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Norma Jean Sutton

Updated: Jun 24


Norma Jean Sutton, 86, of Johnston, passed away peacefully in the very early hours of June 17, 2022.


Norma was born to the late Helen and Donald Marlenee, November 10, 1935, in Des Moines. Norma graduated from Redfield High School in 1953 and received a BA from Drake University in 1957. Norma completed her Master’s in Counseling from Drake University in 1986.


She married Stephen Sutton in 1959, and they rooted themselves firmly in their Johnston home in 1968, where she lived the rest of her life. Norma is survived by her husband, her three children: David Sutton, of Des Moines; Denice Sutton, of Johnston; and Spencer Sutton (Andy), of Ankeny. She is also survived by two grandchildren Allyson and Zane Sutton. She was predeceased by her son, Daniel Sutton.


Mom was an exceptional wife and mother. She cared deeply about her family, her neighbors, and her friends, and was well-loved in return. There was virtually no such thing as a stranger to her. Her children joke that if you had dialed a wrong number, and Norma answered, you were still guaranteed a half hour of conversation. As she read the newspaper, if she noted an article mentioning a friend, a friend’s family, or something that reminded her of their interests, she would clip it and send it to them. Mom loved old school mail and sent scads of hand-written notes and cards for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, or really any occasion.


When we were young, Mom fed and cared for an army of friends who her four children paraded in and out of the house. The door was pretty much always open. She was a scout leader for Cub Scout Pack 244, and actively supported all her kids’ activities. She was fierce in advocating for her children but was not naïve about them. At 5’ 2” she went toe-to-toe with the high school wrestling coach in defense of one of the boys, but brought that same compact thunder to bear on her kids when they misbehaved.


Mom was active in church and loved volunteering, not because she felt obligated, but because it’s who she was. She was generous with her time, and always kind, unless you were bidding against her for John Dickerson’s pies or dinner at the parsonage. Then she could be a little pugnacious.


As a true Sutton, Mom was a Chiefs fan. Mom loved crossword puzzles, trivia, and watching game shows with Dad. If anyone would like a memorial, half-completed crossword puzzle book, please wait an appropriate interval and contact Dad.


A visitation ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at New Hope United Methodist Church at 4525 Beaver Ave. The funeral service will take place Thursday, June 30 at 11 a.m. at New Hope. If you would like to do so, the family would appreciate donations to New Hope in lieu of flowers.