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Norma R. Giles

Posted November 29, 2012 in Des Moines West, Obituaries

July 26, 1928 – November 27, 2012

Norma Giles

Norma was born to William J. and Myrtle M. Keating on July 26, 1928, in Baraboo, WI. Norma’s father worked in the railroad industry, passing away when Norma was very young. She and her brother, William, were raised by their mother, who managed an apartment building in Madison, WI, just blocks from the University of Wisconsin.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Norma earned her bachelor’s degree in Home Economics and was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority. While a student, she met her future husband, William L. Giles, an Engineering undergraduate at the university and returning World War II veteran. They married on June 17, 1950, and went on to share sixty-one years together and raise two sons, Robert W. Giles and Scott T. Giles.

In 1953, Bill and Norma relocated their young family from Wausau, WI, to Des Moines, when Bill accepted his first position at Ruan Transportation Corporation. While Bill pursued his engineering career in the transportation industry, Norma set about making a warm and loving home for their two sons. Under their mother’s watch and care, the boys enjoyed the classic childhood of school, pet dogs, sports and summer vacations. Norma was both an excellent cook and homemaker, and she enjoyed entertaining often in her home.

While still a full-time mother, Norma pursued graduate studies at Drake University, earning her Master’s degree in Education. She then embarked on a new chapter in her life, teaching at St. Theresa School in Des Moines for the next twelve years.

After her retirement as a teacher in 1985, Norma pursued several of her other passions – clothing, needle work and volunteering. She worked many enjoyable hours at the former Dickenson’s Ladies Clothing Store in Des Moines. An excellent needle worker, Norma was always working on several needle point projects at once and for a period of time, was the co-owner of The Golden Thimble, a needle point store located in Valley Junction. However, much of her time and energy in “retirement” was spent volunteering. She was a National Officer for her sorority, Sigma Kappa and traveled to sorority houses around the country to oversee and advise local chapters. Norma was also an avid and tireless volunteer for Blank Children’s Hospital, contributing countless hours over many years to the Festival of Trees and Lights.

Norma was preceded in death by her loving husband, Bill; her parents; and her brother, William, who was killed in World War II. She is survived by her son, Robert and grandson, Justin of Tulsa, OK; her son, Scott and his wife, Kathy, and grandsons, Mike and his wife, Laura, of Colorado Springs, CO and Ryan and Dan of Des Moines.


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Dunn’s Chapel
2121 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312

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