Norma Jean Barrick

By From page A4 | February 19, 2014


Feb. 7, 1929 – Feb. 13, 2014

Norma Jean was born Feb. 7, 1929, to Willie C. and Mable Smith in Kendrick, Okla.

She spent her early years in and around Chandler, Okla., until the death of her baby sister, Aileen, and the dust bowl made Willie and Mable say “enough.” In 1938, the family of five joined other dust bowl migrants and made their way to California, settling in Cordelia.

She met the love of her life, Travis Barrick, in 1946 and married him June 30, 1947.

Norma and Travis traveled in a trailer to various construction sites around California and welcomed a baby girl, Phillis Jean, in June 1948. April 1953 found the birth of a baby boy, Michael Travis.

Norma and Travis stopped traveling in the trailer when he began working for the County of Solano. They scrimped and saved and purchased 2½ acres in the Tolenas area of Fairfield in 1955, which they paid cash for. The team purchased cement blocks and lumber as money allowed and worked on building their dream house over a three-year period.

Norma worked various jobs growing up and into adulthood. Her two favorite jobs were working for Continental Airlines, where she caught the bug to travel, and later in life, as a greeter at the Fairfield Walmart, where she remained until she had an accident on an ATV that forced her to retire after 15 years. She was thrilled beyond comprehension to be chosen to cut the ribbon on behalf of Walmart Corp. when the new store opened on North Texas Street.

Before joining Walmart, her travels included 36 cruises, where she could really dress up, to various ports around the world, mainly with Mike, with Phillis joining on a few as vacation time allowed. Her favorites were transiting the Panama Canal, the Amazon River and South Pacific.

Her partner in life died in 1978 when she was 49 years old. Norma remained a widow until her death, 35 years later.

She took great joy in the births of her granddaughters, Wendy, in August 1967, and Lori, in December 1969. Cory Travis, whom she had great pride in during the past nine years, was born to Wendy and Denny Garner in January 2005. Although the Garners live in Oklahoma, Cory and grandma Norma had loads of fun when they got together, to the point of her trying to play badminton with him the last time the family met in Utah this past May and June. Even though she had her bad knee and had a hard time walking, she was a trooper.

Norma was/is everyone’s mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and confidante.

She knew no strangers and infected everyone with her positive outlook and the everlasting smile that made her blue eyes sparkle, and nobody can forget her laugh.

Even when Norma would walk to the road to get the mail or newspaper, makeup was on perfectly and every hair was in place. Folks knew not to make plans with her on Friday as that was “Hair Day.”

She leaves behind her daughter, Phillis, and son-in-law Larry Bednarz of Lodi; Her best friend, traveling partner and son, Michael of Fairfield; granddaughter Wendy and husband Denny Garner; and great-grandson Cory of Cleveland, Okla.; and granddaughter Lori Havel and partner Kobi Gwinn of Midvale, Utah. Norma also leaves numerous nieces and nephews, along with many great-nieces and great-nephews, several great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews, and a handful of great-great-great-nieces and great-great-great-nephews. She was the last aunt or uncle from a large family (Barrick) to survive.

“Aunt Norma” loved receiving calls from her nephew, Ken Green from Cottonwood, where the two of them could and would literally talk for hours about everything, mainly old times with the family, tell jokes and laugh at and with each other. She truly missed his calls the past year after his passing in January 2012.

The past five years have been rough for her, yet she persevered, from surviving breast cancer and continuing to work full time during radiation therapy, to flipping the ATV in Utah, which forced her to leave Walmart.

Phillis and Michael made a vow to their parents many years ago to take care of them and the survivor, should one pass. Both kids kept that vow and took care of Norma for the rest of her life, and did a pretty good job.

Even when money was tight, “Aunt Norma” always made sure to buy flowers for family and friends to place on the graves at Fairfield and Rockville cemeteries on Memorial Day. To her it was a duty and honor to remember those who had passed.

Thanks go out to Dr. David Danzeisen and his staff, Kathy and Anne Marie at Kaiser Permanente in Fairfield, who have been involved with Norma all the way. Many thanks to them for working to get her transferred from Mercy San Juan Stroke Center in Sacramento to Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center, where she passed.

Also, many thanks to the Vacaville Kaiser CCU who cared for and eased Norma Jean’s passing with dignity at 1:45 p.m. Feb. 13, 2014, from the massive stroke in the cerebral cortex that left her paralyzed, unable to see, talk and hear.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, at Fairfield Funeral Home. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at Fairfield Funeral Home.

Arrangements under the care of Fairfield Funeral Home, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave., Fairfield, CA 94533.

Nancy Green


Discussion | 8 comments

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  • MattFebruary 19, 2014 - 4:30 am

    What a beautiful thing to read. I did not have the fortune of knowing Norma Jean, but I wish I had. Sounds like she made the world a better place.

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  • AmyhdontkillcoFebruary 19, 2014 - 7:00 am

    Michael and Phyllis, I am so sorry for your loss. Your mother was the best. So warm, so kind. She never met a person she didn't like. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this tough time.

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  • CarolFebruary 19, 2014 - 12:48 pm

    I first meant Norma as a greeter at the Chadborne Walmart as a greeter. She always said hello and had a smile on her face. I could tell she loved her job and people. She will be sadly missed from her family, friends and co-workers. Norma was a very sweet sweet lady. My prayers go out to her family.

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  • Samantha HerreraFebruary 19, 2014 - 12:55 pm

    My husband and i worked with Norma for years and she was a great person and loads of personality. To all her family we are deeply sorry for your loss and she is truly missed by many .

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  • Kevin BowenFebruary 19, 2014 - 7:12 pm

    Norma was like a second mother to me. I've know her for 38 years when I met her son Michael when we became flight attendants. They have been to my house in Orlando where we would do all the Disney theme parks. She always enjoyed talking to me as I did her. She was always interested in what was going on with me. I will miss you Mom. I love you.

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  • Barbara DeLappFebruary 20, 2014 - 10:10 am

    Michael and Phyllis, I was so sad to hear of your mothers passing. I remember her for the beautiful smile and warm hugs she would give to me. It has been years since I had seen her or you Michael. I have always thought of her and wondered if she and you were in the same home. After my mother's passing I so wanted her to become my step-mom. I wanted her and my dad to hook up. Unfortuantely that didn't work out and it was my dad's loss. I kept for years the make-up she had given me and always will remember her as such a put together lady. A role model she was. As I write this today I can hear her laughter and see her beautiful smile. She had a great life and it was well deserved for such a wonderful lady. I will and have always kept her close in my heart. Stay strong and know there are many people out there who love you too. Love, Barbara Mendoza (DeLapp)

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  • Jerry MartinFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:01 am

    It's hard to visualize a world without Norma. She was such a kind, caring person. What a life she lived.... traveling, working well into her 80's, loving the excitement each day brought, adoring her family! She touched so many lives and is certainly a role model for all of us. Michael and Phillis, I'll never forget the encouragement you and your Mom gave me when my Mom passed away. You are both in my thoughts during this difficult time. Sending hugs from Florida, Jerry Martin

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  • DIANNE CONTRERASFebruary 22, 2014 - 9:13 am

    I had the pleasure of having Norma as my customer at Bank of America. I am truly sadden to read of her passing. She was the sweetest person and always had the biggest smile. RIP Norma

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