Norma Jean Sturges, 95, of Casper, passed away Friday, November 30, 2018. She was much loved by her family and friends.
She was born on July 22,1923, in La Plata, Maryland to Glenn Egerton Seymour Macbeth and Alta Sophronia Neilsen Macbeth, who were originally from Utah. She graduated from Woodbury High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, and later received a BA from Brown University in 1945. At Brown University she lettered in three sports. She was captain of the archery team, played on the varsity basketball team and the bowling team. She met the love of her life, Edward Sturges, at the age of 15 and they were together for 68 years. During World War II, she contributed to the war effort by working in a munitions factory, truly one of the “Rosie the Riveters”. She married Edward Blakemore Sturges on April 20,1946, after he returned from the war. They had three children and lived in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Colorado before his death in 2009, after which she relocated to Casper.
Norma was a nationally regarded fiber artist of the uniquely American craft art of braided rugs. She wrote two books about it and taught her technique for decades. She is the author of the rug braiding “bible”, The Braided Rug Book: Creating Your Own American Folk Art, first published in 1995, revised in 2000 and rewritten in 2006. To date, the book has sold more than 54,000 copies. The updated version of her book includes braiding artists from around the country. She wrote in her book,“I am a great-grandmother, determined to see that we braid the stories of our generations together into rugs that we continue to treasure”. She was one of the founders of the Rocky Mountain Rug Braiders Guild in Colorado, and she was instrumental in getting the Casper Rug Braiders Guild started. Her art was exhibited at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper. In 2012, after many years teaching and sharing her craft, she received a mentor ship grant from the Wyoming Arts Council’s Folk and Traditional Arts Program to teach advanced braiding techniques. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council Governor’s Arts Award.
Norma is survived by two children: Dorie Kupko (John), of Casper; and Elizabeth Sturges, of Denver, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many wonderful friends. She is preceded in death by her husband Edward, her son Edward, and her siblings Glenn, Doris, and Stanley.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations could be made to Meals on Wheels. Services will be determined at a later date.
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