Norma Jeanne Belonie
February 14, 1932 – January 4, 2020
Our angel, Norma Jeanne Sorsby Belonie, has entered into the Gates of Heaven... She was a pillar of Texarkana. Her heritage encompassed the spirit of growth and laid the foundation on which Liberty-Eylau was built. Norma's parents helped to establish the Liberty-Eylau community in the 1800's. Her parents, Clara and William G. (Bill) Sorsby were very active leaders in the community. Clara played for the school functions and Eylau Methodist Church until her death in 1969. She was the first elected woman official in Texarkana, serving as Justice of the Peace. W.G. was secretary of the school Board during the combining of the two districts to create the L-E ISD. He served as Justice of the Peace for Texarkana.
Norma attended Eylau School from first through tenth grades. She graduated from Texas High School in 1949. She played the piano for the Eylau Baptist Church when it was first organized. Norma then had to leave to attend Arkansas A&M in Montecello to attain a degree in Education. Norma attributed her academic success (attained a Master's degree and 30 hours post-graduate hours) to her Texarkana education. She received the best training from the best teachers in the world. She did have some others to compare with among fellow teachers in El Paso, Texas; Hanau and Darmstadt, Germany; Key West, Florida; and a short period at Spring Branch in Houston. Norma taught school with ease and confidence, and was always made a leader in every school.
She met her prince of sixty-seven years, Charles Burl Belonie, and traveled throughout the world supporting her military husband. Together, they raised two daughters in a home filled with God, music, laughter, and love. Norma taught for the Department of Defense abroad. Her career lead her to a fantasy world of children of all backgrounds. Each student was her "child" and her heart served their needs. She returned to Texarkana in 1980 and started teaching at the Liberty-Eylau Intermediate School in 1981. She loved teaching and received the Teacher of the Year Award in 1994-95. She received the Who's Who Among American Teachers in 1996, and was recommended for this by students who wrote letters about attending her classes. She was also nominated for a Wilbur Award in the category of working with children. Norma wrote curriculum for many years. She authored an educational manual called, SCORE - Strategies for Scoring on State Tests (published in 1999) which is currently being used in many states. She received the Liberty-Eylau PTA's Life Membership Award (and so did her mother). Her daughters, Jeannie Van Hoose and Charlotte Hueter also received PTA Life Membership Awards. Her love for Wagner, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky inspired her family and students to support the arts. Students of all ages continue to share her stories and remark on how interesting her classes were in school. She retired in 2000. Norma always felt blessed to have been able to teach for forty-nine years and "loved every second" of her career.
Her family was instrumental in establishing and maintaining the high standards we see today in the Texarkana/LEISD. Her brother, Emory Dale Sorsby was a band director at the L-E HS until his death in 1970. Weekly, people approached her to talk about him. His wife, Mary Francis Darby Sorsby, also taught music for a few years in the community. Her brother, Billy D. Sorsby was blessed with a talent for the violin. Her sisters, Claire Marie Williams and Jan Sorsby Reed were educators in Texarkana. They were all members of the Sorsby Sisters and entertained locally for many years.
Norma was a member of the Home Extension Club. She included her daughters and granddaughters in the meetings as four generations of members (her mother, Clara Sorsby, helped to establish the club in the 1950's). Norma worked with Bowie County officials, and partnered with members of Maud, Texarkana, Dalby Springs, and DeKalb. She was also active in the Delta Kappa Gamma teacher's sorority (55 year member), Texarkana Retired Teachers, Women for the Arts, TRAHC, Wednesday Music Club, Texarkana Music Teachers Association, Co-director of the Sacred Heart Singing Angels, Unit One Altar Society, National Poet's Society, L-E Community Education Board, and was a community volunteer. Her family and friends continue to be inspired by her love for the Texarkana community.
Survivors include her husband of sixty-seven years, Charles Burl Belonie, two daughters and sons-in-law, Jeannie and Philip Van Hoose, and Charlotte and John Hueter, two granddaughters, Charli and Johnni Hueter, two sisters, Claire Sorsby Williams and Jan Sorsby Reed and a number of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mass of Christian Burial will be will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church officiated by Rev. Michael Adams. Burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. Catholic Rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Monday, January 6, 2020 at East Funeral Home - Moores Lane. All who loved and new her are welcomed to celebrate her life at these services.
Husband of sixty-seven years, Charles Burl Belonie
Daughter and son-in-law, Jeannie and Philip Van Hoose
Daughter and son-in-law,Charlotte and John Hueter
Granddaughters, Charli and Johnni Hueter
Sisters, Claire Sorsby Williams and Jan SorsbyReed
- Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, January 7, 2020
- Rosary Monday, January 6, 2020
Norma Jeanne Belonie
January 12, 2020
I am sorry to learn of your mother's passing. Thinking of you.
January 9, 2020
I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Norma !!She was an example of strength and such a talented lady.I did not know her as well as I do you ,but I know she had to be a blessing to all of you because your love and care for her has always shone so brightly.I wish George and I could have attended the services ,but we were not able .Please know you are on our hearts and in our prayers,and if we can do anything please allow us to serve.Love and hugs to you !!
January 6, 2020
My dear Aunt Norma Jean, was truly a blessings to all of us. She was beautiful inside and outside. Taught us all a lot about family. I loved to here her playing music and singing. You will truly be missed.
January 6, 2020
My sister, Norma Jean, dearly loved her family from her immediate family to distant cousins! Her love and memory for our parents was her topic of conversation very often! The memories she had were amazing, and she was definitely the historian of our family. If you wanted to know something, you just asked Norma Jean. I will never forget the times we all sang around the piano while she played for us and the joy it gave her! I loved her stories about all the places she had been! When you went to her house, it was filled with beautiful things she had bought on all of her adventures, and pictures were displayed everywhere of the family she loved so much! She loved her possessions because each one had a memory of a special time in her life! Norma Jean never gave up and fought until the end! I will truly miss her, but my heart feels at peace because she lived her life to the fullest and never missed out on anything until it came to the point she just wasn’t able. I will cherish the few minutes she was able to spend in my home this Christmas! It was her wish to be here, and she did it.
Norma Jean, I have a big smile on my face right now, even though my eyes are blurred with tears, knowing you are not scared anymore and sleeping in comfort and peace! Thanks for all the good memories! I love you, Jan