfully served Him until her death on February 4, 2019. She supported her local church, missionaries, neighbors and friends. She exemplified the Biblical description of a deacon’s wife, supporting her husband in that role. She cared for him during his lengthy recuperation from a serious injury and then later as his health failed. Many times, she nursed sick children back to health. Proverbs 31 provides a word portrait of this virtuous woman, who conscientiously “watche[d] over the ways of her household” (v. 27).
Norma is predeceased by her husband of 57 years, S. E. Gibbons, parents George A. Goodman and Gracie Faye Goodman Carter, sister Blanche Carter, and brother Earl Fletcher. She is survived by her children Sterlene (Dwayne) Murray of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Debbie (Larry) Burchett of Knoxville, Tenn.; Steve (Val) Gibbons of Niota, Tenn; and Scott Gibbons of Georgetown, Tenn.; by her granddaughter Sarah (Daniel) Hobbs and great granddaughter Grace Hobbs, of Hendersonville, TN; by her sister Georgia Dixon of Bartlesville, Okla.; and by her stepbrother, Dale (Connie) Carter of Cleveland, Okla.
A celebration of life service was held on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at the Peerless Road Church, where Norma was a member, in Cleveland, Tenn. Interment followed at Hilcrest Memorial Gardens. Rush Funeral Home , Cleveland, Tenn., was in charge of arrangements.