Norma Black Hinkson was born on December 24, 1926 in Ogden, Utah. She died 96 years, three months, and three weeks later on April 15, 2023. in Fountain Valley, California

Norma grew up in Utah, but, shortly after marriage, she moved with her husband to Southern California, never moving back to Utah.

Norma's Parents

Norma was the 6th child born to Albert Caleb and (Elizabeth) Helen Powell Black. Her father Albert was a general manager at Cache Valley Cheese company. Because of her father's work position, she and her family had plenty of milk and cheese during the Great Depression and were relatively unaffected by those hard economic times. Her mother Helen was a quiet, organized woman who loved being a wife and mother, but was only able to rear to adulthood four out of eight children born to her.

Norma's Brothers and Sisters:

Norma's brothers and sisters included in order of birth:

  • Mary was like a second Mom to Norma. Mary had a normal childhood and was married at age 25 to a man she met in Wyoming while teaching school there. But, Mary died in 1941, at age 26, just nine weeks after giving birth to Annette. Annette is known to the Hinksons as Aunt Annette. That's because at age 4, Annette moved in with Norma's family, and became like a younger sister to Norma (and Norma's mom and dad raised Annette to her adulthood). When Norma's mom died (when Norma was 29 and Annette was 15, Normal's dad (Albert) continued to raise and care for Annette until Annette got married and moved out.
  • Albert Leo lived a normal happy childhood, served a mission to Germany. Returning missionary Leo came home early from his mission because of World War 2, eventually married Lillian and fathered four children (three girls: Shawnee, Olivia, Monica, and Leo McFarrin Black). Leo moved his family to Wisconsin, and while there, Albert Leo contracted a viral infection that triggered Guillian Barre syndrome (a creeping paralysis inflicting, autoimmune disorder that eventually shut down his lungs). Albert Leo died after just one week with this disorder, at the age of 40.
  • Helen, who never married because of her multiple sclerosis illness, lived with her dad until her death at the age of 44. She died from aspirating liquids while in a bath tub (due to multiple sclerosis).
  • Theodore, who lived for only a few hours after being born.
  • Robert (Bobby), who because of brain damage at birth (Hydrocephalus from excessively aggressive forceps delivery), lived without understanding, talking, or walking until the age of nine years before finally dying from that brain damage. 
  • (Norma, in sequence of birth, fits right here.)
  • Two more girls (unnamed girls), who were both stillborn.

Norma was born after Robert (who never thrived) and before the two stillborn girls (those stillbirths occurred when Norma was 5 and 3, respectively). Norma was the only one of her Mom's children who lived to old age. The reason that Norma's mom, Elizabeth Helen, had such difficulty with having healthy babies was that she was Rh negative, at a time when doctors did not have access to Rh Immunoglobulin (RhoGam) shots to stop the mother's body immune system from attacking the cells of an Rh incompatible fetus.

Young Norma:

From the 5th grade until marriage, Norma lived in Midvale Utah, in a modest house on Lincoln street (that is largely unaltered to this day). Prior to the 5th grade, Norma lived in Delta, Utah where her father ran the creamery. Norma greatly enjoyed her childhood. She loved shucking peas at the house front porch with her Mom. She spent time with her Grandma Mattson and her aunts Pearl (Eliza Pearl Mattson), Hatti and Mame. She loved playing with her cousins Delbert, Marion and Shirley, who lived nearby. Marion was 36 hours older than Norma and they called themselves twins. They went to the same school together.


After high school, Norma did secretarial and office management work and attended Brigham Young University. While at BYU, she felt a desire to be a missionary and at the age of 25 went to Sweden for two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Because of her secretarial experience, much of her time as a missionary in Sweden was spent being a secretary to the Mission President. In this capacity, she traveled throughout much of Sweden.

Working Girl:

Before her missionary service and after her mission, Norma worked as an executive assistant and secretary. She worked for a short time at the Utah State Board of Education and many years at the Mountain Fuel Gas Company.

