Former Gazette columnist Norma Jean Fazenbaker dies -- Gazette.Net


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Brandywine resident Norma Jean Fazenbaker, 91, a former neighborhood columnist for The Gazette newspapers, died on Dec. 6, leaving behind a legacy of hard work, a love for music and a passion for her community.

Fazenbaker is survived by her six children, Dottie Ratcliffe, Danny Fazenbaker, Barbara Bailey, Joyce Donaldson, Judy Lucas and Janice Toepper, as well as 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Her memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at her longtime church, the Faith United Methodist Church, 15769 Livingston Road, Accokeek.

Ratcliffe said Fazenbaker was a strong woman who worked three jobs while Ratcliffe was a teenager.

“One of the main things of her working like that taught us is to work hard and enjoy life,” Ratcliffe said.

Fazenbaker also had a love for music — she sang in the choir at church, and she passed on her love of music to her children, Ratcliffe said.

Danny Fazenbaker, Ratcliffe’s twin brother, said he was put in the drum corps when he was a teenager. Now he plays in a variety band and he attributed his mother’s love of music to his passion.

“She was a big inspiration, instilling a work ethic in me,” Fazenbaker said. “I loved her and she loved all of us.”

Norma Jean Fazenbaker was also active in her community, participating in several senior groups, working for museums and writing for The Gazette newspapers. Her columns would vary and Ratcliffe said her mother was always trying to share what she learned.

“She got … enjoyment out of sharing information with people,” Ratcliffe said. “She was always cutting out newspaper articles. She was a big reader.”

ccook@gazette.net