January 22, 1934 - June 9, 2023
Norma Gray Overman [Blackwell] King, our Mom, died peacefully in hospice after having a stroke. In the last two years, Mom had struggled with the onset of dementia. Now, both she and her daughters have been spared the ‘long goodbye’. Mom will be missed because she took up so much room in so many lives—her family, her friends, her colleagues.
Born in Sampson County, to Rillie McLamb and Leesom Overman, Mom’s family moved to Durham when she was nine. She attended Durham Public Schools and Croft Business College, and was a member of the Durham Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Iota International Business Sorority.
Mom married Roy Lee Blackwell (dec) in 1950, and they had three daughters, Phyllis Ann Blackwell, Sheila Blackwell Miglarese (Sam), and Janet Blackwell Jones (Wayne).
Mom married Carlyle Holt King (dec) in 1983. Mom and Holt delighted in each other’s company, and there was much love and laughter in their years together. They traveled widely both in the U.S. and internationally. Mom’s favorite cities were London and Jerusalem.
Mom had five grandchildren, Schuyler Knowles, Brian Knowles (Becki), Madison Knowles Chow (Cullen), Kelsey Jones Sherrill (Matthew), and Juliana Miglarese (Chris). Mom adored her grandchildren, and they were devoted to ‘Grandmother’.
Mom grew up in Lakewood Baptist Church and was a member of Park View Baptist Church for 31 years, where she was the first woman deacon. Mom was then an active member of Temple Baptist Church for 40 years, where she taught Sunday school, studying texts and preparing lessons with care.
After working for Northwestern Bank for many years as a bank manager and credit card representative, Mom left banking to become the executive assistant to the editor of the Durham Herald-Sun newspapers. She made many long-lasting friendships through her work.
Mom made certain her daughters experienced every new and fun thing they could do as children, whether it was camping at the beach, riding the train at Tweetsie Railroad, attending the premiere of the Sound of Music, or leaving church early to watch the Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mom loved reading, both for pleasure and to learn and grow. She shared this love with her daughters, which began with weekly visits to the children’s room of the old Durham Public Library.
Christmas season was Mom’s favorite time of year. It was a remembrance of Christ’s birth and a celebration of family. Mom loved having her family, especially her grandchildren, gathered in her home for the Christmas Eve meal. If a grandchild’s friend (or two or three) came along, she was delighted to have them there. She believed everyone should have a home for Christmas.
Mom loved traveling to friends’ homes for overnights, from Wake Forest to Winston-Salem. An amazing hostess, over the years Mom gave countless dinner parties, surrounded by a circle of close friends. We are thankful for the love and support these friends gave Mom over so many years.
Mom made weekly visits to the same hair salon for over 40 years, where she shared her life with her hairdresser, a friend and confidante. Mom had snow-white hair, and she was always thrilled when strangers stopped her and said how beautiful it was.
Mom is survived by two brothers, Mack Overman and Dell Overman. She had lost her sister, Ottis Parsons George, and a brother, Bill Overman.
Mom was a patient, kind, and loving caregiver for our stepdad for nine years as he sadly progressed through Alzheimer’s disease. She will be reunited in death with her beloved Holt, and they will dwell together in the house of the Lord forever.
Much loved by her daughters, Norma King will be missed beyond measure.
A service in celebration of Mom’s life will be held on July 29, 2023 at 2:00 pm at Temple Baptist Church, 2121 Umstead Road, Durham. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Hock Family Pavilion, Duke Hospice, Durham.