1921 – 2014

AUBURN — Norma L. Holmberg Simard, 93, died at her home in Auburn on Monday, Sept. 29, surrounded by family and friends.

Norma was born on June 2, 1921, in Pittsfield, Mass., a daughter of Eleanor and Gustave Holmberg. She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1939 and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1943.

Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in bacteriology, Norma worked at Pittsfield General Hospital. Preferring research over the hospital environment, she moved on to penicillin research at American Cyanamid Lederle Labs in Stamford, Conn. It was there she met her husband.

Married in Stamford, Conn., on Sept. 14, 1946, to Gerald L. Simard of Lewiston, they resided in Redding, Conn., while starting their family. The family moved to Winterport in 1967. Soon after her husband’s death in 1992, Norma moved to Lewiston to be close to family.

Norma was a steward of the land, and was known for her green thumb and love of plants and soil. She often stated she “was happiest with (her) hands in the earth,” tending her vast vegetable and flower gardens. An avid gardener and master composter, she cultivated her Lewiston property into a certified Urban Habitat for Wildlife. Her love of gardening, a gift learned from both her grandfather and father, she freely shared with family, friends and neighbors of all ages.

Norma was an active member in local Cooperative Extension programs in Connecticut and Maine, sharing her skills and thrift of sewing, culinary and other arts with her children and youth in her community. She was recognized as a University of Maine Extension Service Homemaker of the Year in 1981.

During the years she resided in Winterport, Norma immersed herself in the community. She shared her skills at school health screening clinics, as a Girl Scout leader and as an active member of St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church. Forever a student of life and learning, Norma enjoyed the lively discussions and stimulation of Senior College, Pax Christi, book and women’s groups and the Herb Society during her later years. She enjoyed travel, taking several educational trips abroad to explore world cultures and history.

Norma is survived by her sister, Barbara Putnam, of Andover, Mass.; her five children and spouses, Martha Brodeur and husband, Fred, of Auburn, Elaine Bisbee and husband, William, of Rockport, Jonathan Simard of Manchester, N.H., Alicia Soliman and husband, Mounir, of Biddeford and Clarisse Brown and husband, Michael, of Jefferson; 10 grandchildren, Michelle and Matthew Brodeur, Kristen Bisbee Santoro, Bryanne Bisbee Vydas, Dana Bisbee Ringle, Steven and William Simard, Margen and Nadia Soliman and Emily Brown; two great-grandchildren, Kalilah Simard and Eric Santoro; and many nieces and dear friends.

Norma was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Gerald Simard; and two brothers, William and Norman Holmberg.

The family would like to say a special thank-you to the staff of Schooner Estates.

Condolences, donations and a video tribute may be accessed online at www.albert-burpee.com.

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