Norma Gail Cousins 91, died in her sleep
of natural causes in Boise on May 29, 2016. A native Idahoan, lover of the
arts, world traveler, friend to many, and a Democrat in a search of equality
and justice for those less fortunate. Born in Shelley, Idaho in 1924 to Sadie
and Glenn Dick into the heart of a large extended LDS pioneering family. She is
survived by her brothers, Yale, Kaye and Richard Dick of Boise.
Norma was raised as a child in Eastern
Idaho and Provo, Utah in her teen years. After high school and while enrolled
in BYU her freshman year, she worked as a receptionist at the US Steel Mill
near Provo. Here she met a Kansas City, Missouri mechanical engineer, Clayton
C. Cousins. Clay and Norma were married at her grandfather’s home in Shelley in
1943. Shortly thereafter, Clay enlisted in the Navy.
With Clay’s military service she
accompanied him throughout training the United States during the WWII years.
First stop San Diego, next to Hayward, California east of San Francisco, then
finally to Cornell in Ithaca, New York to complete Clay’s Officer’s training.
She often remarked that her early exposure to living with many different people
and in a variety of places provided her with her best education.
At the end of WW II, Clay was assigned to
demobilize Japan. Norma moved back to Idaho to live with her parents until Clay
returned to Boise. Here they started their own family with the birth of a son,
Bruce Clay Cousins, (of Oakland, Calif.) in 1948. The family followed Clay's
career in construction and mechanical engineering to Richland, Washington.
Kellene Cousins, their first daughter was born in 1951 in Spokane, Washington.
At the completion of the assignment in eastern Washington they were relocated
to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Here Norma established her interest in collecting and
refinishing antiques. Their final move was back to Boise in 1954 to be closer
to Norma's family and for Clay to establish a sales and engineering business,
Mechanical Equipment and Engineering Company. Norma’s family also had moved to
Boise and established Glenn Dick Equipment Company in Garden City. A second
daughter, Lizabeth Cousins Arkoosh (of Ridgefield, Washington) was born in 1959
Norma's life achievements were raising her
family and providing them with a loving and nurturing home life as well as
opportunities to expand their world in cultural arts, music and the
appreciation of education. She had a keen sense for fashion and interior
design, enjoyed a variety of artistic expressions and diverse musical interests
from opera to jazz, a passion that she has instilled in her children and
grandchildren. Her fun-loving spirit, curiosity, acceptance of people,
cheerfulness and optimism are her greatest legacy.
Norma participated on boards and
volunteered with several civic organizations in Boise. Her favorite
associations were with the Boise Philharmonic Association, the Idaho Mental
Health Association, the League of Women Voters and the Idaho Historic Society.
She also supported numerous Democratic political candidates including her
fellow classmate, Frank Church, and others running in local and national
Norma later became a Realtor and worked
with McLeod Realty of Boise. At age 59, Norma was widowed after Clay's extended
illness and untimely death in 1983. She began to travel again to Europe and
beyond with good friends and her family. Some of her favorite stories were of
her adventures to Egypt and pre-war Yugoslavia.
Of her favorite places in the world,
however, Norma loved McCall, Idaho where she would be most at peace while
visiting her family’s vintage log home on the Payette Lake. This also became a
favorite retreat for her entire family and especially the grandchildren who
would reunite with their cousins from near and far every summer on the lake. "Grandmama"
enjoyed the marshmallow roasts over the campfire, huckleberry picking and water
sports as much as her 6 grandchildren – Clay Brady Cousins and Nichol Kelly
Cousins, of Denver, CO, Tyler Sussman of Brooklyn, NY, Spencer Sussman of
Oakland, CA , Trey (George F. Arkoosh lll) of Vancouver, WA and Sadie (Saidra
Lizabeth Arkoosh) of Meridian. Jed Sussman, Pleasanton, CA (spouse of Kellene)
and George Arkoosh of Ridgeview, WA (spouse of Lizabeth) also welcomed Norma to
their homes and hearts over the years as did the members of the Arkoosh Family
of Gooding, Idaho.
Special recognition from her children goes
to her close friends, Diana Bush and Brit Peterson and to her devoted and
loving brothers, Yale, Kaye and Richard Dick and their wives, Connie and Joanne
Dick, for the many visits and the constant support they have provided to Norma
over the years. The family also appreciates the care and expertise of the
professionals at Horizon Hospice Care.
Memorial Services will be held at 1:00
p.m., Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at the Alden Waggoner Funeral Chapel, 5400 W.
Fairview Avenue, Boise, ID 83706. Her cremains will be interned at Dry Creek
Cemetery directly following the services. Donations in Norma’s name can be made
to the Idaho Humane Society by mail: 4775 Dorman St., Boise, ID 83705 or
Electronic Funds contact Leann Gilberg (208) 342-3508 ext 2225.