Norma Lee Black Taussig, our dear friend and co-founder of the foundation, died yesterday at 92. I think Norma would have said she wasn’t 92 years “young,” but 92 years “old.” She lived through much hardship including the death of her beloved brother when she was young to living with the effects of a serious stroke in the last chapter of her life. She felt and claimed every one of those four score and a dozen years.
Whether Norma came hard wired with compassion or whether her challenges in life made her more empathetic, I don’t know. But Norma always thought about the other person, was extremely generous with what she had, and walked the talk by living frugally — always.
Norma must have learned at an early age how to take up no emotional space. She could disappear into a room of people. You could almost forget she was there until she piped up with an opinion. Everyone listened when Norma spoke. She didn’t mince words, so you wanted to get each and every one of them. We all cherished her insights, her perspectives, her wisdom.
It was hard to give Norma a compliment. They were just too embarrassing for her humble nature. That’s one reason I cherish this birthday photo. Norma was delighted that her caregiver, Jesse, had worked wonders with her straight hair and made it so curly and fluffy. For once — and only once — she accepted my compliment with a smile! As difficult as it was for Norma to be the center of attention, she could hardly wait for her party guests to arrive. She loved the pink birthday blouse she had just been given. She was so tickled by the moment and situation that she even willingly let me take her picture! How precious to see the joy wash over Norma.
How fortunate we have been to know this beautiful soul!
You may read the Untours remembrance of Norma’s life here.
In Norma’s memory, please consider a donation to the Norma and Hal Taussig Fund for B Corporations.