Remembrance of the Life of Norma Mason-Stikes CoL
(The following obituary was kindly provided to Loretto courtesy of Norma Mason-Stikes son, Carey Mason.)
Norma Catherine Decker Mason-Stikes, celebrated 89 years of a life well-lived, and on the morning of August 10, 2020, she took her last breath and departed this earthly life.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Norma was the younger of two sisters born from the union of Lila and William Decker. While growing up with her older sister, Jewel, Norma nurtured the three qualities that would come to define her life: Faith, Family and Service.
She graduated from Central High School in 1949. She earned her nursing diploma from St. John/Holy Cross School of Nursing in Anderson, Ind., in 1952 because people of color were not allowed to attend nursing schools in Kentucky at that time. She later received her certification in Psychiatric Nursing from Nazareth College, and a certification in Alcohol/Drug Counseling from Washington University.
Norma had a long and distinguished career as a psychiatric nurse, educator, civil rights advocate and community organizer. Norma was the first African American Head Nurse at Our Lady of Peace Hospital (now Caritas), and director of the Park-Duvalle Teenage Parent Program. She established community health education programs in some of Louisville’s poorest neighborhoods and advocated for affordable housing for the elderly to be built. She was the driving force behind the creation of the Angela M. Mason Catholic High School Scholarship Program, providing need-based tuition assistance to youth wanting to attend one of Louisville’s Catholic high schools.
Norma served on the boards of the Caritas Foundation, Archdiocese Office of Pastoral Care, and Exceptional Teens and Adults-Mentally Challenged of Louisville and was a member of the Kentucky Nursing Association and the Kyanna Black Nurses Association. In recognition of a lifetime of community service, she was named as a Kentucky Colonel, received the Bell Award for volunteer service in 2005, and the Nurse of the Year Award in 2013 for her work with the Office of Church and Community Health Ministries at Norton Healthcare.
Norma was a lifelong devout Catholic. She was a parishioner at Christ the King Church for over 60 years, volunteering for the church choir, and serving as a lector, Minister of Communion and member of the parish theater troupe.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 33 years, Jack Mason, and her husband of 27 years, William “Scully” Stikes. She is survived by her sister Jewel Morton, her children Carey, Steve, Gregory, Angela, Jewel, Michael, and adopted daughter Carol. Grandchildren Steven, Jr., James, Brian, Christina, Justin, Jocelyn, Angela, Alexandra, and Zachary, nine great-grandchildren and several great-nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Norma for a period of visitation on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the G.C. Williams Funeral Home, 1935 W Broadway, Louisville, Ky., followed by the funeral service presided by the Rev. Christopher S. Rhodes, pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church. Interment will be at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery located at 4701 Brownsboro Road, Louisville, Ky.