Norma Steeves Healey (Castillo)

August 11, 1933 – September 22, 2015

Although it is with profound sadness and loss that the family of Norma Healey announce her peaceful passing from our world, she has now been reunited with many other cherished family and friends. Norma was born in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines on August 11, 1933 to two gentle and dignified souls. It’s not surprising she was also a gentle and dignified lady, becoming a teacher in the Philippines like her father and youngest brother.

However, Norma’s early life was not without extreme hardship and suffering: she endured the individual losses of six brothers and also recalled the horrors that WWII wrought (e.g. abandoning their home one night, hiding in fields/caves, searching for food in the dark, selling firewood to make a little money for things foraging couldn’t produce, ‘starting over’ when the war ended). Despite such extreme conditions as a child, Norma’s gentle demeanour, hospitality and mischievous sense of humour prevailed her entire life.

Norma moved to Peace River, Alberta when she was 38; the December snow would have been a shock for someone not used to cold weather! She finally moved to Grand Forks, B.C. in 1976.

Her natural athleticism led her to play volleyball and shortstop in softball (where she earned the nickname ‘Tiny but Terrible’ because it was bad for the opposing team if they let the ball get to her). Well into her adult life, she climbed trees to gather fruit and enjoyed nature, including the multiple deer that frequented the surroundings of her home. Norma loved watching her beloved Canucks and you might as well either watch with her or call back later as she would be so distracted! She enjoyed reading hockey magazines and kept meticulous handwritten statistics and rankings. She enjoyed many kinds of music and would enthusiastically show some Filipino dance steps, sing a few lyrics, strum her mandolin or banjo or even grab her harmonica. Her vegetable and flower gardens were her passion and she was often outside watering, weeding and harvesting happily; it would take an hour just to water houseplants. Her crochet, knitting and embroidery skills were also prominently placed in her home. Ironically, she couldn’t swim very well but that didn’t deter her from being at the water’s edge or fishing. She was an amazing cook/baker, doing both prolifically so there was no shortage of food to choose from at her house. A very strong sense of family defined Norma best and she cared deeply for everyone she encountered. Anyone, regardless of age, background and education were treated with kindness, respect, dignity and love, no matter where she was.

Norma arrived in her heavenly home close to sunrise of September 22, 2015. She was welcomed by her first husband (Horace Robert Steeves – 1986), both parents (Servillano Castillo – 1992, Rosa Sagaysay – 2001) and seven brothers (Romulo – 1988, Servillano Jr., Quintin, Conrado, Oscar, Renato, Zosimo). Joining her later are her husband Alvin Healey, daughter Kathryn Nelner (Ron), son Robert Steeves (Susie), sister Purita Rezansoff (Peter), brother Moises Castillo (Levy), step-daughter Roberta and numerous nieces and nephews.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Baker family of Grand Forks Funeral Home, Norma’s passion for flowers was roses, asters, peonies, pansies but donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Grand Forks Gospel Chapel Food Pantry.

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