Funeral Service: March 17, 2023 12:00 PM
Funeral Home: Gutterman’s Woodbury Chapel
8000 Jericho Turnpike Woodbury, NY 11797
Interment to follow at New Montefiore Cemetery, West Babylon, NY
Norma Joseph, for decades our family’s beloved matriarch, was born in Philadelphia on April 2, 1920 and passed away a few weeks short of her 103rd birthday, in her home in Brookville, Long Island, on March 1, 2023. Her parents, Gilbert and Bertha Hamberg, born in the United States, were the children of Eastern European Askenazi Jewish immigrants, who battled through the Depression to make a better life for their children, Norma and older brother Marvin. When her father Gilbert, a certified public accountant succumbed to illness decades too soon, Bertha set up a modest beauty parlor in her row-house home and Norma gave up her plans to train as an elementary school teacher so that her older brother might become an engineer. In the years that followed she helped her mom run the beauty parlor in the family’s home in West Oak Lane, Philadelphia. Then, during her high school years, Norma met her once and future sweetheart, Leonard Joseph, and they remained together the rest of their lives, for close to 8 decades, 76 as a married couple, until Leonard passed away a few months short of the century mark in 2019. As Leonard became a highly successful litigation attorney beginning in the 1940s, Norma dedicated her life to her family, raising three children, Gil, Stuart, and Janet Hope (Fitzgerald). In time she also became the loving grandmother of Reid and Laura Fitzgerald, Matt Joseph, and Sarah Joseph and Heather Jennings, and then the great-grandmother of Hailey Jennings. She inspired all of us beyond measure, not to mention many generations of family members, several of whom are represented at today’s memorial, as well as countless friends, all of whom she outlived. What was most indelible about our family’s matriarch and drew us to her so tightly was her contagious and overflowing optimism and her abiding faith in the goodness of people and the purposefulness of life. She loved living every day, rarely complained, and made our lives much richer because of her deep love and concern for us.