Norma Joan Glaze
Norma Joan Higgins Glaze was born in Visalia California on February 16, 1931. She passed away peacefully on January 24, 2022, at the age of 90 following a short illness.
Norma was the older child of parents Preston Frank Higgins and Hazel Wallace Higgins. She lived her early years in Lemon Cove with her parents and younger brother Bud. Norma’s father was a butcher and owned a store in Lemon Cove. As a youngster, she made many summer train trips to Ohio with her mother and brother to visit relatives. Norma graduated from Lemon Cove School in May of 1944. She lived with her mother in Exeter during her teenage years.
Norma graduated from Exeter Union High School in 1948. During high school, she started doing small tasks for a local dentist. After graduation, she worked for Dr. Phillips as a dental assistant. She continued as a dental assistant for Dr. Adelsbach in Visalia and was a member of the Tulare-Kings County Dental Assistants Association. In later years, she worked for the Miller & Narahara Optometry practice in Exeter.
Norma married Victor C. Glaze on February 12, 1953. Together, they raised their daughters Valerie and Vanessa. Norma and Vick enjoyed many years growing a variety of fruits including emperor grapes, olives and oranges. Glaze Ranch also managed plum, pistachio and pomegranate acreage for other growers. Norma was the ranch bookkeeper. She also worked as a bookkeeper for Western Growers and Pinkham Properties.
As a young married couple, Norma and Vick were active in community service groups including the Exeter 20-30 Club and the Lions Club. As her children grew, she worked with the Venice Hill Preparatory School and Exeter Elementary Parent Teacher Association, serving twice as President. She supported her children’s church attendance at the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. Norma was a member of the Memorial Hospital at Exeter Service Guild, later the Exeter Service Guild and served as President. She continued to volunteer at the Exeter Thrift Shop well into her 80’s. She remained connected with her friends in Lemon Cove and was active in the Lemon Cove Women’s Club. She voiced her opinion during the controversial and later failed proposal to build a turkey processing plant in Exeter. In 2017, she expressed concern about the end of Exeter Dial-A-Ride and attended several city council meetings.
Norma valued learning and supported both daughter’s college and professional school education. She enrolled in community classes at College of the Sequoias. Her high school class met regularly for reunions and Norma enjoyed staying connected with the group. She was a member and President of EUHS Patron’s Club and member of the EUHS Alumni Foundation.
Norma and Vick enjoyed skiing vacations during their early married years. When her girls were young, the family spent every August in Cayucos, California. They enjoyed leisure time at the Heiskell Cabin in Wilsonia. Norma enjoyed socializing with old and new friends in many settings. Her interests included judo, oil painting, cooking, investing, stained glass, curing olives, bargain shopping, politics and the desert Tortoise.
Norma is survived by her daughters Valerie Melton (Brad) and Vanessa Jungwirth (Michael), brother Preston R. (Bud) Higgins and grandsons Jonathan Melton and Devin Melton. She is also survived by nieces Sue Montgomery Porter, Lori Barnhart and Janey Hesche as well as nephews Jere Schultz and Dave Schultz. She was preceded in death by her parents Preston and Hazel Higgins and her husband of 67 years, Victor.
Since 2014, Norma lived in a retirement community in Exeter. Her family wishes to express the deepest gratitude to the residents and staff of the Manor House for their friendship, dedication and loving support. Many thanks to Pat Hillman and Pam Branchinelli as well as Norma’s EUHS classmates for maintaining friendships through the years. Caring drivers including Stephanie provided transportation for numerous medical appointments and trips to the grocery store. We would also like to thank the medical professionals that provided care during Norma’s long life including the staff of Linwood Meadows Care Center.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at the Exeter Church of Christ- 320 E. Firebaugh, Exeter CA on Friday, March 25th at 10:00 AM. Arrangements entrusted to the Smith Family Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations in Norma’s name may be made to the Exeter Church of Christ Ladies Auxiliary or the Exeter Service Guild.