Mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and former Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder co-publisher, Norma Jean Williams, passed away Tuesday, June 6, 2023.
Norma was born in Des Moines, Iowa on December 28, 1941, to parents Wallace O’Neal and Launa (Quincy) Jackman, the first of two children. She passed away peacefully at the age of 81, at home where she resided with her daughter, Tracey. She was preceded in death by her parents, her father Wallace Jackman, and her mother Launa Newman.
Norma moved to Minneapolis in 1965 with her then-husband James Williams, Sr., and two young daughters, to join her mother and brother Wallace “Jack” Jackman Jr., and began her association with the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (then the Minneapolis Spokesman and the St. Paul Recorder). She often joined the newspaper’s backroom performing many duties. Her involvement increased in 1976 when she became the paper’s vice president, during which time she interviewed local and national notables. Her writing skills were also put to use when she interviewed visiting celebrities like Eartha Kitt, Rosa Parks, James Brown, and B.B. King for the newspaper.
Norma’s “Bachelors and Bachelorettes” weekly column, which culminated in an annual gala event, was very successful at providing opportunities for singles—young and old—to meet, so much so that many long-married couples can now trace their relationships back to Norma’s matchmaking skills. Her sense of humor was quick and razor-sharp, leading to a popular run as a stand-up comedian performing at various locations around the Twin Cities, as well as becoming a radio personality on local radio stations KMOJ and KFAI. Later in life, Norma went back to school and earned a CNA certificate and a desire to serve and care for the elderly.
Norma is mostly admired and appreciated greatly for her heart and opening her doors to many. She invited those who didn’t have anywhere else to go into her home, and they immediately became extended family. Her smile was infectious and her company was enjoyed by most who came in contact with her. Norma is survived by her children Vicky, Tracey, James Jr, Greg, and Tina, and her brother Wallace Jackman Jr. She leaves behind a host of friends and family, including 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, to cherish her memory and continue her legacy.
The memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 2 p.m., at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses, 701 Humboldt Ave. North, Minneapolis, MN. The service will be streamed virtually and can be joined via Zoom ID: 237 723 0277 Password: 120190. Services will be followed by a celebration of life at 6 p.m., at the Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN, 55403.