Norma Carole Birley Baron


Norma Carole Birley was born August 24, 1926 in Chehalis, Washington at her aunt Ella Cournyer’s home.  She was the younger daughter of Percy H. and Myrtle (Coleman) Birley of Mossyrock.  She and sister Jean (Hilton) grew up on the family dairy farm.  It was Norma’s job to feed and gather eggs of 200 chickens and toss hay to the feisty Holstein bull.  (She said a nearby ladder to the hay loft came in quite handy!)

Sister Jean and “Toots” as she was known to her friends and family, tap danced together as young girls, moving on to playing their accordions over the radio and later piano duets.  Norma played for Jean’s Senior Class the night of graduation.  She represented Mossyrock High School in a typing contest at the University of Washington and graduated in 1943, having skipped the third grade.

Norma went on to attend the University of Washington and married the most handsome man she ever met on November 17, 1944, Walter Baron of Onalaska.  After Walt finished his duties as Staff Sgt. with  the 1777th Corp of Army Engineers, they started their family in Raymond, Washington, then moved northward to Hoquiam, Beaver and Forks. They had four children: Janice Baron LePonis (Dennis) of Lake Tapps, Linda Woodard (Howard) of Redmond, Walter Howard (Christi Olson) of Forks and Kay Joanne (Kaysi) of Redmond–all of whom graduated Forks High School.

Norma was a loving and patient mother.  She enjoyed being a homemaker, attending church and playing the piano, sewing, gardening, puzzles and reading—especially the Bible.  She watched over her children along with her duties in the Forks school superintendent’s office and later in the high school. She enjoyed working among the teenagers, seeing her three daughters elected cheerleaders and one crowned Clallam County Fair Queen.  Each child was encouraged to attend college.  At one point in time the three daughters were in Alaska, Maine and Florida, respectively, but Norma did her best to re-coop the flock.  Son (Howie), chose to remain in Forks and established his own road building company.

In 1975 Norma and Walt built a new home in Hoquiam on land they purchased 20 years earlier.  She helped with the bookkeeping and timber sales that Walt produced off their acreage for the next 25 years.  He passed away in 2006 after 62 years of marriage and the following year Norma moved to Kirkland to be close to her daughters and their handy husbands who pampered her shamelessly.  She enjoyed inviting her family to holiday buffets and private luncheons at her Madison House retirement home where she lived for almost twelve years.  Norma and older sister Jean, both lived at Madison House for a time and attended bible classes held by Jean’s daughter, Judy Wick (Sam).  It was one of Norma’s most treasured activities on the Event calendar.

Norma is survived by her four children.  Also five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren….Josh Woodard and daughters Shayli & Makenzi, Courtney Woodard Black (Brian) and sons, Baylor & Marshall, Lindsay Woodard Cruser (Ryan) and children Abby & Ben, Michael Woodard (Katherine) and daughters, Eleanor & Vivienne and granddaughter Kayli Baron Lewis.  ‘Grandma Baron’ passed peacefully one week after her 93 birthday on September 1, 2019.  She will be dearly missed.

A celebration of life will be held at the Immanuel Baptist Church at 1200 Soule Ave., Hoquiam, WA  September 11th at 11:00 AM.  In lieu of flowers, a contribution to Samaritan’s Purse (1-800-665-2843) Billy Graham’s Ministry, or Your favorite charity is requested.  Reception to follow. Please join us.

5 Responses to “Norma Carole Birley Baron”

  • Diane tyson says:

    Sorry to hear you lost your awesome Mom Norma.

    I learned many things working with her in the High School office.

    Succeeding in Business college was due in part to your mother’s guidance.

  • Howard Woodard says:

    Norma was my mother-in-law and I will forever be grateful for that relationship. But the thing I will most treasure is the role model she provided for our family. If there was ever a question about what to do or how to handle a situation you could just point to her and say “Like that”. I read once that we all die two deaths, first when our earthly body dies and then the last time someone speaks our name. If that’s true then Norma “Grandma Baron” is destined to live for many more years in our family.

  • JUDI BARON says:

    So sorry to hear of her passing. Bob always called his Aunt Norma “Toots” as many in the family did.

  • Josh Woodard says:

    Grandma Baron had a smile that absolutely sparkled. I always loved how wise and strong she was. One Friday night, a couple years back, I visited her in her room at Madison House and we talked for nearly 3 hours! I learned some things about Grandma that evening that still make me smile to this day. Among many, that is a memory I will always cherish.

  • Judy Guenther says:

    I as a niece only knew her as Aunt Toots, she always had that big smile and always made me feel valued! Sorry to hear of her passing.

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