Norma passed away on April 3, 2018. She was 87. Her five surviving children and 10 grandchildren will always remember her as a caring and loving mother and someone who not only fought to protect her children, but also believed in true equality and felt the need to protect and love all who needed help. Norma married John E. Cutting in Gardner, MA at 19 years of age in 1951 and immediately moved when her husband was drafted and stationed in New Mexico. This began a long period of frequent moves, something that taught her to make friends quickly and stay in touch when she had to leave. Anyone who knew Norma, knew her quick, open smile and ability to draw even quiet people out of their shells. She was a full-time stay-at-home mother for 16 years and then worked as an administrative assistant for a variety of businesses. Her intelligence and organization made her a valued and much-loved employee everywhere she worked. At 55, she decided to open her own business, Satellite Office Suites, in Rockville, MD, and ran a successful business for five years, until her retirement at age 60. All along, she supported her children in all their endeavors, serving as a Girl Scout leader during her time in Downingtown, PA, helping with homework and the usual social problems of childhood, and traveling to all her children’s sporting events, which kept her very busy! In 1989, she suffered the loss of her eldest son, John David, who died of complications from HIV/AIDS. The experience of John and of his friends made her a fierce promoter of compassion for all suffering from this terrible disease and led her to work with others in her community to create an AIDS quilt now included in the larger AIDS Quilt Project. In retirement, Norma blossomed. She pursued arts and crafts, made new friends, and enjoyed her grandchildren and her amazingly smart cat, Murphy. She joined her daughter in Houston, TX for a few years and then moved to Tarpon Springs, FL where she lived in a 55+ community and became the Secretary for their homeowners’ association. She was always fun and a natural organizer for events. In 2003, Norma moved to Tennessee to be closer to her eldest daughter. She had noticed her memory was failing, and indeed, she was diagnosed with dementia in 2007. Her neighbors in Rock Gardens in Alcoa helped her to stay independent as long as possible before she finally moved in with her daughter in Townsend. Despite the diagnosis, her personality and warmth never changed, and she continued to enjoy the openings at the local art gallery and going to the Dollar Store. We will all miss Norma’s smile and her ability to start a conversation with “I know you!” She was special, and she will leave a hole in a lot of hearts of all who cared for her. Norma is survived by her five children, Tom Cutting of Brandon, FL, Cindy Cutting of Townsend, TN, Kathy Castelow of Frederick, MD, Patti McKay of St. Petersburg, FL, and Bob Cutting of Dublin, CA, and 10 grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, John David Cutting in 1989, and her husband, John Edward Cutting in 2017. A church service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 30th at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Derwood, MD, and her ashes will be interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring, MD. Anyone wishing to donate in remembrance of Norma can make a donation to AIDS Research (such as http://www.amfar.org) or the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org/research/). Or better yet, reach out and help a stranger in need the way Norma always did.
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