Norma Elaine Mills Culberson of Litchfield, IL celebrated 99 years of smiling relationships with almost everyone she met just before her recent death on February 15, 2021 at Heritage Health in Litchfield. Norma was born in Pana, IL to Della Mae Cothern Mills and Albert Mills on January 16, 1922. Youngest of five children, her father died when she was seven and she grew up in Pana with four older siblings, attending local schools-Lincoln School and Pana HS-playing clarinet in the band. In 1938 she married Rex Culberson who was employed by the Kroger company; after a brief stay in Effingham, they moved to Litchfield where Rex managed Kroger Company stores at three successive locations. After brief stays in several apartments, they moved to their home at 1404 N. Monroe Street where they reared their family of five and stayed for more than 70 years! Norma worked part-time at Kroger, first in Litchfield with Rex and later in Hillsboro for many years, but her first priority was always their five children!
Norma, Rex and the children were all fully engaged as Litchfield citizens, active members of the First Baptist Church and in numerous church and community activities. Norma taught Sunday School, sang in choir and often was part of the woman’s trio at the church (with Jewell Bishop and Irene Fite). She later volunteered as part of the decorating team at the remodeled FBC for many years. She was a member of New Hope Baptist Church. During the ‘60s and 70s she joined Rex and other family members performing in the “No Hope” music-comedy shows (about 15 years!), raising funds for local projects including LHS Band Boosters and the Litchfield Swimming pool. If she found a place she could fit in to serve others, she was there! In her middle and early senior years she amassed more than 12,000 hours working as a volunteer at St. Francis Hospital. Throughout her life whoever she met, she greeted with a smile.
When looking toward retirement, she and Rex purchased land near the Kroger store then on Union Ave. and the building occupied by Pizza Man prior to the fire that destroyed that property a few years ago. Pizza Man (another favorite family gathering place) was sold to current owners at a later date. They also rented a shoreline lot at Lake Lou Yeager for many years and Norma loved spending time at and on the lake with all of the children and grandchildren who would gather there for holidays most summers. After Rex Sr.’s death, she enjoyed vacationing with her family, traveling to several parts of the U.S. to share time together.
Norma was preceded in death by her husband Rex, two sisters Hazel Askins and Onieta Truax, her brothers, Paul and Mayo Mills, her oldest son, Rex M. Culberson, Jr. and a grandson, Chris Culberson. She is survived by four children: Jim (Judy deceased) in Morgantown, WV; Dennis (Sharon) in Lexington, VA; Jeanne (Tom deceased) Cox, Ft. Worth, TX; and Debra Block, Towanda, IL and by her late son Rex’s wife Judy Culberson (Litchfield). Norma was also blessed with 12 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren.
Memorial gifts may be made to the HSHS St. Francis Auxiliary. Norma and her family are grateful for the excellent, caring staff at Heritage Health in Litchfield who shared her life and care for her last several years.
Visitation will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 from 3-6pm and a celebration of life on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 at 2 pm with Rev. Roy Eller officiating at Plummer Funeral Home in Litchfield to be followed by interment at the Elm Lawn cemetery. The family encourages guests to follow all CDC guide lines for masking and distancing.
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HSHS St. Francis Hospital Auxillary
1215 Franciscan Drive, Litchfield IL 62056