Cover photo for Norma Gail Cousins's Obituary

Norma Gail Cousins

Norma Gail Cousins

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 in Boise.

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 campaigns.

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.
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