Norma Dean Uhling was born on Sept. 25, 1923, to Roy and Mary (Sargent) Coleman in Charleston, Ark., and went to meet the Lord on Dec. 16, 2010, at her home. She attended schools in Arkansas. She married Harold W. Neissl in 1940. They had six children. She also lived in Bainbridge Island and while her husband was in the Army, they lived Wichita, Kan., before moving back to Arkansas. They later divorced.
A second marriage to David Been brought with him three very young children. At that time, they moved to Walla Walla to be close to her sister, Mary Ann (Coleman-Huntley) Pflugher. They later divorced.
Norma worked as a cook in the Catholic schools in Charleston, Ark., and at the chicken plant in Bloomer, Ark., to support herself and her children. Upon moving to Walla Walla, she did house cleaning and worked for Lutcher's vending service. She then went to work for Whitman College as a salad cook. This is where so many of the kids who attended Whitman went through her lunch/dinner line that she adopted or they adopted her. She would always bring kids home for the holidays because they lived too far away to go home. One student in particular whose family lived in Hawaii needed a car to go skiing with his friends. He asked to borrow her car and of course she said yes. He brought it back with a full tank of gas and a lifelong friendship developed. He later went on to become a doctor and has kept in touch with her over 30 years.
Retiring in 1985, she also that year married Charles Uhling at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. They moved to his farm west of Walla Walla, where she finally had enough space to grow her flowers. It looked like a nursery with all the flowers she raised until arthritis and age slowed her down. She also had her husband plant trees so they could entice the birds to come. At times, she would have two to three dozen finches on her bird feeders. During this time, she also babysat her two grandchildren, Lindsey and Drew Mahan, until they were grown. She and her husband attended the grandkids' sporting events from soccer, Little League baseball, softball, volleyball, basketball and football until they graduated from high school. Norma's hobbies included saving and preserving every card or picture that was ever given to her, baking, rock collecting and gardening. She loved all children! She was a very faith-filled and hard-working individual who always thought of others before herself!
Norma loved country music and she and Charles used to go dancing at the VFW and Eagles every Friday and Saturday night until arthritis slowed them down. They made many trips, which included Branson, Mo.; Nashville, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Jackson Hole and many places in Nevada, where she and her husband enjoyed visiting and leaving their money with the casinos.
She is survived by her husband, Charles Uhling; sons, Harold (Madge) Neissl, William G. (LaWayne) Neissl, Bobby J. Neissl, Ronnie (Patricia) Neissl and David (Lisa) Neissl; daughter, Donna (Jeff) Mahan; stepchildren, David (JulieAnn) Been, John (Julie) Been and Melvia (Rod) Boettger; sister-in-law, Fern Coleman; daughter-in-law, Yoko (Neissl) Edwards; 25 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers, four sisters and her first husband.
Viewing and visitation will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, from 9 a.m. until after the Rosary at the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home. The Rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at the Herring Funeral Home with Father Tim Hays officiating. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church with Father Patrick Kerst celebrating. Interment will follow at Mountain View Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer's Association, St. Jude's Hospital or to the charity of choice through the funeral home.