Norma Burns Topping, 98, died peacefully on April 26, 2022 at her daughter’s home in Brasher Falls NY.
Norma was born to Carl & Ethel Richardson in Winthrop, New York. She graduated from Brasher-Stockholm school in 1941 and went to Malone Adirondack school for business. She then went to work at Alcoa in the store room and married Ed Burns in 1944. They were married for 29 years until his death in 1974.
Norma worked as the church secretary at Saint John’s Episcopal church and was secretary at Massena High School, in both the principal’s office and the superintendent’s office.
Norma was always looking for new experiences to improve her mind. At age 50, she enrolled at SUNY Potsdam, completing her Bachelor’s degree in 1975, and Master’s degree in 1981. As there were not many jobs available when she graduated, Norma did home tutoring and substituting, but then was hired at the Saint Regis Mohawk school in Hogansburg and taught 2nd grade from 1977 - 1983. She loved working there, but decided to retire and move to Florida in 1984.
She was equally active there; golfing, substituting, tutoring, singing in the choir, playing the bells, and volunteering to help anyway she could.
It was at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Port Salerno, Florida that she met her second husband, Al Topping. A good pairing! They were very active in church, loved music and singing, loved to travel and were fun people to be with. In 2009 they moved to Concord, NH to be closer to their families- again singing and volunteering but at a much slower pace!
Al died in November 2016 and Norma moved to Brasher to live with her daughter. She loved being with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and reconnecting with high school friends for lunch (quite an impressive 95-103 yr. old group!)
Norma was a great role model – she loved the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. On one’s tombstone are the dates of birth and death, but it is what you do with your life between those dates that represent you. “Would you be proud of how you spent your “dash”? Norma should be!
Norma is survived by her children, Sue Stubbs of Brasher Falls, Pat and Brooke Burns of Burlington, grandchildren Bethany and Chad St. Hilaire, Katie and Rich Seidel, Kristy and Andre Gardner, great grandchildren Zach and Jarrett St. Hilaire, Chloe and Seth Clothier, Kassidy, Celeste and Greyson Gardner. She was predeceased by her stepson Bob Burns.
As Norma donated her body to Upstate Medical, there will not be a wake but a celebration of life at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Massena, New York on Thursday May 26th at 11am. Condolences may be sent to Sue Stubbs PO Box 3 Brasher Falls, NY 13613 and donations to the Potsdam Humane Society 17 Madrid Ave, Potsdam, NY 13676 or the Community Christmas Baskets 191 CR 50 Brasher Falls, NY 13613.