Norma Joy (Ibbotson) Garvin, a longtime Groton resident well known for her many contributions to the community, passed away peacefully in her sleep, May 8, 2019.
She was the wife of Everett Garvin who passed away in July 2013. Norma was a loving mother and is survived by her proud children, Michael A Garvin of St. Louis MO., Mark E. Garvin and wife Jill of Andover, MA., Reid A. Garvin of Alton, N.H., Holly L. Raymond of Townsend, MA., and grandchildren who filled her life with great joy, Sarah, Emily and Elizabeth Garvin, St. Louis, MO., Jennifer and Annie Garvin, Andover, MA., Michael Anderson, Spencer, MA., and Christina Anderson, Fernandina Beach, FL. She was also the sister of Kenneth Ibbotson, Ontario, Canada, Doug Grose, Mentor Ohio, Margaret Illman, Chatham, Ontario and the late Marguerite McGregor.
Norma was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 8, 1933, daughter of Norman and Stella (Greatrix) Ibbotson and Chester Grose. She grew up in Toronto and in Chatham, Ontario where she graduated from St. Joseph's School of Nursing as a Registered Nurse. She met her husband in St Louis, Missouri, where she was employed as an Operating Room nurse, after completing specialized training at the Mayo Clinic's Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.
The Garvins moved to Groton in 1962 and Norma started her long association with local hospitals, Groton Community Hospital and Nashoba Community Hospital, now Nashoba Valley Medical Center. She served as both a nurse and a volunteer, re-establishing the Junior Volunteer program, serving three terms as the president of the Hospital Auxiliary and many years as Director of Volunteer Services. She helped the hospital start a Care-Ring program to call seniors to check on them. In 1984, this program won the hospital an American Society of Directors of Volunteers Services Innovative Program Award.
She was involved with the hospital in the Relay for Life Cancer walk for many years. She had an inspirational determination to overcome obstacles, an impeccable work ethic, and an uncanny ability to find laughter in any situation. She was well known by many for her loyalty, kind-hearted spirit and giving nature.
Norma served her community in many capacities. She was active in the Unitarian Church as an assistant to Rev. Rosenberger. For 10 years she coached Junior and Senior girls' softball, serving for two years as the President of the Nashoba Girls Softball League. She served on the Council on Aging for six years, three of which she was president. She was one of the founders of the successful HELP program from which evolved into the Golden Agers Club.
In 2003, she was the girl Friday volunteer for the Groton Fire Department, in 2006 she was asked to serve on the LEPC, Local Emergency Planning Committee, in 2007 she was on the Police Chief Screening Committee. Norma covered Town Meetings and election days, served on the Historical Commission and was a member of the Groton Historical Society.
As a member of the Groton Woman's Club, she served on committees for Youth Services, Scholarships, Publicity, UNICEF, and Community Services among others.
She also worked part time at the Groton School Infirmary for 20 years.
Norma loved the sun, beach and pool. She enjoyed entertaining friends and family, caring for her home, tending her garden, painting, hooking and working on family genealogy. She loved to travel visiting Canada, England, Ireland, France, Russia, Greece, Hawaii, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, Aruba, Cancun, Scotland, and Turkey.
Over the years she received several awards for her services. In 1974, she was selected as Groton's Public Spirited Citizen. In 2003, the Nashoba Chamber of Commerce awarded her the Robert W. Lewis award for Outstanding Citizen Volunteer. In 2006, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women presented her with the Mass. Unsung Heroine Award. In 2008, the Nashoba Valley Medical Center awarded her their Living Legend award for lifelong commitment to the improvement of community health. In 2013, the new Geriatric Psychiatric Unit at the hospital was dedicated and named the Garvin Geriatric, Psychiatric Unit.
Although her physical presence is no longer with us, her spirit lives forever in our hearts and our minds as we recall her beauty, strength and love of life.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Norma on Friday, May 17 at 2:00 pm in the First Parish in Groton, 1 Powderhouse Rd., Groton. Following the service, the Garvin family extends an invitation to join them at Norma's home for refreshments. Burial in Groton Cemetery will be private.
Donations in her memory may be made to:
Friends of the Groton Elders
P.O. Box 289
West Groton, MA 01472