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Coutts, Norma Lucille

As with many of the things she did in life, with her husband and family by her side, Norma Lucille Coutts passed away Aug. 23, 2009 peacefully and as courageously as she lived.
Born Nov. 13, 1923 in the Meadowlark district of Claresholm, to Anna and Sven (Sam) Simonson, she was the youngest of the four Simonson girls (Dolly McKenna, Alice Pinder and Marie Allison). She grew up on the farm in Granum and was educated there. Upon graduation the family moved to Fort Macleod where she worked at Reach’s drygoods where she met and married the love of her life William James (Jim) Coutts on Sept. 20, 1944. In her unassuming way, Norma was most proud of the four children she and Jim raised: David Coutts (Phyllis), Margaret Radlinsky (Steve), Neil Coutts (Arlene) and Jean Patience (Shawn). In addition, left to cherish her memory is her husband Jim, 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
While raising the children, Norma worked alongside her husband at the Crystal Dairy, wrapping locally made butter and grading eggs. In 1957 they moved to Scandia, Alta. where Jim bought grain for the Alberta Wheat pool, but they returned to Fort Macleod when the opportunity came to operate the Tourist Texaco Service and Dinette west of town at the Junction of Highways 2 and 3.
Norma supported Jim’s venture by essentially building the restaurant’s reputation as one the premier rest stops in southern Alberta. Making the daily soups, gravy, pies, and other homemade goods was Norma’s specialty. Serving customers 24 hours a day, Norma filled in when short-staffed, whether it was waitressing in the mornings or cooking in the afternoon or for the midnight shift, she was dedicated to the family business.
Eighteen years later the family expanded their restaurant operations when they built and opened the Scarlet and Gold Inn in 1977. Over the next 22 years Norma shared her passion for cooking with so many loyal southern Alberta customers, and stayed steadfast to the end by still using her apron to pull the last apple pie out of the oven in DecEMBER 1999. In a very public-oriented industry, Norma was the quiet and steadfast pillar of the establishment.
Prior to the pressures associated with the business, Norma contributed to the life of the community through her involvement with United Church Women and the Royal Purple. She also taught Sunday School. But as the business grew Norma sacrificed those community services she truly enjoyed in order to support her family.
Norma enjoyed doing needlework, crocheting and knitting. She also loved to relax at the end of a busy day by going for her traditional two-mile walk with Jim by the river, through town and past the Scarlet and Gold where Jim would stop to close up for the evening. The couple walked the same route, every night, rain or shine, for over 25 years. There’s no question that Norma valued an honest day’s work, done with fairness and integrity. She never asked anyone to do something she was not capable or didn’t wish to do herself. She also taught those close to her the importance of voicing their opinion for the right reasons and listening with respect.
But what Norma loved most was the time spent with family often around the kitchen table. She showed her love with food, and as busy as she and her family were at the restaurant, she always had a fresh, hot meal every day for her family. There was always homemade cookies in the jar and fresh date squares for the grandchildren whenever they visited. Her strong work ethic and determination for perfection never waned. She has left Jim and her family with heavy hearts, they will truly miss her. She was dearly loved and admired.
A celebration of her life will be announced at a future date. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Norma’s name to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta.

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