The entire Hartsook team was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear colleague, Norma Murphy.
Norma worked as a Hartsook consultant for nearly 30 years and retired in 2020 as executive vice president. Prior to that, she was the vice president of development for the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation of Kansas and previously served as the development director for Rainbows United of Wichita, a preschool for children with disabilities.
“Everyone loved her,” is an often-used phrase, but in this case, it is inarguably true. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, clients and anyone else who had the honor of crossing paths with Norma will agree.
It was her unconditional love of others that drew so many people to her. For Norma, love was not just a word or series of actions; it was a lifestyle.
No doubt, her children, grandchildren and extended family members have the greatest memories to share. As professional colleagues, our remembrances pale in comparison, but her influence on us remains profound.
Interestingly, Norma’s name derives from a Latin word for rule or standard. Think, “Normally.” Her normal treatment of and interaction with her clients and others was a benchmark that, if followed by more people, could literally change the world.
Her college and career years took place in Wichita and Kansas City, but before that, Norma graduated from high school in Shreveport, Louisiana. And because Norma was Norma, she never forgot her roots. Even as a consultant, she served inspirational nonprofits in her hometown.
Two Shreveport nonprofits—Providence House, a community-based organization helping to break the cycle of homelessness for families with children, and Holy Angels, a residential facility meeting the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities—benefited from her professional acumen and personal magnanimity.
Just a few comments following her work with their campaigns:
“Norma is outstanding in all respects. I can always count on her to go the second mile! It is truly her mission and commitment to help nonprofits succeed. She has inspired me to be a better executive director, and I have learned so much from her. She is just the best!” Simone Hennessee, Providence House
“Norma taught us to dream big for those who depend on us … to experience joy through the eyes of our consumers. Once you are part of that pure happiness, you become part of the Holy Angels’ family; Norma and Hartsook certainly are that.” Laurie Boswell, Holy Angels
Bottom line: The “Norma Standard” was to treat everyone as a friend.
She would send cookies to foundations just to say, “Thank you!” Norma once learned a program officer loved toe socks, so when she spotted a particularly unique pair, they were snapped up and sent.
And she was just as thoughtful with colleagues. Emails of encouragement were the norm, always with personalized remarks: “While having my car serviced, I was catching up on emails and came across this article. Remembering you asked me about this subject, I immediately thought of you … ” “I hope you have a good day and a fabulous weekend,” and completely unsolicited, “Thank you, Matt, for providing the leadership that helps all of us help our clients succeed.”
Norma dedicated her whole life to serving others, and she received numerous awards and professional recognition for her extraordinary aptitude and abilities. But I am certain that was not what motivated her.
Norma didn’t just understand the power of philanthropy. She lived it.
So, it was not at all surprising to see the post script on her memorial page: “In lieu of flowers, please consider continuing Norma’s work by making a gift to: Holy Angels of Shreveport, Louisiana.”
For Norma, love was a lifestyle. Her life will remain a high standard for Hartsook and for all those who experienced the joy of knowing Norma Murphy.