Norraine Amerine, 90, peacefully passed away in her home surrounded by her devoted family on April 3, 2018. She was born to Charley and Della (Norton) Roll in Elkhart, Kansas. Nicknamed Waynie, she was the youngest of eight children and the only one born in a hospital.
Friends may call Friday from noon to 8 pm, and the visitation will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6th at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home in Lawrence, Kansas. Private graveside services will be held later.
She grew up on land that her parents homesteaded near Point Rock and the Cimarron River in Morton County, Kansas, until suffering through the Dust Bowl when they moved the family and their cattle to Thedford, Nebraska for relief from the harsh environment. Her family would tell of walking to school holding onto a fence rail because they could not see for the dust which covered everything. Times were hard for most during the Great Depression and their family was no exception, but Norraine often recalled her mother making things seem wonderful, especially a birthday celebration which consisted of a biscuit with a few red hot candies on top for decoration. Norraine thought that was magnificent. That ability to make anything and everyone seem special was one she carried on with her own family and friends.
Later, her family moved to Lawrence, Kansas where they raised dairy cattle on a farm west of town. Norraine attended Kanawaka School with her older brother, Lee, and remembered fondly her teacher Mrs. Springer. Deciding upon hearing the news that Lee — who could be ornery — was not going to move on to high school without his little sister, Mrs. Springer pushed Norraine through two years of school in one! She graduated from Liberty Memorial High School in 1945. During her school years she had many jobs, two of which intersected when a movie called “Dark Command” starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor was premiering in Lawrence at what is now Liberty Hall. She worked at Alexander Flower shop and was thrilled to have delivered flowers to Miss Trevor and then worked at the theater as an “usherette” and walked John Wayne to his seat. However, her favorite place to work during that time was the Green Lantern — a restaurant owned and ran by Chris and Ann Williams — who would become lifelong friends.
It was shortly after graduating high school that she met Carl Amerine and they married in 1948. They shared a love for dancing and swing music, especially Glenn Miller tunes. They worked together farming and raising their children in Jefferson County. Later, in 1960 they moved to Lawrence where, as the children got older, Norraine worked with Dr. John Albers, Dr. George Brahler, Dr. Mitchell, and for many years with great pride for Drs. Jones, Manahan, and Reese. Later, as all of her children were raised, she went back to her restaurant background and worked as a manager of the Village Inn for two years — where she thoroughly enjoyed meeting people everyday. She was an active member of the community volunteering as a Den Mother for Cub Scouts, a volunteer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and many activities for Plymouth Congregational Church where she was a member since 1950.
She loved her family and thoroughly enjoyed her grandchildren who were blessed to have her as their devoted and loving grandmother. She had an unyielding faith in people that made everyone around her better for it. Norraine possessed tremendous generosity, vitality, and a love for life that was evidenced by her beautiful smile — which she gave freely.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Carl, and her son, Rance. She is survived by her son, Michael Amerine, her daughter, Carla (Murl) Westheffer, and her three grandsons, Murl Westheffer Jr., Michael Westheffer, and Chase Westheffer. She was also blessed to have many nieces and nephews.
We want to express tremendous gratitude for the staff at the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association, particularly Juls, Joanne, Lana, and Christina. We also want to thank Dr. Molly Imber and her staff for their wonderful attention, empathy, and patience in caring for Norraine.
Memorial contributions to Douglas County Visiting Nurses or a charity of the donor’s choice and may be sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home & Crematory, 601 Indiana Street,Lawrence, KS 66044.
We remember her for her sense of style, elegance, and grace that was represented by her often complimented signature string of pearls.