Norma Lee Moss was born May 30, 1932 in Cortez, Colorado the daughter of Henry Hicks and Hellen Phillips Odom. She passed away Sunday, July 22, 2018 at Vista Grande Inn at the age of 86.
Surviving Norma are her son, Curtis Moss (Jean) of Cortez, CO; her grandchildren, LaLana Dillard (David), Amber Handrahand (Michael), Justin Moss (Lora); 10 great grandchildren; 4 great great grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews and others. Norma was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Gordon Lee Moss; her son, Lester Moss; her grandson Gaylon Moss; her siblings, Richard “Dick” Odom, Jean Sagrillo, and Nita Wagner.
Remembering Norma Lee (Odom) Moss
May 30, 1932 - July 22, 2018
By her youngest brother Jack
My first remembrance of Norma was when she was babysitting me. Norma was very kind to me and inherited taking care of me because Sister Jean was a tab bit cruel. However, I distinctly remember there was an incident in a cabin up in the Glades where she was watching us and tried to start a fire in the stove using kerosene. Norma accidentally used gasoline and ended up setting the cabin on fire. Anita (our cousin who was living with us) immediately pushed her out the window and actually pushed me out right after her, hollering for my Dad at the same time: ‘Uncle Hicks! Uncle Hicks!” It’s a good thing it was a Sunday; Dad was there and had the presence of mind to smother the fire with a quilt.
As Norma grew into a pretty teen, she tended to get a lot of attention from the neighborhood boys but had a distinct dislike for redheaded boys. But as you can guess, she fell in love with Gordon Moss, who was very much a redheaded boy. When Norma and Gordon were dating, we lived outside of Dolores next to the Anasazi Memorial where there was an old fire tower. On one particular time when Gordon came to visit Norma, he brought along some friends and they all decided to go and look at the fire tower. His friends teased Norma and Gordon into climbing 25 feet or so up to the platform supported above, at the very top, but Norma refused to go up. The fire tower was ancient and shaky so Gordon and his friends pointed out some old support lines but Norma still refused to climb up. So Gordon led Norma up to a ladder, where there was a small opening to the platform above. But then, when Gordon and Norma were at about halfway thru the opening into the platform, his friends started swinging the support lines back and forth, causing Norma to squeal in fright. Little did she know, her two little brothers were hiding in the bushes below watching the entire thing and finding it all hugely entertaining.
Needless to say, Norma and Gordon were married when Norma was 17 in 1949. I remember the small house over in the Northeast part of Cortez where their sons, Curtis and Lester, were born very well. I also remember the first major spat they had some six and a half months after they got married because Norma recounted everything to Gordon that he had done that she didn’t like in those first six months. Gordon’s comment back was, “She’s like an elephant - she never forgets anything.”
When I was old enough to go to public dances with them in Cortez, I’d come home afterwards to Norma and Gordon’s house and always enjoyed pancakes and coffee. When I joined the Navy and would come home, it would always include one dinner at Norma’s house where I felt very loved and taken care of. She was always open to my stories which were fun to relay to her. However, while I was in the Navy, Norma suffered because of blood clots in her legs that caused her to have strokes, and in her early 30’s she was told by her doctors that she would be lucky to live another ten years. Fortunately, they put a screen in her vena cava (the vein coming from the legs to her heart) that caught any clots and allowed them to dissolve. Instead of giving her ten more years, it gave her another fifty years of life, for which I am very thankful.
Norma and Gordon were very fortunate to have two very active boys who I occasionally had the privilege to babysit. That, along with moving to a new home on South Park Street, were the major happenings for them in the 50’s.
Norma had many hobbies including cooking, sewing and hiking, but the things I remember best about her cooking were that she always made a delightful array of dishes and amazing pies; and that she made the best ice cream, especially homemade vanilla ice cream made from liquid marshmallow. Whenever I traveled through Cortez, either alone or with family, she always wanted to feed us. And that was fantastic, her hospitality and love were very obvious. When it came to sewing, she also sewed doll clothes for my two oldest daughters, and they very much loved to play with them, which I will remember dearly. I also remember that she had a rock collection, which she collected hiking on the trails. She truly liked to hike even though she was sensitive to bee stings and had to carry an Epi-pen in case she was stung. It was a risk she was willing to take.
Norma also worked off and on through the years for Dr. Maxwell in his office doing a variety of tasks, and told warm stories of Dr. Maxwell’s wit and love for his patients. Norma also helped Gordon with the bookkeeping for their business and helped monitor their cash flow. Together, their house was always fun because of the things they both liked very much; they both loved music; they were the first household to put a satellite dish in town; they enjoyed various kinds of video cassettes; they had art on their walls from local artist. They always made being around them a lot of fun.
After losing Gordon and then Lester (her youngest son), Norma still maintained a positive and loving attitude, making it wonderful to visit and talk with her. She was very progressive in her thinking and loving in her thoughts towards her community, especially her friends and close neighbors, and always seemed to let that be known. In recent years, Norma got an opportunity to attend a Montezuma County High School Class of 1950 reunion and enjoyed the attention some of the guys from her high school days paid her. The attention was well received. I miss all of our conversations on a variety of topics where she showed very little bias and was always open to new thoughts. I miss you, sis, and love you so much. I also realize you will always be with me because of these wonderful memories.