Passed away together May 23, 2008, while driving their 1955 Pontiac to a car show at Topaz Lodge. They died the way they lived-together doing what they loved. They traveled across the country many times in their old cars; sometimes Bird driving her Safari and Norm driving the sedan.
Norman was born April 4, 1935, in Kansas City, Mo. to Burl and Cecil White.
Virginia was born December 5, 1937 in Reno to Burnice and Edwin (Pappy) Rhodes.
Norman's family migrated west living in Arizona, Las Vegas, Beatty and then his final school years in Carson City.
Virginia's family after leaving Reno lived in Lovelock, Fallon then settled in Carson City in 1945, where she finished school.
They grew up in the same neighborhood; New Empire, which is now Airport Road. They married October 28, 1956, in Minden, began married life in Reno, and then bought their home on Nichols Lane in New Empire where they remained for several years until moving to Minden.
They had five boys; four graduated from Douglas High School; Sam Harrison and wife Laura of Spanish Springs, Maurice Early of Carson City Dennis Walter of Sparks, Henry Norman and wife Paige of Georgetown, Calif., and Jerry David who passed away as an infant.
Eight Grandchildren: Shawn White, Jerry White, Heidi Gainey, David White, Christian White, Jacob White, Nicholas White, Casey White.
Three great grandchildren: Michael, Trisha and Steven.
Sisters and brothers: Karen and husband Bob Bowman of Dayton, Paul and wife Charlene Rhodes of Sparks, Bob White of Mina, Nevada, John and wife Cheryl Shorter of Sparks, Jerry and wife Judy Shorter of Gardnerville, Ryan Shorter and wife Cherie of Reno. Numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
They bought the '55 sedan when they were first married from Norm's foster Dad, Andy Gottelli. When it was time to move on to another vehicle, they couldn't bare to part with it so it remained parked in their yard for several years. Secretly, their children had it restored as an anniversary surprise. Bird bought her safari in its original condition with the sale papers still in the glove compartment-it, also had been sold by Gottelli Motors. They were very proud of their cars and spent much of their time pulling their teardrop trailers to various shows.
When they weren't "on the road" in their classic cars, they were attending whatever events their family was participating in. They volunteered to organize or assist in events whenever needed. In their down time, they were hosting fabulous dinners for whoever could come.
Every Memorial Day IF the snow was off Jobs Peak, they would organize a trek up to the top. This event attracted a variety of people. Their children would come in the day before and spend the night. Virginia would be up early fixing breakfast for her crew. The hearty folks would go with Norman to make the climb and the others would stay at the house and help prepare a meal for their return.
Carson Valley Days would see them up early preparing a beef stew feast in Norm's cast iron Dutch ovens. They would bury the ovens in a trench of hot coals, jump in their classic cars, participate in the festivities downtown with their car club buddies, then rush home to dig up the ovens and play host to the car club and anyone else who showed up. They never ran out of food.
Their accomplishments were many and their rewards were always shared because they did everything together. Norman worked for Sierra Pacific Power Company before retirement. Virginia stayed home and tended to the many duties of wife, mother, and grandmother.
When Norm was a lineman and out in a raging storm during a power outage, Virginia would be home keeping the home fires burning. When he spent hours working to build and improve Governor's Field, she would be in the concession stand or working with other wives running errands and preparing meals for the guys.
She was meticulous with her needlework and their home is adorned with cross stitch wall hangings, afghans and various projects. She could sit amid total chaos and work on a project while her rough 'n tumble boys did their best to distract her. If she did miss a stitch, she would make up a story about why it was a good thing.
They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006. They discovered that more people came than were invited. That is the way they were. People were always welcome, invited or not.
They were compassionate; always ready to help a friend or family member with a hug or whatever was needed.
Adventurous; never hesitated to set out to discover something new and overcame any obstacle that might prevent their quest. Humor helped them through many dark times. They always had a funny story to tell, even in the sad times; they put people at ease with their kind, living ways. They put their own health issues aside to cheer a friend in trouble. Their boys inherited these traits.
Bird and Norman you will be missed by all who knew and loved you.
A memorial fund has been set up by City National Bank for Norm and Birdie: 1647 Hwy 395, Minden NV 89423, Account #366211144.
A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Douglas High School. Fitzhenry's Funeral Home is caring for the arrangements.