Norma Alice (Ping) Smethers
Norma Alice (Ping) Smethers was born March 22, 1922, in Rock Island, WA to an early Washington State pioneer family, J. H.“Jink” and Lela (Sperline) Ping. She and her younger siblings, brother, Robert and sister, Beverly (Morrison), helped out their parents on their small farm and orchard. Growing up during the Great Depression, life was hard for them, but they made do with what little they had and money earned working in the apple packing sheds. She told of having to use an outhouse, as they had no indoor plumbing. A favorite story of hers was that she, as the oldest kid, had to get up early in the mornings to light a fire in the wood stove. She said as the house warmed, her pet goldfish, after being half frozen, would start swimming again! Norma’s whole nature was doing for others, and she did so consistently and unselfishly throughout her life. She brightened the lives of all who knew her. She graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1940, and that year was named Princess Rock Island for the Apple Blossom Festival. After high school, Norma moved to California to live with her aunt and uncle. Jobs in military related fields were plentiful there, and she soon found a job at Northrop Aircraft. It was while there, that she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Smethers. They married in 1942 and settled in the Los Angeles area, where Bob joined the Army. First born son, James Randall, was born while there. After Bob was released from the military, the family moved to Wenatchee, WA, where son, Greg and daughter, Cindy were born. Bob was a loan officer for a bank, and job opportunities took the family from Wenatchee to Ephrata, Walla Walla and then to Othello, where Bob owned and managed his own company, a small loan office. Norma was not only a great cook and homemaker, but also a seamstress extraordinaire. She spent many, many hours at her sewing machine, where she not only mended and sewed clothes for her own family, but also for half of the kid’s friends, too. Bob was very active in the Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, as well as a big booster of all the local sports teams. Daughter, Lori, was born in Othello and the family was complete. In 1967, they moved back to Wenatchee. Here, Norma worked in the Fabric department at J.C. Penney for ten years. Bob earned his Real Estate license, and was very successful working for several Wenatchee offices.
Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; brother, Robert; and sister, Beverly. She is survived by her children, Ran, Greg and Lori, all of Wenatchee, and Cindy of Othello; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Those of us fortunate enough to have known Norma will never forget her beauty, her sweet personality, her unbelievably selfless nature, her love of all things “Pink” and oh, THAT SMILE…
We thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday and days before that, too.
We think of you in silence. We often speak your name.
All we have are memories and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake, with which we’ll never part.
God has you in His keeping, We have you in our hearts.
A Memorial gathering for Norma will be held later in the spring (April or May). You are invited to view her online tribute at www.HeritageMemorialChapel.com. Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Memorial Chapel, East Wenatchee.