Norma Van Housen of Williamsburg, Va. passed away on March 16th 2021, aged 92.
Norma was born on May 23, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York to parents Eleanor and Anthony Morello. In their home Jesus always came first, with family, cooking and music as a close second.
Music was especially important. Young Norma counted many accomplished musicians in her family, including her parents and grandparents. Her grandfather had a special love for the Italian opera Norma, her namesake.
Norma followed in her father’s footsteps by enrolling in summer programs at the Julliard School, and she even performed at Carnegie Hall both vocally and on keyboard.
She’d continue her musical studies by enrolling in Providence Bible College at age 17, and eventually become a professor there. She enjoyed sharing her knowledge of music with students and even performed on a local radio show during this time.
It was at Providence Bible College that Norma would meet her future husband, Charles “Buzz” Van Housen. Buzz was also a talented musician who played trumpet and sang with a beautiful baritone voice. He would later join the Coast Guard and in 1950 the two were married.
When Buzz completed his time in the Coast Guard, the pair would move to Long Island, New York, along with Norma’s parents and many other family members.
Norma and Charles would go on to have three children named Cheryl, Grant, and Vanessa. These three grew to love music just like their parents and performed at family, church, and secular events.
Norma taught private piano lessons for over 30 years, and was also the lead organist, pianist, and vocalist in multiple churches. She and Charles continued to share their passion for Jesus, family & music until Charles sadly passed away on January 24, 1981.
Norma would never remarry, and for the next 40 years carried the torch alone, ensuring her 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren would understand the values that colored both her marital and post-marital life.
Norma, Charles, and family also loved to travel. Norma and her mother Eleanor were some of the first Americans to visit China after it opened up in the seventies. She rode camels in the Sahara desert and donkeys in Italy, and even brought Bibles to the faithful beyond the Berlin Wall.
For Norma’s children, one of the best parts of her overseas journeys were the foreign instruments she would bring back. They had a special love for the steel drums from Trinidad and the koto from Japan.
One of the children’s greatest memories was a road trip across America in the summer of 1966. Together with Norma and Charles, they visited places like the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Mt. Rushmore, the Sequoia Forest and, of course, California’s Disneyland.
Some of Norma’s favorite pastimes were playing the piano, cooking, studying the Bible, and spending time with family.
Norma is preceded in death by husband Charles in 1981 and daughter Cheryl in 2012. She is survived by her son Grant and his wife Karen, her daughter Vanessa and her husband Peter, along with 14 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Although Norma’s loving smile, quick wit, energy, music, and love for Jesus will be missed…the family rejoices in her going home to Jesus!
Till we meet again…
Favorite verse – Psalm 100
Favorite songs – “I can only Imagine”
– “How Great Thou Art
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Williamsburg Chapel located at 3899 John Tyler Highway, Williamsburg VA., 23185
You may view services live by following the link below.