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Norma Lee Henness

October 14, 1927 April 21, 2020
Norma Lee Henness
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Obituary for Norma Lee Henness

Norma Henness was born on October 14, 1927 in Weleetka, Oklahoma to Arthur and Daisy (Groblebe) Blackburn. When Norma was ten, the devastation of the great depression drove the Blackburn family from Oklahoma to seek a better life in Oregon where relatives had settled. Norma relished relating the train trip from Oklahoma to Oregon as both a frightening and exciting adventure for this ten-year old girl.

The family of eight settled in the small town of Gates, Oregon where her father was able to find work and Norma started school which she loved and excelled in and where she was to meet her future husband, Clare Henness. Her first memory of Clare was him riding his horse, Patches, to school. She earned school clothes money by picking strawberries in the summer, staying in camp cabins near the strawberry fields and had one memorable summer job at Breitenbush Hot Springs out of Detroit. Upon graduation from high school, Norma spent a year working at the Oregon State School for the Blind.  Clare graduated from high school the following year and the young couple were married on June 28, 1947. Since Clare was not 21, the legal age to get married, his mother gave her permission and they were married.  Their union would welcome the addition of three children, Kandee, Gary and Susan.  They were to be married for 73 years.

In 1968 Clare and Norma established Henness Logging, Inc. where Norma would serve as secretary and bookkeeper until their retirement when son, Gary and his wife Shelly, took over the reins of the business. Norma’s faith was built on a solid foundation. She was a long-time member of the Gates Community Church of Christ and loved singing traditional hymns.  Always an avid reader, Norma also enjoyed wildflowers, walks and especially, her family.  While she was adamant about being fiscally conservative, her generosity knew no boundaries when it came to orphans, the disadvantaged, the marginalized or her grandchildren.

Norma Henness passed away on April 20, 2020 in Salem, Oregon. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Charles and Floyd and sister, Geneva. She is survived by her husband, Clare; her sisters, Ida and Lillian, her children, Kandee (Mike) McClain, Gary (Shelly) Henness, Susan (Bill Muir) Henness, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

A private family internment will take place at Fairview Cemetery in Gates, Oregon with a celebration of life to take place at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages those who wish to make a donation in Norma’s memory do so to your charity of choice.

To plant a tree in memory of Norma Lee Henness, visit the Tribute Store.


Event Information

Services are private.

Cemetery Details


Fairview Cemetery Final Resting Place

50010 Kingwood Ave
Gates, OR 97346

50010 Kingwood Ave Gates 97346 OR
United States

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