Norma Marion Lynch Babbitt

Norma Marion Lynch Babbitt, 98, died Friday, December 11, 2020 at her home. She was born on November 4, 1922 in rural Douglas County, KS, the second child and only daughter to Albert and Helen Lynch (nee Howard). Norma lived in Douglas County her entire life. As a child she attended Oakridge school, Pleasant Valley school and Fairview Methodist Church. She loved playing baseball and all things competitive with her older brother Howard and their friends. In 1937, her mother was expecting a third baby and went into labor in the middle of a snowstorm. The doctor’s car got stuck in a snow drift. While Norma’s father went off to retrieve the doctor, Norma, age 14, delivered her baby brother, Clarence “Tod”, herself. After the doctor and her father arrived, Norma made breakfast for everyone.

Norma graduated from Lawrence’s Liberty Memorial High School in 1941. A year later, she married her high school sweetheart, Dale Babbitt, on January 15, 1942. They built a family and a life of farming. Norma and Dale had a daughter, Helen Carol in 1943, and a second daughter, Phyllis Elaine, in 1945. The budding family lived in a small house on their first farm, situated along the Wakarusa River, Northwest of Clinton. What it lacked in running water, it made up for in character and good soil. In 1957, Norma and Dale had their third and final child, a son named Alan Dale.

Norma worked with Dale plowing, planting, harvesting, fixing equipment, cooking too much food, and keeping detailed records of everything that happened on their farm. She was a devoted member of Clinton Presbyterian Church, and played softball nearly as religiously. The Clinton Girl’s Class B softball team went to the State tournament multiple times with Norma playing first base and second base. The team often placed in the top three and won the State tournament twice. Norma served as church treasurer for many years, organized the annual Turkey Supper for 25 years, attended the Ladies Circle group, and served as an elder.

Norma was the first woman to serve on the Douglas County Farm Service Agency Board. She was also an active 4-H leader during her children’s youth. While Norma was known for her in-charge, all-work, no-nonsense attitude, she harbored a soft spot for 4-H, being outside, custard pie, Royals baseball, blue jeans, and her family.

When the Flood Control Act of 1962 authorized the damming of the Wakarusa River and subsequent construction of Clinton Lake, Norma and Dale had to sell their little house in the bottom and all of their surrounding farmland. They moved up the hill to a two-story white farmhouse west of Clinton. It had a large porch and the luxury of indoor plumbing. However, seeing the boats and trailers drive by on their way to the new lake was like salt on a wound to Norma and Dale, so they relocated to a farm in Southwest Douglas county, where they lived out the rest of their lives.

After 56 years of marriage, Dale died in 1999. Norma farmed as long as her body would let her, and then a bit after that. In her later years, Norma was still quick to speak her mind, but equally quick to squeeze the oxygen out of you in a bear hug. She enjoyed watching The Price is Right,

Jeopardy, anything with John Wayne, reading the newspaper, driving around in her gator, mowing and spoiling her grandchildren with cookies and cream ice cream.

Norma died at home with her family. She told her descendants to behave when she was gone. At peace with the life she had lived and knowing her time on Earth was up, Norma was eager to join her Lord, Dale, her parents, and brothers Howard and Tod, as well as many other family and friends.

Norma is survived by her children, Helen O’Trimble of Perry, Phyllis Anderson of Lawrence, and Alan Babbitt (Debbie) of Overbrook, grandchildren Steven O’Trimble (Larinda), Chad O’Trimble (Sheila), Holly O’Trimble, Marni Penrod (David), Marci Spaw (Chris), Randy Babbitt, Ryan Babbitt (Rae), Brenna Henery (Josh) and Casey Babbitt, nineteen great grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by farming partners who became family, the children and grandchildren of the late Marvin and Barbie Cox in Wallace County, KS. In addition to her parents, brothers and husband, Norma was preceded in death by her son-in-law, Robert O’Trimble, daughter-in-law, Coleen Reece Babbitt, and former grandson-in-law, Cory Scott.

