Norma Rhea Moore Rumage was born in Weatherford, Texas on February 10, 1933 to Jewel Josephine Combs Moore and Bert Leon “Buck” Moore. In the late 1930’s, her parents, her brother Gerald Moore and she moved to Jacksboro where she lived for the remainder of her life. She married Robert Owen “Bunk” Rumage on June 25, 1955 at the Memorial Christian Church in Jacksboro, Texas, where her service is to be held on Saturday, November 3rd at 11:00 a.m. Her husband preceded her in death on August 12, 1978. She is survived by her daughter, Roxanna Rhea Maddox and husband, Bob Maddox, of Jacksboro, and son, Robert Randall Rumage, and wife, Marie Yamamoto, of Los Angeles, California, as well as two very special grandsons, Murray “Miles” Maddox of Houston, Texas and Madison “McCall” Maddox of Fort Worth, Texas. She is also survived by her brother Gerald Moore and his wife Sammie Ellis Moore of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Norma leaves behind sisters-in-law Sarah Rumage, Julia Rumage, Bernice Rumage, Olive Rumage, and Ophelia Henderson; cousin Linda Hale; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. In addition to her being preceded in death by her brothers-in-law J.T. Rumage, Carl Rumage, Warren Rumage, and C.M. “Junior” Rumage, she was preceded in death by a niece Melinda Rumage, in 1972, a nephew John Moore, in 1997, and sister-in-law Katherine Moore, in 2008.
In her almost 80 years on earth, Norma lived a colorful and eventful life. In her younger days, Norma liked to change residences almost as frequently as she changed occupations. Over a period of 15 years, she and her family lived in 13 different homes in Jacksboro, as she enjoyed renovating and redecorating each and every residence. Norma was always on the cusp of trends in fashion and style...even during the 1970’s heyday of avocado-hued appliances, shag carpet, and orange-colored Formica countertops. Years after Norma selected and installed a wild floral 1970’s print wallpaper in her bathroom, she discovered that Suzanne Pleshette’s TV character on “The Bob Newhart Show” went out and selected the exact same print for their fictional Chicago apartment. Over the course of Norma’s working life, Norma’s occupations ranged from head bookkeeper at the local bank to independent oil producer. Perhaps her shortest employment was her tenure at Fort Wolters Air Force base in Mineral Wells, Texas with friend Jean Elenburg. Norma and Jean were required to keep track of the number of planes that landed...which happened about three times per day, leaving hours of downtime with nothing to do. Although this was during a time of peace, Norma had but one speed...and it was fast-paced, so she ended her military service almost before it was time to break for lunch.
Her work experience scurried from stints at the Jack County Court House to the Superintendent’s office and beyond. Realizing her true talents weren’t being fully utilized in public service, she quickly became an entrepreneur. Norma owned and operated for many years a women’s clothing store on Belknap Street which she named Norma’s Dress Shop. This job allowed her to select her merchandise from the many fashion clothing vendors at The Fair Market in Dallas. However, for most of her career, she worked at the First National Bank in the bookkeeping department where her whirlwind speed with figures (as with her favorite pastime, playing cards) allowed her to leave work early practically every day as she processed mounds of checks and statements at a frenetic pace. Norma was unfamiliar with the phrase “leading a leisurely paced life.”
In 1966 she abandoned the desk jobs, the dress shop, and managing two different local motels (The Image Motel and The Aztec Hotel) in order to become a licensed beautician; owning and operating, with her friends Jean Elenburg and Betty McAnear, a beauty shop. Although the business was a financial success, Norma became restless with the daily task of trying to beautify the women. Although the shop was called “The Magic Mirror,” Norma was the first to admit she was no miracle worker, so instead she turned to bottle-feeding and raising baby calves ... a logical progression. Norma always said it was easier to please the calves than the public.
