Norma Jean Brownlee-Banks

October 2, 1949May 1, 2018
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On October 2, 1949, Norma Jean Brownlee-Banks of Peoria was born to Lovania and Dorothy Brownlee in Memphis, Tennessee. The oldest of seven children, Norma was educated and raised in Chicago, IL, where she also met the love of her life, Charles (C.B.) Bernard Banks, on a blind date. She later married C.B. on November 13, 1970, and together they raised four daughters.

A spiritual woman, devoted wife, nurturing and patient mother, loving sister, aunt and friend to all that knew her will remain her true legacy. Everyone that met her, knew she was truly someone special. Norma recognized she had a strong spiritual connection to the Lord and always entered a room with a smile, being patient and kind. As she always said, "you never know what people are going through." When she was able to help through volunteerism and community efforts, she did. Norma served on the Peoria inaugural planning committee for the 1st Million Black Woman march on Washington, supported many events and activities for her children's schools and for the special needs community in Peoria. She also enjoyed bowling, sewing, shopping and having her family around. When all her children were home at the same time and the house was loud and noisy, she said that is when she slept the best.

Norma stayed home until her children were of self-sufficient age before returning to work. She returned to work as a secretary at MET Life Insurance and Heartland Community Healthcare clinic, however, she spent most of her career as a secretary OSF Healthcare.

Norma's health began to decline some years ago and she persevered as long as she could, never once complaining and remained graceful and gentle until her last hours. Norma peacefully transitioned to the Lord on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at her home in Peoria, IL. Preceding her in death were her husband, Charles (C.B.); her mother, Dorothy Reed Brownlee; her father, Lovania Brownlee; and her sister, Patricia (Pat) Brownlee.

Her life is lovingly cherished by her four daughters, Leslie Brownlee of Peoria, IL, Shannon (David) Brooks of Plainfield, IL, Enid Banks of Peoria, IL, and Allysen (Chris) Classen of Peoria IL.; six grandchildren, Sierra, Noah, Elijah, Brandon, Symantha and Garrett; five siblings, Darrell, Keith, Theodora (Daphine), Karl and Esther (Nette); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A celebration of life will be held Friday, May 18, 2018, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Davison-Fulton Woodland Chapel, with services to follow. To view Norma's memorial page or to leave an online condolence, please go to


  • Lovania Brownlee, Father
  • Dorothy Reed Brownlee, Mother
  • Charles (C.B.) Banks, Husband
  • Leslie Brownlee, Daughter
  • Shannon and David Brooks, Daughter
  • Enid Banks, Daughter
  • Allysen and Chris Classen, Daughter
  • ~ Six Grandchildren - Sierra, Noah, Elijah, Brandon, Symantha, and Garrett, ~
  • ~ Six Siblings - Patricia (Pat), Darrell, Keith, Theodora (Daphine), Karl and Esther (Nette), ~
  • ~ A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends., ~
  • Norma was preceded in death by her husband; Charles (C.B.), mother; Dorothy Reed Brownlee, father; Lovania Brownlee, and sister; Patricia (Pat) Brownlee.

  • Community Workshop Training Center


  • Celebration of Life Friday, May 18, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, May 18, 2018

Norma Jean Brownlee-Banks

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Sally Von Drake

May 30, 2018

I just learned of Norma's passing. I am so very sorry. I hired Norma in the OSF Corporate Office and we remained friends for many years. I've been retired for almost 10 years, and I've lost touch with so many in that time. I attended your father's visitation with the hopes of seeing Norma, only to find out she was not in good health. That broke my heart. I feel terrible that I missed her services. Just to hug members of her family would have been so comforting to me, and hopefully to all of you. Norma and I enjoyed each other's company outside of work too. A number of years ago, we decided we deserved a night out - a nice one. We decided to go to a nice place to eat - no fast food for us that night. We went to a place in the Heights - I can't remember the name of it. It was rather fancy and we were loving every minute of our indulgence. I don't remember what we ate, but I do remember the leftovers were wrapped in foil to look like a long necked duck or goose. We vowed to treat ourselves again, but we never found the time to do it. I loved Norma and will never forget her.