The family would like to thank all of Norma’s caregivers over the years, especially Reina and Michelle.

Graveside services will be at 2:00pm, Thursday, December 17th at the Clinton Cemetery in Clinton, KS. Please feel free to dress casually and for warmth. Visitation will be held at Rumsey-Yost Funeral home, Wednesday, December 16th from 9:00am to 8:00pm. Memorials in Norma’s honor may be given to the Clinton Presbyterian Church or The Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St, P.O. Box 1260, Lawrence, KS 66044. For more information or to post a condolence, please go to rumsey-yost.com.

Messages & Condolences

From Richard & Terie Jolly & Family...

To the Babbitt Family,

Sorry for your loss.

From Dan Kennedy...

What a beautiful grave side service today at Clinton. It was uplifting with so many fond memories !! Amy, Maria & Sandy gave a fitting celebration of Normas life that I will long remember !!

From Karla Wiscombe...

Norma was a hard worker and enjoyed every minute of it. She gave the best hugs and my kids remember her for handing out the best bags of candy at Halloween. My heart is sad to lose such a wonderful neighbor and someone who always made me feel loved and welcomed. RIP, sweet lady!

From Patty supancic...

We have known Norma for many years. Norma knew my husband before I did, at the time I went to introduce them Norma told me I already know this guy. Helen and I have been friends since 7thgrade. Norma always was a great lady and tolerated Helen and I well. Norma always told us girls to behave.
R I P friend. Anthony and Patty.

From Sheryl Saathoff...

We are so sorry for your loss. Hold on to the many wonderful memories. May the comfort of friends and family help you at this difficult time. The Saathoff Family

From Denny, Loretta and Samuel O’Trimble...

So sorry that you’ve all lost such a neat lady. We loved reading her obituary that was so full of beautiful memories for you all. So many wonderful things about Norma that we didn’t know. Please take care everyone and know that we praying for your family. Love to you all 💕

From Fred and Lois Mersmann...

Phyllis,
So sorry for your loss. Your mother lived a wonderful life and raised a beautiful daughter. You’ll be in our thoughts and prayers. May God grant you peace at this difficult time.

From Nancy Wiederkehr Mann on behalf of Jeanette Wiederkehr...

mom will not be able to attend but wanted to say how much she appreciated Norma teaching her how to be a farm wife and to drive a truck

From Dan Oehlert...

What a strong woman!! Norma was a inspiration to all!! The Oehlert Clan sends our deepest sympathies for your family’s loss!!

From Harry and Carole Morgan...

What a wonderful life . Hard working and full of energy and love. Thinking of you, Phyllis and all of your family. love from the Morgans.

From Sharon Thurber...

Many on my great childhood memories have Norma in them: Bible school, turkey suppers, women’s church group, etc. etc. etc. Great lady, she will be missed by so many. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

From KC and Kari Wempe...

Sending sympathy to Norma’s family and all who knew this strong renaissance woman. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

From Marilyn Will...

I’ve known Norma and family for many years. We lived close to Phyllis and family in rural Douglas county for several years. Norma was one of a kind. A lady after my own heart, she told it like it was!

From Dan Kennedy...

What a grand lady and pillar of our Clinton / Belvoir community as I was growing up. So many great times remembered!!
Carol and I send our love to all members of the Babbitt family.

From George and Cheryl Hunsinger...

What a wonderful story of the wonderful, of a wonderful lady. She will be missed. Although I did not see her very often, it was treat when I did. She always asked about my parents, and how my family was. She is the last of the hard working farm wives from back in the day. She will be missed.

From Frank and Nancy Hempen...

What a wonderful woman and a life filled with love and compassion. Norma was a very special lady and was loved by so many. Always greeting you with a smile. We hope all your wonderful memories will help you through this difficult time and our prayers are with your families

From Audrey King (Reece)...

All my love and sympathy to the family. So many great memories running around at the farm and playing!!

