Caroline (Garza) Vespestad Norman
February 1, 1927 ~ September 6, 2020 (age 93)
Caroline Vespestad Norman of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away peacefully on September 6, 2020, and went on to be with her Lord and Savior.
Caroline was born on February 1, 1927, in Brownsville, Texas, to Joseph and Mary Garza. The youngest of four siblings, Caroline lost her mother at the age of two and was raised by her widowed father during the Great Depression. As a young girl, she excelled in reading, writing, and dance. Naturally left-handed and with innate artistic talents, she was converted to a right-hander (as was the norm in the 1930s) and thus became ambidextrous, retaining her ability to perform mirror writing throughout her entire life.
The outbreak of World War II altered plans for art school after graduating high school, so instead Caroline left Brownsville for Dallas where she and her older sister Evelyn held civilian positions at Love Field in support of the U.S. Army Air Transport Command during World War II. It was at Love Field where she first met Wallace A. (Wally) Vespestad, a U.S. Army sergeant and Iowa farmboy (and later a successful businessman in Johnson County, Kansas).
Caroline followed her sister again to Topeka, Kansas, where the two supported Army Air Corps operations at the Topeka Army Air Field. Her courtship with Wally began during this period, and they were later married in Mission, Kansas, in 1946. Caroline worked at Southwestern Bell in downtown Kansas City until she and Wally decided to start a family. Initially residing in Mission and later in Overland Park, they raised four children and were together until Wally’s death in 1979.
In 1984 Caroline married Kenneth E. (Ken) Norman, a broadcast engineer who had worked at many Kansas City area radio stations. Caroline and Ken enjoyed retirement together, hosting family gatherings, taking roadtrips, and enjoying their mutual interests, such as collecting flow blue china. They were inseparable until Ken’s passing in 2001.
Caroline enjoyed traveling — Hawaii was a favorite destination — collected antiques, was obsessed with butterflies, and was delightfully fanatical about the color blue. She adored her family and was extremely proud of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents and the husbands from whom she was twice widowed, Caroline is preceded in death by brother Joseph Callaghan, sister Evelyn Richardson, brother Walter Callaghan, and daughter-in-law Roz Roush. She is survived by son Gary Vespestad and his wife Karen of Lawrence, Kansas; son Van Vespestad of Kansas City, Missouri; daughter Vicki Vespestad of Overland Park, Kansas; son Kirk Vespestad and his wife Debbie of Ashburn, Virginia; and four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.