Marian S. Norris

Marian S. Norris

December 15, 1927 - July 01, 2013

Marian S. Norris

December 15, 1927 - July 01, 2013


On Monday morning, July 1, 2013, Marian Norris passed away peacefully after a long period of declining health. She was quite a lady artistic, educated, kind, loving, and creative. Strong, independent, and gutsy, Marian also loved travel and adventure – truly a woman ahead of her time.

Marian was both an artist and a teacher. She taught elementary and junior high school students in Orange County (Florida) public schools for most of her career. An extraordinary teacher, she always championed the underdog and believed passionately in the importance of keeping the arts in public schools. Even after her retirement, she continued to teach art to students from venues as diverse as the county jail to various after school programs in California. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in art education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Master’s degree in education from the University of Central Florida while still teaching full-time in public schools. Her entire life was devoted to educating young people, and even during her hospital stays, she offered to teach drawing and painting to her nurses.

Marian was also a prolific artist who explored almost every artistic medium imaginable during her lifetime. When she moved to southern California, she joined a plein air painting group, exhibited her work, and got involved in the local art community. Her home was filled with a collection of her work and many of her paintings adorn the walls of other people’s homes around the country. She also was proud to have two paintings selected to be part of the Art in Embassies program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and they hung in the official residence of the American ambassador to Oman during his tenure there.

But the role she enjoyed the most during her lifetime was that of mother and grandmother. Though her only daughter and grandchildren lived overseas for many years, Marian was unafraid to get on a plane to go and visit them no matter where they were, and they came to visit her as often as they could as well. When the grandchildren were younger, she was always giving them an impromptu art class or playing “tea party” or other games with them. Her own daughter, Rebecca (Becky), was inspired by her mother’s example and also went into the field of education. Her love of California also inspired two of her three grandchildren to move to the Golden State.

Marian will be sorely missed by her family, friends, and neighbors. She is survived by her daughter, Becky, son-in-law Gary, grandchildren Michelle, Alex, and Kristina, sister Shirley Smith, niece Monica Eaton, and nephew Brandon Smith. Her family welcomes her friends to come and celebrate her life with them on Saturday, July 20, at 10 am at St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea in San Clemente, California.

The National Art Education Foundation has been designated for those who would like to make a gift in her memory.

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4 responses to Marian S. Norris

  1. Becky Grappo says:

    9 files added to the tribute wall

  2. Claire Law says:

    Becky, your mom looks lovely and I’ m sure she was even more so in person. Wonderful to see her enjoy life and visit those parts of the world that became home territory for you. These pictures will remind you of those wonderful times you spent together with her. My condolences and warm hugs, Claire & Chip

  3. Judi Duvall says:

    Becky, I babysat for you when you were a baby. Your mom gave me my first charcoal pencils and drawing paper when I was a child and she inspired me. I earned my degree in elementary art ed. I am retired now and have turned to quilting for my artistic expression. As an aside, I can remember trick or treating and her jumping out dressed as a witch. She was great and her love of children and art are a tremendous legacy. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I know you have many fond memories to see you through your hard days.
    Judi Johnston Duvall

  4. Marian worked with my mother Maveh Barker on Maveh’s monumental educational system, which my mother developed while both she, and Marian lived and worked in central Florida. I am finishing this project (which both she and other educators put into practice but never published) for my mother who recently passed on. It is very important that I contact you regarding Marian’s work on my mother’s opus. By the way, I am located in Los Angeles.

    As my mother’s project is about to go to publication, this is very important

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