Norma G. Beecher, 86, West Branch
Obituaries · June 15, 2017

Norma G. Beecher, 86, of West Branch died Saturday, June 10, 2017, at Mercy Hospice in Iowa City.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at St. Bernadette’s Church in West Branch. Visitation will be held Thursday from 9:30 to 11 a.m., also at St. Bernadette’s. Burial will be at St. Bridget’s Cemetery, Nolan Settlement. The Henderson-Barker Funeral Home in West Branch is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be made to the West Branch Heritage Foundation or the Historic West Branch Community Development Group. Online condolences may be made at

Norma was born Aug. 26, 1930, in Letts, Iowa, the daughter of Ralph Jones and Eva Powers Jones. She graduated from Letts High School in 1948. She obtained a limited elementary certificate and taught school at Adams Station in rural Nichols and at Oakville before taking a teaching position in West Branch. She was united in marriage to John Beecher Jr. on Feb. 4, 1956, in Iowa City. While helping her husband with their farm south of West Branch, Norma held a variety of jobs off the farm including substitute teaching at the elementary school, working at the public library, and volunteering for the Cedar County Democrats. In 1975, John and Norma opened Cats ‘N Dogs Antiques in downtown West Branch. They traveled extensively to antique shows around the country, especially in the Southwest U.S. After 36 years as an informal meeting place for those interested in antiques, politics, West Branch sports, and community development, Cats ‘N Dogs closed its doors in 2011 when John’s health declined.

Norma was active in the West Branch Community and Democratic Party politics. She was a founding member of St. Bernadette’s Church and helped with Girl Scouts for 50 years. In an article about the 2000 presidential election, Norma was described in the Washington Post as “one hell of a Democratic ward boss.”

Norma started taking correspondence classes from the University of Iowa in 1956. Between antique shows and political campaigns, she would take a class or two. In 2015, she fulfilled a lifetime goal when she obtained her bachelor of liberal studies degree from the University of Iowa at the age of 84.

Norma is survived by her sister Carol (Vernon) Deahr of Muscatine; nieces and nephews: Joy, Julie, Jeffrey, Justin, Mary Anne, Martha, Margaret, Joan, Tricia, Barbara, Sarah, Joe, and Sheila; many grand nieces and nephews; and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband John, sister Ramona Morgan and brother-in-law Calvin.

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