Norma Jean Sebring Empfield passed away peacefully at home with family by her side on November 1, 2023. She was a very young 101.
Raised in Portage, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of Jennie Forsythe and Norman Sebring and the youngest of five girls, all of whom she loved dearly.
Norma Jean worked in Portage’s WWII rationing board before marrying the love of her life, Dean Empfield. In 1958 the family left Pennsylvania to start a new life under the sunny skies, palm trees, and balmy breezes here in her beloved South Florida where she was a “surrogate mother” to most of the children in her Wilton Manors neighborhood. Now grown, many of those children still kept in touch.
With a strong belief in Dean, she always believed anything was possible with a good attitude and hard work. Even though they had four young children and a mortgage, when Dean proposed leaving the security of his job with the City of Fort Lauderdale to develop a new industry, Norma Jean fearlessly supported him.
She was his rock. She held down the home front and kept him strong through the tough times. Their fledgling company, Design Traffic Installation, “DTI”, went on to change the face of South Florida with modern traffic signals, streetlights and roadways.
After two decades the family moved to Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge, where each day she awoke with a smile and an eagerness for a new adventure.
Norma Jean had a strong faith in God and regularly expressed her appreciation of family, friends, and each and every day of her life.
She loved people, the sunshine, the clouds, furry friends and new fashion trends. She couldn’t wait to see what new technological gadget was coming next. But most of all, she loved her family.
With never a bad word about anyone, Norma Jean always found the best in people. She laughed easily, forgave quickly, expressed gratitude regularly, and was a lady to the end.
She was adored by all who knew her, especially friends, neighbors, everyone at her favorite stores and restaurants and the wonderful staff at the Imperial Point Hospital Gym and Wellness Center where she maintained friendships, good health and her girlish figure three mornings a week for almost thirty years.
Her love of family and dear friends will live on in the hearts and memories of those she held close.
“Even though her incredibly bright loving spirit was called to move on, we thank God for the time we shared,” the family says.
Predeceased by her sisters, then in 2003 by her husband of 52 years, Norma Jean is survived by sons Tracy Dean and Alan Scott, and daughters Synae (husband, Bob) and Jenny Lynn (husband, Don), relatives in Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Georgia, and her companion and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) of almost three years, Marlene.
Services are pending.
It can be a great comfort to a grieving person or family to hear that others thought highly of their loved one, too. If you knew and admired Norma Jean, be sure to let the family know by sharing your thoughts in the “Memory” section of her obituary on the Kraeer – Fairchild Funeral Home website. www.KraeerFairchild.