Transplanted, Married Woman:

At the age of 31, Norma married Kenneth R. Hinkson in the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She had met Ken at a missionary reunion. They lived for a few years in Midvale Utah. Eventually, the desire for Ken to have higher-paying employment brought Ken and Norma to Southern California. They lived for one year in Compton California with Uncle Roland (Ken's brother) and Aunt Faye, then seven years in Anaheim California, and Norma lived for 54 years in Fountain Valley California, 39 years with her husband Ken, and 15 more years, without Ken after he died in 2008. Norma wasn't alone, though. Wynn, and Marty and Sharon were in the house with her. Barbie Ray and their children lived a mile away. Greg and Kelly lived ten miles away with their childrwen, and Diane and Dave and their children lived only 30 minutes away and they were constantly together.

Going back to when Ken and Norma first moved to California, three children went with them (Kent, Wynn, and Diane; Stephanie had already died). Norma's immediate family grew from those four children to eventually include four more children, Barbie, Greg, Marty, and Wendy (who died at 3 weeks), all four born in California.

Wife and Health Conscious Mother:

Ken and Norma were very compatible. They both loved dancing, especially the jitterbug. Throughout their married lives, they could be seen at every stake and ward dance, as well as weddings, taking up much of the dance floor space with their energetic dance movements. Early in their marriage, she and Ken took an interest in eating whole wheat bread and eating cracked, whole-wheat cereal. Norma ground hard-red winter wheat kernels into flour and baked home-made bread daily for her family.

Every morning for breakfast, she ate and served her husband and children cracked whole wheat cereal, soft-boiled eggs and a half of a grapefruit (she slow cooked the cracked wheat cereal all night every night). Every Sunday, after Church, supper was made of left-over, whole-wheat bread, that would be broken into small pieces with added banana slices, and milk, and eaten with spoons like pudding or cereal.

Since Ken and Norma had both served as missionaries in Sweden, they often spoke in Swedish to each other (especially after children came and they wanted to communicate without being understood by the children).

Norma's Children:

Norma was the mother of eight children: Kent (1954), Wynn (1956), Stephanie (1959), Diane (1960), Barbara (1962), Greg (1964), Marty (1968), and Wendy (1969).

Norma only raised to maturity six of those children — Stephanie died in Utah at 2 years of age (from a viral heart infection) and Wendy, who was dropped by the doctor to the hard delivery-room floor during the birth process and suffered extensive damage from that fall), died after living only 22 days. Norma never was permitted to hold Wendy while Wendy was alive. Because Wendy was the last-born of Norma's children, everyone remembers the many visits to see Wendy (through a window) in the hospital, her tiny casket, our own sorrow, and the deep sorrow of both our parents.

Norma's Posterity:

At the time she died, Norma had 32 grand-children, 64 great grand-children and 2 more great grand-children on the way.

Norma's Faith:

Born to faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Norma attended church services as a child with her family every Sunday, and Primary classes during the week.

She recounts that her own spirituality and commitment to God developed when her beloved, older sister Mary died shortly after giving birth to her only child.

In her ensuing, all-encompassing grief, Norma pondered what she had been taught at church, her own faith, whether she believed there really was a purpose to life, and if life continued after death, and if God had a plan to bring about His children's eternal happiness. Through many hours of scripture searching and prayer she felt come into her heart the reassurance and testimony from the still small voice of the Holy Ghost that the gospel teachings were true. Satisfied thereby, Norma gained a strong and abiding testimony of God's reality, His love for His children, and the Gospel truths. This faith and testimony lasted the rest of her life. This faith was tested many times — as the death of loved ones was to be an unfortunate, recurring theme of her life.

Disciple of Christ:

Following the Bible admonitions (James 1:22) to — "be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.", and (Mark 12:31) to — "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself", and following the example of her parents, Norma cared for everyone God gave her to care for, her immediate family, extended family, sisters at Church, and neighbors.

Norma served God by teaching her children to have faith. She read the scriptures to us and with us. She kneeled with us as we prayed. We kneeled to pray together for every meal.