With her family she invested in real estate (both undeveloped land and residential properties), formed an oil production partnership, and owned an oil fracturing/acidizing business. For a brief period, she returned to the former site of Norma’s Dress Shop and transformed it into The Pantry, which was a lunchtime favorite among the locals, known for its homemade soups, salads and sandwiches. For someone who didn’t like to cook, Norma had a way with macaroni and cheese that no one else could replicate. Norma liked her jams, jellies and pies very runny (or, in her words, “I don’t like a stiff pie.”) When you would slice her meringue pies, the custard filling would run all across the plate. Rather than a fork, you needed a spoon and a straw. When she was questioned about the consistency of her pie custard filling, she said, “No one’s ever choked on my pies.” Norma was making 30-minute meals long before Rachael Ray. Then her meal preparation time was reduced drastically when she acquired a microwave oven and a pressure cooker. Not known for reading recipes or directions, Norma once baked a canned ham in the oven without removing the ham from the can. Fortunately no one was in the kitchen when the pressurized heat inside the can caused the ham to explode, bolting open the oven door, and projecting shards of metal and shredded meat all over the ceiling, walls and floors.
She had quite the entrepreneurial spirit and was fearless when it came to trying “something new and innovative.” Her motto was “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” She instilled this fiery and disciplined work ethic in her children and grandchildren. Another favorite adage of hers was “Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” Despite her hitting some sour notes, it never stopped her from playing the game of life.
Although she had not traveled much prior to sending her children to Europe for summer vacations during their high school years, Norma embarked (with her children and nephew Bryan Moore) on a ten-state northeastern U.S. tour following her son’s graduation from college. She survived two roundtrip road trips from Texas to California, but preferred making the trips to Los Angeles (sometimes with her daughter, son-in-law, grandsons, niece Carla Beth Horton and great nephew Derek Horton to visit her son, daughter-in-law, and nephew Bryan Moore inside an American Airlines jet. On one occasion, she was selected to “come on down” on the television game show “The Price Is Right” where she won a trip to Holland, Germany and Belgium in spite of confusing a Krackel bar with a cracker (as well as flustering Bob Barker in the process). She brought her daughter and son with her on that European trip. At the time, The Netherlands was celebrating Queen Beatrix Day, and the streets were lined with tens of thousands of citizens. Although Norma had no sense of direction and couldn’t speak a word of Dutch, she always took the lead ... and among the hordes of crowds there for the Queen’s parade, Norma vanished from sight, and almost became an “Unsolved Mystery” of her own in a foreign land.
Norma loved comedians….Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Bea Arthur, and, yes, even Chris Rock. She loved to sit around the piano and sing her favorite songs ...“Swanee,” “Hello Dolly,” “Mame,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” “Frankie And Johnny,” “The Glory of Love,” “All I Care About Is Love,” “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” and “Side By Side.”
Norma was a two-time survivor of cancer (in 1977 and in 1999). She was treated at the Baylor Hospital in Dallas, at M.D. Anderson in Houston, and at Faith Community Hospital in Jacksboro. She was greatly appreciative of and indebted to all the healthcare professionals who brought her back from the brink of death, not the least of which was Dr. Jamal, who continued to faithfully care for her for the next 13 years, until her death on Monday. She was also assisted by her longtime friend-for-life, the late Quintina Salazar, and Quintina’s daughter Maria Huerta, both of whom steadfastly helped Norma around the house for many years and provided dedicated service in Norma’s time of need.
Although she will be missed by many, no one will miss her more than her family. She was the first to admit her faults, and often jokingly remarked, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.” In spite of her self-admitted shortcomings, she was always fun-loving, kind, generous, dedicated to her children, and caused many a laugh with her natural witty sense of humor. She was funny without even trying. The world was a much better place by having been graced by Norma Rhea Rumage.
Adapted from one of her favorite songs, “The Glory of Love”:
She told us, “Give A little, take a little,
And let your poor heart break a little.
That’s the story of,
That’s the glory of love.”
She said to, “Laugh a little, cry a little
Before the clouds roll by a little.
That’s the story of,
That’s the glory of love.”
And now there’s just a few of us
Who still remember her funny lines.
She taught us all to love and learn,
And how to have good times.
She said to “Win a little, lose a little,
And always have the blues a little.”
That’s the story of
Norma’s glorious love.