Norma Jean Friend, age 91, died on July 3, 2020 in Salida, CO. She was born at her parents’ home in rural Wilmore, KS on October 7, 1928 to William Edward and Ada (Price) Uhl.
After graduating from Wilmore High School, Norma attended a Teacher’s Prep at Dodge City Junior College and then taught school for a year at Nescatunga, KS. Norma and her future husband, Bernard Friend, had known one another from a young age but renewed their friendship in high school. They were married in her parents’ home on May 11, 1947. This union was blessed by 3 children: Mary, William, and Roy.
In 1949 Norma and Bernard moved to Colorado where they soon purchased what would become their family’s ranch and where, after years of hard work, they realized their dream of establishing a prized herd of registered Polled Herefords. They not only raised their 3 children but through the years also shared their home with over 200 foster children. Many of these foster children continued with letters, cards, and phone calls in the intervening years prior to her death.
As a member of Temple Baptist Church in Salida for over 50 years, she continued her love of teaching by being active with Sunday School and Youth Groups. She also led a 4-H Club for ten years. In later years, Norma began attending Crossroads Baptist Church in Poncha Springs where she actively continued praying, teaching, and encouraging all with whom she made contact.
All of these facts really do not adequately flesh out the essence of who Norma really was. Norma was no stranger to hard times, however she never complained and was always ready to help those in need. She found the good in every situation. For Norma, life was all about her love of her Lord, Jesus. She truly devoted her life to living out the scripture Matt 22:37-39: to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbors. One abiding precept of Norma’s was “Wherever we find ourselves, we need to be instruments of God’s love and peace.” She lived out her entire life as “Victory in Jesus because through Him,” as she would say, “we can have victory no matter the struggles we might face.”
Norma was preceded in death by her parents William and Ada Uhl; husband Bernard; daughter Mary (Friend) Weldon; granddaughter Michelle Weldon; and brother Charles Uhl.
She is survived by her sons William of Salida, Roy (Janet [Henderson]) of Salida; son-in-law Richard Weldon of Delta, CO; 5 grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.
Per Norma’s request, she was cremated and her remains have been placed where she wished. A memorial gathering is planned for July 2021.
Arrangements were with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.lewisandglenn.com.
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