ASTLEY – Norma Edith Astley


    Astley – Norma Edith Astley, passed away peacefully Sept. 12, 2021 at the Brooks Long Term at the age of 103 years.  Norma was born to Tom and Mable Lee on Feb. 20, 1918 in Benmiller, Ontario and was the youngest of three siblings.  Norma was raised in Benmiller and after moving to Goderich, where she worked in a live in home as housekeeper and met her first husband, Jack Love.  Norma and Jack were married in November of 1938.  In 1942, along came Joan, their only child. Norma did take in laundry to help with the household expenses, and Jack had a gravel hauling business.  Around 1950, they decided to move to Delhi, Ontario and purchased a small grocery store, known as Jack’s Grocery and was in the tobacco belt of Ontario.  Norma worked in the tobacco industry when harvest came.  They both developed allergies so decided they would move to northern Ontario.  They moved to Huntsville, Ontario in the spring of 1956, buying 10 cabins with gas pumps and a restaurant. They lived upstairs of the restaurant, while Jack proceeded to build a small bungalow.  Jack passed suddenly on Sept. 10, 1956 thus leaving Norma to undertake learning how to drive, manage a business all alone. She took on the challenge and about 8 years later Harvey Astley dropped in for coffee and that was the end of that.  She sold her business and they were inseparable. They travelled back and forth to the west and then finally decided to settle down in Brooks. They got married in Bassano in July, 1966.   Harvey went to work for Coleman Plumbing and mom took on the BA Restaurant, on the Highway #1, where she managed, cooked and baked and fed many a person locally and off the highway.  She earned her reputation, if you want a good meal head out to the BA. After managing the BA her next challenge was the Brooks Trading Post, owned by Harvey and Wally Wells, where they bought and sold antiques.  Harvey was a plumber and gun smith.  Also about this time they had bought an acreage and Mom would take such pride in her big yard, cutting her own grass, then Harvey retired and along came a ride on lawnmower.  Mom of course loved to cook, so she would feed Harvey very well and then decide he should be on a diet, but fed him pie for desert.  He couldn’t lose weight.  Harvey’s health started to decline in about 1999, so he decided he should sell the acreage and get his Norma into town.  Things would be easier with garbage and water for her, when he would no longer be around. Oh I remember that day, Mom had a lot of pressure on her and didn’t want Harvey to know as he was in the hospital, and Mom was in the kitchen ironing and along came TJ with the banjo crew to move.  She was tight lipped so as not to cry, just kept on ironing, the boys started moving stuff out and she never said a thing. Finally it was done, she was moved, and it didn’t take her long to settle.  Mom lost her dear Harvey on April 11, 2001 after 30 years of being married.  We all watched her go downhill and we all predicted she would be right behind her dear Harvey.  No not Mom, we got her a cat, his name was Cookie and he was the biggest black and white cat going, just a very big boy.  Well it was like he was on a mission and knew what he was there for and he did a great job fulfilling his duties and keeping mom company and not lonely.  Whenever LeRoy would call and say, “Hey Norma are you ready?”  She was, as she knew that was a trip to the casino and she loved to go there.   Mom had sat at our kitchen table many years ago and said to LeRoy and I, “You put me in a home and I will haunt you the rest of your life.” Things went along smoothly until she fell, had to be hospitalized etc. so there came Life Line. Well it works if she would push the button. So then came the one that if she fell it would automatically call me. Mom spent her 99 birthday at her own home and then in March had a fall and that ended that, she needed surgery and ended up going to the Brooks Health Centre – Long Term Care.  Well she still had it in her head she was going home so against everyone wishes she got a pass to go home for 3 days. She lasted 10 hours and wanted to go back to her new home.  In Long Term Care there is a sign that says: OUR RESIDENTS DO NOT LIVE IN OUR WORKPLACE, WE WORK IN THEIR HOME.  Well Mom adjusted to long term care very well, of course there was some people in there that she knew, had fed in the restaurant etc.  She thrived on the attention the nurses gave her and in return she kept them busy listening to her stories and her songs.  If she had that flirty wink you knew we were in trouble, no telling what would come out of that sometimes potty mouth. Mom loved nothing better than to make a person blush and Santa Claus was no exception.  Norma, my dear Mother, which I was blessed to have had  for 79 wonderful years, is survived by myself Joan Rhodes and my husband LeRoy; grandsons, Miles and his children, Mak, Kayden and Maysie,  TJ and his sons, Nicholas and Sandy; sister-in- law Eileen McFadyen of Huntsville; brothers- in-law Wayne (Pat) of Sprucedale, Ontario and Claire of Toronto and numerous nieces and nephews, Don (Betty) Lee of High River, Fred (Noreen) Hamm of Sundridge, Ontario, Bev McDonald of Clinton, Ontario, Norma (Dwight) Porter of Goderich, Ontario and Sharon (Elmer) Merritt of Burlington, Ontario.  Her extended family, all the girls at the Brooks Health Centre Long Term Care, which she loved all of you so much.  Her best friend Jean, whom she often called her second daughter and husband Struan Vaughan.  She loved it when Struan would sing her the song “On The Road Again” and speaking of on the road again, Norma and Harvey will spending their last Christmas in Brooks and then will be heading to Sprucedale, Ontario, where they will be taking up residency at the Astley family plot.  Adios to all until we meet again.  A Family Service will be held at a later date.

    Cremation is entrusted to and conducted by

    Smith Funeral Home Ltd. and Crematorium, Brooks


    Funeral arrangements entrusted to:




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