Norma Harbinson

Obituary of Norma Harbinson

Surrounded by love on April 6th we said goodbye to Norma at the age of 74. A beloved wife of Matthew, the ‘wee short bald man’. Cherished mother of Mike McKibbin (Tammy) and Gillian Crane (David). Mom’s greatest joy was her special relationship with her first-born grandchild Jordan (Izzy), and again her love grew with Samuel, her partner in crime. Her ‘favourite granddaughter’ Darby continued to fill her heart. Darby had many chats with Nana, pouring her heart out, Mom honoured to listen. Survived by her brother Gary Uprichard, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins in Northern Ireland and England and special friend Rosemary Uprichard. Norma is predeceased by her mother Marjorie and sister Barbara.


Norma was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1947 and came to Canada at the age of 27 in 1974 with her children Mike and Gillian. Finding the Irish club in St. Catharines helped keep strong ties to home. Mom enjoyed the many celebrations and late-night dances where she met many wonderful and cherished long-term friends.  A long-time fan of Neil Diamond would have her up dancing on tables.  


Norma met the love of her life Matt at the Irish club and spent 30 years together. Enjoying many family get-togethers and spending many trips back to Northern Ireland and other destinations.


Referred to by herself as the ‘old broad at the back’ Norma worked at Hartzel IDA, then Big V, and then Shoppers Drug Mart in the pharmacy. Her work family became an extension to her own family, and always took the time to send her ‘wee customers’ a card or words of warm wishes. Her ‘wee customers’ loved Norma and she loved them back.


She was no ‘Martha’ in the kitchen, and never claimed to be. However, we all loved the few dishes she would prepare such as her homemade stew, roast beef dinners, and tacos. We remember Mom as a very hands-on and loving grandmother to her three grandchildren and loved spending her special time with each of them. Never a lover of animals, Nana grew to love her fur grandbabies, always giving them a ‘wee’ bit of cheese. She also grew to tolerate the hockey arena for her granddaughter and son-in-law. Tammy was more of a friend than a daughter-in-law and will miss their long conversations and outings together, but most of all she will always be grateful for the son she raised. Mom never met a wine she did not like…red, white or blush and always enjoyed her ‘wee glasses’.


There are no words to describe how Mike and Gillian feel about their mother. We will miss getting calls and texts starting with ‘Hi Love’ and her finishing with ‘xxx’ at the end our calls, hugs, and visits.  She meant the world to them and made them proud every day, especially these last six weeks. Fighting to stay with us.


Compassion and care were very important to Norma, and it was so suiting that the doctors and nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital provided genuine support and comfort. We thank Dr. Overington and Dr. Shargall and their teams in ICU and Surgical Step-Down Unit for their overwhelming dedication and support.


In lieu of flowers, our family would like clothing donations to be made at Gillian’s Place, the Mobile Closet or charity of choice.  Mom was always clearing out her closet and Matt’s…a surprise at times for him!


In keeping with her wishes, Norma has been cremated.  A Celebration of Life to be announced at a later date. We thank you all for being a part of Mom’s life.  The support and outpouring of love have been overwhelming and comforting.


We all loved her so very much and we are the better for her always sharing her love.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Norma
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at George Darte Funeral Chapel Inc.
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