Norma Rein

Obituary of Norma Jean Rein

Norma Jean Rein was born on December 4, 1925, to Blanche Marie (Stotler) Mercer and Alva Mercer. As talented little girls in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Jean and sister Dorothy, accompanied and closely supervised by their piano-playing mother, sang in vaudeville acts across the Midwest. Jean had fond memories of those times for many years. After a happy childhood, she graduated in 1942 from North High School, Columbus, Ohio, and attended her 55th Class Reunion in 1997. Dorothy Mercer Thomas and younger brother Richard ‘Dick’ Mercer (wife Rae) preceded her in death. Although diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986 and suffering two strokes in 1995, Jean Rein lived a good life for 86 years. She loved to laugh and laughed often. As she grew older and wiser, she liked watching old movies and television shows. She laughed herself silly watching shows like Mr. Ed and I Love Lucy and wondered if Ben Cartwright (Ponderosa) would ever get married. Her name ‘Norma Jean’ always got the response from people that she shared her name with Marilyn ‘Norma Jeane’ Monroe. And perhaps for that reason, she preferred to be called Jean. She felt Marilyn Monroe was not the sort of person to whom she wanted to be compared. Jean set high standards for herself and for her two children, Jim and Janet. As her children matured, her standards were always evident in their behaviors and successes. Jean was a full-time wife and mother. She was married to James Ray Rein for over 25 years. After her children were adults, she began working for Mountain Bell, then known as Ma Bell. A conscientious and dedicated worker, she retired from Mountain Bell in 1990. She died at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tucson, Arizona, on July 24, 2012. As she aged, Jean developed Alzheimer’s disease. While her ability to remember diminished over the past decade, she still walked daily and was a whiz at Word Search and Crossword puzzles. A younger Jean loved 500-piece jigsaw puzzles; the older Jean loved 12- to 32-piece jigsaw puzzles. She was always surprised she could still do puzzles. Her key to a happy life: A daily serving of ice cream! Jean had a peaceful death. There was no pain. She was at peace. The last year of her life was great fun. Jean got a roommate! Judy’s mom, Belle Varnell, lived alone with an empty bedroom just right for Jean. They lived very close to Jim and Judy who cared for them until a wonderful woman, Suzanne Procter, became their full-time caregiver. Jean and Belle were such a pair and loved to joke with each other. They laughed a lot and were always on the go. Whether on drives or out to eat or to a local museum, Suzanne kept them active and happy. Jean’s death was sudden and unexpected. She had a poor appetite the day before. The day of her death she complained of chest pains that quickly subsided and were followed by a tummy ache. She was rushed to the Emergency Department at 1:30 pm on July 24 and died two hours later. Cause of death were complications secondary to Alzheimer’s disease. Jean’s life was celebrated by her close family and a few friends at a graveside service in the City of Mesa Cemetery, Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday, July 28, 2012. Her son-in-law Bruce Mortensen officiated. Jean is survived by her 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. Her son Jim and his wife Judy have two adult sons, Philip (wife Karen) and Justin. Her daughter Janet Rein Mortensen is married to Bruce Mortensen. They have four adult sons: Zachary (Heather), Sam (Amber), Michael (Heidi), and David (McKenzie). Their two daughters, Elizabeth Jean Mortensen and Susan Marie Mortensen Turley, preceded Jean in death. Jean had nine great-grandchildren. The family suggest that in lieu of flowers to honor Jean’s life, tax deductible contributions be made to the Susan Mortensen Turley Foundation, 585 N. Juniper Drive Suite 100, Chandler, Arizona, 85226, which benefits young adults with cancer. Born in 1983, Jean’s granddaughter Susan Mortensen Turley lived for 25 years. After being diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, she passed away less than 5 months later. For more information, please visit Thank you.
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