Fond Farewell: Retired Administrative Assistant Norma Jones
Retired staff member Norma Jones, who worked in administrative roles in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, passed away March 10. She was 92.
Born June 18, 1929, in Willows, California, she graduated from Willows High School in 1947 and attended Chico State from 1947–1950.
Jones was hired in 1951 to serve as a faculty secretary, the start of a 23-year career at Chico State. She worked as an administrative assistant in various offices for upper-level administrators in the Office of Credentials, Dean of Students, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the School of Education. She also spent a few years as secretary to San Francisco State President Glenn Dumke, who later became the second chancellor of the CSU.
Retired staff member Eunice Toussaint describes Jones as gracious, unassuming, friendly, highly capable, and discreet, noting her positions required a high level of confidentiality. She was also able to work under pressure with increasing demands and responsibilities.
“Norma was a team player who worked well with other staff members. She was loyal and dedicated to the people she worked with and for, to the college and its mission, and to the students it served,” Toussaint said. “She was highly respected by both faculty and staff throughout her years of service to the college.”
Former Dean of Student Affairs Abe Baily said that both he and his predecessor, Betty Lou Raker, were grateful to have Jones’ expertise as their secretary.
“I always found her thoroughly professional, resilient, responsive, and quietly decisive about workflow priorities,” he said. “Her clear questions regarding wording in correspondence or responses to student, faculty, or colleague questions or suggestions often gave me or Betty Lou sensitive and helpful guidance for more effective action or reaction.”
Jones retired in 1983. In 2014, she was honored by the Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association and inducted into its Hall of Honor, at which time, Donald Gerth, the former vice president of Academic Affairs and retired president of Sacramento State, commended her for the asset she was to both Chico State and the CSU.
“Over the years I have learned that some in the CSU are builders—builders of the culture of a campus and of a spirit. Norma is one of those individuals, found in many roles on a campus, just as likely to be found in the staff as in the faculty,” he said in his remarks. “She has been a builder not looking for position or self. She helps people, students and faculty, and staff colleagues alike.”
Jones spent time as a member of the Chico Venture Club, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, and PEO, a philanthropic organization that raises funds for scholarships for women. She volunteered for the American Cancer Society, participated in the Work Training Center’s annual Thanksgiving dinner; and coordinated the University retired staff luncheons in the mid-1990s.
“Norma was generous, thoughtful, intelligent, and funny,” said retired staff member Anne Russell. “She had a remarkable memory and could recall names, dates, and events—especially those of Chico State—that took place 60 or more years ago as if they had occurred yesterday. She was a beloved member of the Elizabeth Group, a collection of Chico State women.”
Jones is survived by her son, Michael; daughter-in-law Marci; granddaughters Stephanie Jones, Mackenzie Neves, and Karissa Neves; and great-grandson Thorsen Cole. At Jones’ request, no services were held.
The University flag will be lowered Thursday, April 21, in her memory.