She babysat for other women who had to work and couldn't care for their children during work hours. She took meals to those who were sick. She taught Relief Society lessons. We children remember her practicing her Relief Society lessons, speaking her intended words into a tape-recorder and playing them back, to make sure the tones and messages were conveyed satisfactorily. She taught Primary children of all ages, worked in the Meetinghouse Library, was a Family History Center worker, and was an exemplary Relief Society President. Her last Church "calling" which she did until the day before she died was Relief Society birthday greeter. She also supported her husband while he served long hours in many church unit leadership callings.

Norma's Tests:

  • Her first big test, and the opportunity to develop significant spiritual maturity came with the shock of the early death of her older sister Mary, which propelled her into seeking for a personal testimony and faith.
  • A few years after Norma's mission to Sweden, when she was 29 years old, Norma's mother suffered a debilitating stroke. Norma cared for her mother for nine months before her mother finally died. During most of that time, her mother was unresponsive. Norma's devotion to her mother was constant, her faith in God never-ceasing. Others might ask why if Norma had served God faithfully, God would not bless her mother. All Norma thought to do was care for her mother and trust God.
  • Light-heartedly, Norma recounts that leaving Utah to move to California was a great test of her faith. She didn't want to do it, and didn't think it was possible to raise faithful children outside of Utah. Especially, she didn't want to leave her father, friends and, other relatives.
  • Her older brother Robert (Bobby) suffered brain damage during an aggressive, forceps delivery. The brain damage was so great that Bobby was largely a "vegetable" until his death at 9 years of age.
  • While struggling to understand why her brother didn't get to live a normal life, two baby sisters were stillborn — one when Norma was three and one when she was five.
  • Immediately after the death of her mother came the tragic death of her brother Leo. Leo died suddenly at 40 years of age from a viral infection that triggered Guillain Barre Syndrome. Leo's four children were left fatherless. This was heart wrenching, but Norma's faith was that Leo would be eternally okay.
  • Perhaps the greatest stress on Norma and the greatest test of her faith occurred when her first-born-daughter, Stephanie, died quickly and unexpectedly. The death of this bubbly, curly-haired girl, that loved to sprint outside naked to go to the neighbors, stung her to the core.
  • After moving to California with her father Albert, Norma's older sister Helen died at the age of 44 from multiple sclerosis.
  • Norma's father Albert, who had never remarried, had moved himself and Helen to California to be closer to Norma. In California, he was a big part of Ken and Norma Hinkson family events. He became the custodian of the Anaheim LDS Stake Center. In 1967, however, at the age of 88, while he was still working as the custodian, Albert died when he was hit by a milk truck while walking across a street near his apartment.
  • Two years after the death of Norma's father Albert, Wendy died from injuries suffered during childbirth due to the doctor accidentally dropping Wendy on the floor. This was especially distressing and heart-wrenching because Wendy was a promised daughter (the promise of that daughter's birth being given to Norma during a Priesthood blessing).
  • When Norma was 81, her eternal companion (Ken) died from cancer after having suffered through a heart attack and stroke during the previous five years.
  • Additionally, many other family members and friends died through her lifetime, creating voids and opportunities to show faith and gratitude for the great plan of God in proving His children and His promises to bring His faithful children back to Heaven, through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Norma passed everyone of these "tests", firm in the faith she first developed when her sister Mary died many decades earlier. She can be presented to God by the Savior as steadfast, immovable, and worthy of exaltation.

Norma's Loves:

  • Going on camp-outs and excursions into the Anza Borrego (near San Diego) desert.
  • Running and walking around Mile Square Park or nearby malls with her friends.
    • For 50 years Norma ran and walked with her friends.
    • This all started because of her calling in the Relief Society to encourage the sisters to engage in physical activity. She couldn't preach what she didn't do, and so she started running, and soon enticed many of the sisters to join her.
    • Over the years, these running buddies included: Sa Wilson, Sherrill Huebner, LaVerne Akina, Carolyn Hancock, Dorothy Stockard, Gerry Fisher, Donna Bowman, and many more.
  • Gathering her children and grand-children at her home to eat popcorn and talk with her family every Sunday night.
  • Going to the temple and doing family history work. She went for decades to the temple every Wednesday morning with her friends. On Wednesday, instead of running, she and her running buddies went to the Temple together.
  • More than anything, she loved any opportunity to be with and do things for her family.