AUBURN - Norma L. Holmberg Simard died at her home in Auburn, Maine on September 29, 2014 surrounded by family and friends. Norma was born June 2, 1921 in Pittsfield, MA, the daughter of Eleanor and Gustave Holmberg. She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1939 and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1943. Upon graduation with a B.S. in Bacteriology, Norma worked at Pittsfield General Hospital. Preferring research over the hospital environment, she moved on to penicillin research at American Cyanamid Lederle Labs in Stamford, CT. It was there she met her husband. Married in Stamford, CT, September 14, 1946 to Gerald L. Simard of Lewiston, ME, they resided in Redding, CT while starting their family. The family moved to Winterport, ME in 1967. Soon after her husband's death in 1992, Norma moved to Lewiston to be close to family.
Norma was a steward of the land and known for her green thumb and love of plants & soil. She often stated she "was happiest with (her) hands in the earth," tending her vast vegetable and flower gardens. An avid gardener and Master Composter, she cultivated her Lewiston property into a certified Urban Habitat for Wildlife. Her love of gardening, a gift learned from both her grandfather and father, she freely shared with family, friends and neighbors of all ages. Norma was an active member in local Cooperative Extension programs in CT and ME, sharing her skills and thrift of sewing, culinary and other arts with her children and youth in her community. She was recognized as a University of Maine Extension Service Homemaker of the Year in 1981. During the years she resided in Winterport, Norma immersed herself in community. She shared her skills at school health screening clinics, as a Girl Scout Leader, and as an active member of St. Gabriel's Catholic Church. Forever a student of life and learning, Norma enjoyed the lively discussions and stimulation of Senior College, Pax Christi, book and women's groups and the Herb Society during her later years. She enjoyed travel, taking several educational trips abroad to explore world cultures and history.
Norma is survived by her sister, Barbara Putnam of Andover, MA and her five children (and spouses): Martha Brodeur with husband, Fred of Auburn; Elaine Bisbee with husband, William of Rockport; Jonathan Simard of Manchester, NH; Alicia Soliman with husband, Mounir of Biddeford; and Clarisse Brown with husband, Michael of Jefferson. Ten grandchildren: Michelle and Matthew Brodeur, Kristen Bisbee Santoro, Bryanne Bisbee Vydas, Dana Bisbee Ringle, Steven and William Simard, Margen and Nadia Soliman, and Emily Brown. Two great grandchildren: Kalilah Simard and Eric Santoro, and many nieces and dear friends. Norma is predeceased by her parents; her husband, Gerald Simard; and two brothers: William and Norman Holmberg. The family would like to say a special thank you to the staff of Schooner Estates. Condolences, donations, and a video tribute may be accessed online at www.albert-burpee.com.
Visitation hours and a short memorial service will be held on October 11, 2014 at Albert & Burpee Funeral Home. Visitation hours will be from 12:30 - 2:30 pm followed by a Celebration of Life service at 2:30. Interment will be held at Oak Hill Cemetery in Winterport at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Norma's memory to Heifer Project International, PO Box 6021, Albert Lea MN, 56007-9831, www.heifer.org or the charity of your choice.