From Carin Nichols...

Norma was a very special gem… I’m so blessed to have known her and spend some quality time with her… my deepest condolences to the friends and family… she was truly one of a kind.. God got another angel.. rest easy Norma..

From Billie and candy cox...

Norma and dale were the two people that saw and trusted our family enough to care for there western ks farm. Our time with them will never be forgotten and we will always be thankful for not only friendships with the Babbitt family. But the chance to make a life of our own as they did

From Marilyn Blevins...

Alan and family,sorry for the loss of your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Hugs and love to you!

From Tom & Robin Polsley...

Our sympathies go out to the entire Babbitt family during this time of loss. She was a very great lady!

From Stacy Jones...

My love and prayers are with the family. I have such great memories of our families being together growing up. How lucky we were to have had Norma in our lives.

From Kristy Wempe Bellinger...

A beautiful tribute for an equally beautiful woman. I have many fond memories of Grandma Norma: her smile, warmth, love, and hugs. Lord, that woman could give a hug. All second to the immense joy she had in chatting about her grandchildren and how so very proud of them she was. If the world was as loving and hard working as Norma (and how she raised her kids and grands), we’d be in a much better place. She will be missed sorely, but her legacy lives on with her wonderful family.

Sending you all peace and love,

Kristy Wempe Bellinger

From Steve and Marcia Wilson...

Our prayers are with your family.

From MaryKay & Bennett Johnson...

What a classy lady. Blessed to have shared more than one meal with her and enjoy her fun-loving attitude!!!

From Scott, Debby and Cody Slifer...

I’m so sorry for your loss! I loved grandma Norma. Who’s going to rave about my spinach/artichoke dip now?? Our thought and prayers are with the whole family.

From Joyce Elliott...

My prayers go out to Norma’s family. Her great smile and big heart will be missed by all who knew her. As a young child my mother would by fresh milk and eggs from Mrs Babbitt. She also taught me how to sew and grow a garden in 4 H. She always was helping whenever help was needed. She and her husband was a wonderful part of our country community. I will miss her . R. I. P. Wonderful lady.

From DEBBIE D’Armond...

My thoughts and Prayers are with Norma’s Children and Grandchildren and great grandchildren. I was BLESSED to have met Norma. She was a very kind and loving person.
May the Lord put his loving arms around you all and give you the peace and comfort at this time.

From Derek & Brenda Welsh...

Norma was a special person. Every time we would see her she had a big smile and open arms ready for a hug. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

From Carol Waisner...

My thoughts and prayers are with all of her beloved family. This was a great loss for so many. If you ever met Norma you were a friend for life. She was a sweet, generous, compassionate , hard working lady and loved her family and the Clinton community dearly. She was very special to the Waisner family and will be missed by many

From Marsue Neis Frame...

I am so sorry to learn about the death of this lovely lady with her beautiful smile. I remember her fondly at Reusch family reunions in my youth. My thoughts and prayers to her family.

From Delbert Sheldon...

Norma. Was a Great/ Nice/ Intelligent/Hard Working Lady… will be Praying & Thinking of Her Entire Family at this time .. Now she will be with “Dale”…..👍🙏 Again ….

From Ann Stites PT...

Dear Family,

I am sorry for your loss. I witnessed the love shown to Norma during this last journey of hers. Ann Stites. PT

From Donita Bouton...

Our heart felt sympathies to the Babbitt family. Norma was such a genuine person and kind soul with a servants heart! She was always willing to help or say a kind word. I will never forget her coming to comfort me and stayed with me through the night once when Marc had a accident and I was very pregnant with my first baby ❤️ She was also a second Mom to Marc when he was going through difficult teenage years!
We mourn with you and want to do whatever we can to help in your time of sorrow
Much love and prayers
Donita and Marc Bouton’s family

From Tim & Arcelia Reusch...

Great person, great family, always good to see when the opportunities arose. Our best to our extended family.

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