Oswego— Norma Joy (Sutherland) Church went home to the Lord on Sunday March 29, 2020. She is remembered by her family with affection and pride as a loving and dedicated wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, and by her friends and colleagues as a woman of accomplishment, good humor, and warmth.
Born to the late Zetha May Fullagar and Norris Redding Sutherland 96 years ago in Penn Yan, she graduated from Williamson Central High School (’41) and the Oswego State Teacher’s College (’45), where she got to know several Holocaust refugees sheltered at Fort Ontario’s Safe Haven.
She taught in Lyons, from 1945 to 1950, before marrying Frank R. Church of Scriba.
Married 57 years until his passing, Norma and Frank made their life together in Scriba, raising their family of four. She continued to substitute teach in the Oswego City School District from 1952 until 1964.
In 1972 Mrs. Church was selected to organize and develop the Oswego Hospital’s Home Aide Service, a service to elderly shut-ins which she grew and managed for 14 years until her retirement in 1986.
Mrs. Church believed in service to her community. She was a board member of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County (president), Oswego County Opportunities (OCO), the Ladies Home, and the Heritage Foundation of Oswego. She served on the advisory councils of the Oswego County Office for the Aging, Retired Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP) and the OCO Senior Services Division (chair).
Other volunteer activities included the Oswego County Health Department’s Professional Advisory Committee, coordinator of the RSVP tourist information center, member of the Oswego County Historical Society, Oswego Maritime Foundation, H. Lee White Marine Museum, American Red Cross and Zonta Club. She was a Cub/Boy Scout den mother, vice-president of the OCSD Home and School Association, founding member of the Scriba Recreation Commission, trustee of Scriba School District No. 2, and organized Fort Ontario’s costumed hostess program in 1964.
Mrs. Church was a devout servant of her church and God. As a member of the West Baptist Church of Oswego for over 70 years, she served in several capacities including as Church Moderator and the first woman on the Board of Trustees. She was chair of Oswego FISH.
Mrs. Church was predeceased by her husband, Frank; her brother, Richard Sutherland; and her daughter-in-law, Lori (David) Church.
She is survived by her daughter, Lorinda Rogers of Oswego; her three sons, James (Barbara) Church of Centreville, Va., David (Lori) Church of Sarasota, Fla., and Philip (Melissa) Church of Oswego. She has five grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; three great-granddaughters and two great-grandsons. She is also survived by three nephews, two nieces, and several great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled later in the year. Memorial donations may be made to the West Baptist Church, 39 West Mohawk St., Oswego, N.Y. 13126. Norma’s arrangements are in the care of Nelson Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at www.nelson- funeralhome.com.