Norma J. Saranto, 84 passed away peacefully May 2, 2012, at her home with her family at her side. She was born May 9, 1927, in Newport, Ore., the only child of Emma and John Safely.
A 1946 graduate of Newport High School she had spent most of her childhood there only briefly living in other coastal towns as the family followed her fathers profession as a commercial fisherman and tug boat captain. In fact at about the age of 2 her father built and Norma broke the bottle on the bow, christening the "Norma J" which at 50 feet was the largest boat in the fleet at Yaquina Bay.
After graduating she worked at the local drive-in until she met her future husband, Sam Saranto, whom she married Dec. 2, 1952. They had two children together: a daughter, Amy Butchas of Newburg, Ore., and a son, Dennis Saranto of Walla Walla. In 1973 they moved to Walla Walla, where they were married for 57 years until Sam's death in January 2010.
Norma had a great love of nature and she would spend as much time as possible enjoying it. Whether it was walking on the beach, hiking and camping in the mountains, or simply cultivating flowers in her yard, these seemed to be her happiest times. She could identify most plants and flowers and knew the name of all birds identifying them visually or by their distinctive sounds. She truly was at peace in nature and many an evening was spent around a campfire in the Blue Mountains with family close by.
Her other love was for animals and this was evident with the home she provided for many dogs and cats that she adopted. She was always giving and never expected anything in return for her generosity.
Family was most important, and her smile and warmth will be dearly missed.
A private interment will be held at the Milton-Freewater Cemetery with a celebration of life to be held at a later date yet to be determined.
Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Mountain Humane Society through Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater, Ore. 97862.
She is survived by her daughter, Amy Butchas and her husband Mark; her son, Dennis Saranto and his wife Michaelle; and three grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Sam.