Mary Kern Norris
Loving Wife, Aunt and Friend
Mary Kern was born on Sept. 30, 1922 to John and Mary Kern. Mary was the oldest of three children. Together with her siblings, Agnes and William, she grew up in a close-knit loving family. She often spoke fondly of her childhood. When she and her siblings would arrive home from school, her mother always had a homemade snack waiting for them. Mary's favorite was her mother's strudel, and strudel remained her favorite treat throughout her life. Mary's mother taught her how to cook and inspired her to become an excellent cook who enjoyed preparing special meals and treats for her husband. His favorite was her peach pie.
Growing up Mary had a close relationship with her sister and would tell stories of sharing a room and yearly train trips to New York City. Mary loved the sense of adventure traveling by train brought to her and Agnes. While in New York, they purchased clothing and items for their "hope chests".
Mary and Jack Norris were married on June 12, 1948. The wedding was at Saint Matthew Catholic Church in Detroit. After the ceremony they enjoyed a wedding breakfast with family members. Jack and Mary had sixty four loving years together. They were a devoted couple who enjoyed each other's company. She was his "sweetheart" and remained his "sweetie" throughout their years together.
They both shared a love for the Detroit Tigers baseball team. Whenever the team was playing away games in the West, Mary would keep a radio turned onto the games under her pillow. That way she could update Jack on the results the next morning. Another activity they enjoyed was fishing. Jack's family spent time at Round Lake during the summer; whenever Mary and Jack visited there were early-morning fishing trips. Since Jack insisted the best time to fish was before daylight, Mary made sure to take along a thermos of coffee.
Family and home were always extremely important to Mary. As soon as she and Jack returned from their honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls, they began saving to build a house. They found the perfect place for their home in what was then a country area with dirt roads and little development. Their first address there was a "rural route" designation. Today, the area is now the highly developed Bloomfield Hills, and yes, the roads are paved.
They acted as general contractors for their home and, with the help of Mary's father, were able to build much of it themselves. Not surprisingly, the kitchen in their dream home was very large and contained many, many cupboards. When they first moved into the house, Mary numbered them and had a corresponding list of items in each cabinet. The site of their home included a good amount of property which they enjoyed developing into vegetable gardens and beautiful flower beds. In the summer, they spent many happy hours working in their yard.
Right after high school Mary began working at a large insurance company. Her talent for organization and attention to detail, along with a strong work ethic, led her to the management position of chief auditor. Mary loved her job, but wasn't fond of the necessary travel which took her away from her husband and home.
An interest Mary shared with her husband was playing cards. Her detailed mind made her an excellent player; she loved Kern family poker games on holidays and playing pinochle with family and friends. When her nephew Mark Kern was old enough to enjoy playing cards, Mary, Jack, Mary's mother and Mark enjoyed summer afternoon pinochle games. When Kent and Kevin Butler learned to play cards, there were lively games of six- handed pinochle. The boys' friends called Mary and Jack "the card players".
Mary also loved to sew. As a young woman she took lessons and spent enjoyable hours at her machine. She was so pleased to be able to create a wedding dress for her sister. Her sister-in law, Barbara Kern, also loved to sew. Mary and Barbara spent many happy hours together looking for material and sewing items such as drapes for their homes. Barbara was the perfect companion for Mary with their shared interests along with love of family and their homes.
When Mary's mother became ill and needed assistance, Mary retired from the insurance company. She spent her days helping her mother and working in her home. During her retirement, Mary also found time to invest in her passion for beautiful flowers and flower arranging. Mary supplied family and friends with many beautiful floral arrangements. She also donated time to civic affairs such as working at election polls.
When grand nephews and a grand niece came along, Mary was happy to spend quality time with them and was greatly loved by all of them. She always looked forward to seeing Jennifer and William Kern. A visit from them was a highlight of her day. Both she and Jack shared many occasions such as "special persons" days at school, graduations and weddings with Kent and Kevin Butler.
Mary was a woman who enjoyed life. Being with, and doing things for, her husband and family was her priority. When she passed away peacefully in her home on November 19, 2012, she was surrounded by her husband and other family members.
Family will receive friends at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward (btwn 13-14 Mile), Wednesday 3:00-8:00pm. Rosary 7:00pm.
Funeral Mass Thursday 11:00am at St. Thomas More, 4580 Adams Rd., (north of Wattles), Troy. Visitation at church after 10:30am.
Rite of Committal White Chapel Cemetery.
Memorial tributes to St. Thomas More appreciated.
Read Mary Norris's Obituary and Guestbook on desmondfuneralhome.com.