Norma June Kinkade Engel passed away at her home in Cortez, Colorado, on January 19, 2022, at the age of 82. She was born in her parents’ home in Dolores, Colorado, on May 22, 1939, the daughter of Jack and Emma Kinkade. Her life’s journey would take her from a land of pine trees and aspens in Colorado and northern Utah to the thick hardwood forests of Virginia, and from the cactus-covered New Mexico desert to the South Dakota plains.
Norma grew up in a little house in town. When she was in high school her family built a house on land along a cottonwood-shaded section of the Dolores River. She attended Dolores High School; she was a class officer all four years, including senior class vice president, and was on the school’s yearbook staff.
After graduating from high school in 1957, Norma attended Mesa College in Grand Junction, earning an associates degree in finance, and graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 1959. She transferred to Westminster College (Salt Lake City) where she was an associate editor of the college yearbook her senior year. There she met her great love and future husband, Jim Engel. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1961 and married Jim at the Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church in Dolores on December 21 of that year. The couple moved immediately to Charlottesville, Virginia, for Jim’s graduate work at the University of Virginia. Norma was hired as the executive assistant to UVA’s research contract administrator, an office that oversaw the university’s research contracts, scholarships, and fellowships.
Upon Jim’s graduation, Norma and Jim moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where Jim taught at New Mexico State University. Here Norma gave birth to their two children, Kim and Larry. A few years later the family moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, as Jim continued his teaching career at the University of South Dakota. Norma embraced life as a mom. She volunteered in the kids’ classrooms, hosted parties and sleepovers, and served as a Cub Scout and Brownies mom. When Kim and Larry played sports in high school Norma became an enthusiastic booster of the football, basketball, and track teams, attending nearly every game and meet.
In 1972 the family moved back to Dolores. They built a house on Summit Ridge, with a view of the snowcapped La Plata Mountains. Jim and Norma lived there, at the edge of Lost Canyon, for forty years, until they moved to Cortez in 2013. Norma worked as a bookkeeper at the Dolores Star and her dad’s Chevy dealership, Kinkade Chevrolet; she was the Dolores Elementary School (K-3) secretary for many years; and she became co-owner and bookkeeper of Engel Insurance when the agency opened in 1982. She retired in 2005.
Norma was active in Eastern Star and the Methodist Church in Dolores. She was on the board of directors of the Four Corners United Parish (Methodist) and a member of Ruth Circle. She also volunteered as the bookkeeper for the Dolores Public Library.
Norma’s quirky sense of humor, and her love of birds and other interesting creatures, was expressed in her whimsical collections of ceramic and metal doves, owls, and frogs tucked in niches and on bookshelves around the house. She had the greenest of green thumbs, with a home full of plants and, surrounding the house, flower gardens bursting with blooms; daisies were her favorite. Norma found her greatest joy in visiting with family members, socializing with friends, and traveling with Jim. Their travels were as varied as cruising the St. Lawrence Waterway and navigating the subways of Mexico City, but Norma’s favorite trips were to America’s national parks, especially Grand Canyon’s North Rim and Bryce Canyon in Utah.
Norma was a devoted grandma. She attended all of her grandkids’ soccer, baseball, and basketball games, and she spent every year snow-birding in Phoenix, visiting her Arizona grandkids. Norma will be remembered as gentle, kind, and fun-loving. She was generous with her time and her love. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She leaves her devoted husband of sixty years, Jim Engel of Cortez; daughter Kim Engel-Pearson (Byron) of Angel Fire, New Mexico; son Larry Engel (Julie) of Cortez; two brothers, Gay Kinkade (Susie) of Prescott Valley, Arizona, and Ray Kinkade of Cottage Grove, Oregon; and seven grandchildren.
Our family thanks Dr. Erin Henderson and the nurses and staff of Hospice of Montezuma who cared for Norma with compassion in her last month. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Hospice of Montezuma, Habitat for Humanity for Montezuma County, or your favorite charity.