Norma Jean La Rue, 87, passed away peacefully on January 7, 2024, in Chariton, Iowa. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 15, 2024, at First Baptist Church in Chariton. A visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. prior to the service. A luncheon will be held immediately following the funeral at the church. Norma will be laid to rest at Oxford Cemetery.
Norma was born on February 18, 1936, to Vernon and Edna (Younker) Retherford. At the early age of ten, Norma started working in her parents’ businesses; starting in their Western Auto store. Once she entered high school, she helped at the Ritz Sundries on the south side of the square until her mother’s retirement. She graduated from Chariton High School with the class of 1954. Shortly thereafter, Norma married her high school sweetheart, Larry La Rue. After Larry’s short stint in the Army, he and Norma settled on the farm where they lived for nearly 70 years.
Norma was a dedicated member of the First Baptist Church in Chariton. She taught Sunday school for every age except high school and also volunteered in Vacation Bible School for over 60 years. She happily volunteered her time for many of the church organizations as well as different church offices.
In her free time, Norma loved crafting and sewing. She was also well known around the community for her amazing stained glass creations. She participated in many craft shows and her intricate work can be found at St. Andrews Episcopal Church as well as First Baptist Church in Chariton. She taught classes to those interested in mastering the craft and sold supplies for stained glass construction.
Norma always cherished being around those she loved. Whether it was her family, friends, or fellow church members, Norma loved hosting gatherings where she would prepare more food than could possibly be eaten. She always wanted to make sure nobody left hungry.
When she wasn’t cooking for the masses or creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Norma loved to unwind by traveling. She visited countless destinations which included several trips to Europe. She and Larry enjoyed taking car trips throughout the United States. Many of their trips started with a destination, but they rarely followed a planned route or schedule to get where they were going. They just enjoyed the journey.
Left to cherish memories of Norma are her husband, Larry; sons: Rod (Deb) La Rue, Bruce La Rue, Warren (Susan) La Rue, and Ken (Shannon) La Rue; grandchildren: Greg (Kristen Liebert) La Rue, Eric (Ashley) La Rue, Isaac La Rue, Cooper La Rue, Julia La Rue, and Breanna (Bret) Smith; and a great grandchild, Gavin La Rue.
Norma was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Donald Retherford; and a grandson, Alex La Rue.
One of her great joys was helping people and finding great deals on items to be used in making up care packages for Samaritans’ Purse and other community gift projects. In lieu of flowers, donations in Norma’s name can be made to the First Baptist Church which will be used for Operation Christmas Child (Samaritans’ Purse). Online donations can be made at Samaritanspurse.org for Operation Christmas Child.