Grambling community celebrates life of Martha Norman

Funeral services were held for Martha Emanuel Norman Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling.

On Tuesday, Jan. 5 Martha peacefully slipped away surrounded by angels, accepting her wings and entered through the golden and eternal gates of Heaven, having been summoned by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   

Martha Norman

Martha Norman

Martha Ann Emanuel Norman came into this world on October 9, 1948. She was born to the late John Clarence Emanuel Sr. and Lillie Hall Emanuel of Colfax, Louisiana. 

She gave her life to Christ at an early age and was an active member of New Rocky Valley Baptist Church. As a devoted member of the New Rocky Valley church family, she served in many ministries and on several boards, sang in the church choir and worked tirelessly in the church kitchen serving others.

Martha Ann graduated from Grambling High School in 1966 and attended Grambling State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in social work. Martha could have stopped but continued her studies to earn her Master’s degree in guidance and counseling at Louisiana Tech University. Her studies and travel took her to Texas, New York, Hawaii, California, and Minnesota. Martha retired as the director of planning and analysis from Grambling State University in January 2006.

Martha was a lifetime member of Grambling State University National Alumni Association (GUNNA) and Grambling Alumni Chapter of Grambling State University. Martha was also an active and dedicated member of the Grambling Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for over 45 years. She served on various committees, as an advisor to the undergraduate chapter, Delta Iota and was a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

While in school at Grambling, Martha met and married her college sweetheart and the love of her life, Billy James Norman, Sr. They welcomed into the world a bouncing baby boy, Billy Jr. and a precocious baby girl Marlyn Yvette. Both children attended GSU and Billy Jr. went on to play football like his dad. Homecoming festivities were held at the Norman household each year with red beans and rice, gumbo, sweet potato pie and barbeque. All were welcome. Billy and Martha were married 45 years, during which time they became grandparents and great grandparents. She was affectionately called Momma, Grandma, Ms. Norman and Marthann. Martha was a loving and caring, wife, mother, sister and friend. She will be missed by all of those who knew her for her professionalism, wisdom and thoughtfulness toward others. 

Martha enjoyed watching soap operas, reading, singing, baking and working with brain boosters. She could always figure out the levels of difficulty with complex games.

Many of her friends and loved ones remembered Mrs. Norman as a dedicated, hard worker who was willing to  give and share whatever she had. 

Billy Norman Jr., said he would remember his mother through the many things that she taught him and the examples in live that she left for him to follow. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, John Clarence and Lillie Hall Emanuel, Sr., Brothers, Baby John, John Clarence Emanuel, Jr., LeVoie Thomas Emanuel, and sisters Bernadine Emanuel, and Lulla Mae Emanuel Wiltz, maternal grandparents Lonnie and Rebecca Sykes Hall, paternal grandparents Randolph and Mariah Smith Emanuel, father and mother-in-law James L. and Nina Rollins Norman, brother-in-law Daniel Hamilton, Sherman Durden, Benjamin Coleman and sister-in-laws Jan Norman Small and Jerri Norman Durden.

Martha will be greatly missed and forever remembered by her loving and devoted husband, Billy James Norman, Sr., loving son, Billy James (Hazel Presley) Norman, Jr., loving daughter, Marlyn Yvette Norman; treasured grandchildren, Ashley Danyale Walker, Raven Alicia (Patrick Mitchell) Presley, Robert Jordan Presley; Britney Presley (Corey) Moore, Meghan Presley; great grandchildren Patrick Darnell Mitchell, Jr., Diamauhn, Donovan, Janiyah, Terrance, Jr., Courtney, and Corey, Jr.; loving sisters Delores Emanuel Hamilton; Wanda Marie Emanuel (Manuel) Woods; devoted brothers Willie D. Emanuel, Henry O’Neal (Carlise) Emanuel; Henry Pinell (Vera) Johnson; sister-in-law’s Betty Henderson, Bobbie Roderick, Letha Emanuel, Teri Norman Coleman, Caroline Faye Norman Van Dyke, Caroline Sue Webb, and Linda Davis; brother -in-laws, Arthur Small, Louis Norman, Donald Ray (Amelia) Norman, Alvin Wiltz, Calvin Glen Summerfield; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and countless friends and family whom were blessed to know her. 

Don’t think of her as gone away, her journey’s just begun.

Life holds so many facets, this earth is only one.

Just think of her as resting from the sorrow and the tears,

In a place of warmth and comfort, where there are no days and years.

Think how she must be wishing that we could know today, How nothing but our sadness can really pass away.

And think of her as living in the hearts of those she touched, For nothing loved is ever lost, and she was loved so much.