1928 Doris 2021

Doris C. Norskey

March 22, 1928 — May 27, 2021

On May 27, 2021 Doris Norskey passed away peacefully in the home that she and her husband lived in and loved for over fifty years. A few weeks earlier, she looked around her beautiful living and dining rooms, remembering the parties and family gatherings they had held, and remarked to her daughter, Gail, “I had a lot of energy, didn’t I?” Indeed, she did. Born in 1928 to Adeline (Gardella) Carbone and John B. Carbone, the third of three children, she spent most of her life in the city of Gardner. Her father was the owner of J.B. Carbone’s fruit and vegetable store, which opened on Main Street in 1927. The family belonged to Sacred Heart Church. She attended public schools and graduated from Gardner High School, where she was a flautist in the marching band. Doris also was a talented pianist who entertained at USO parties during WW2 and accompanied school and community choirs. Later, she played the organ in her parish church. Doris attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, one of the few coeds to join the wave of ex-servicemen attending college courtesy of the G.I. Bill. It was there that she discovered her dramatic talent and love of the theatre while playing leading roles in many UMass productions. Her sorority sisters at Kappa Alpha Theta became lifelong friends and she treasured class reunions with them, attending well into her eighties. Following her graduation in 1950, she embarked upon an adventure that would resonate throughout her life. She and her beloved sister, Grace, joined a small group of young people on a bicycle trip though Italy, Switzerland, and France, that included a private audience with Pope Pius XII at the Vatican. At the time the scars of war were fresh, and there were few American travelers. Her photos of that trip were always present in her home, and she often regaled these memories fondly as “the adventure of a lifetime.” She married her high school sweetheart, Alexander P. Norskey, at Christmastime in 1952. For a few years they followed Alec’s career: dental school at Tufts in Boston, summers in Nova Scotia where he played first base for the Truro Bearcats, and to the army base at Fort Bragg, N.C. In 1959 the family returned to Gardner where Alec established his dental practice and they raised their four daughters. There, Doris wasan active member of The Gardner College Club, helming several of their memorablebook fairs, and a substitute teacher at Gardner High School. In 1965, Doris and Alec built their house on Highfield Road, overseeing every element of its design and construction. Her youngest daughter, Gail, who had not yet started school, remembers daily visits to the building site, holding onto her mom’s hand supervising every detail. Doris loved their home and she was blessed to spend her last days there. Doris loved to travel and she treasured her trips to Mexico, Europe, Israel and Australia. She especially enjoyed travelling with her daughter Jody, with whom she made her last two voyages to Italy and London. She also cherished winter skiing trips with her husband, daughters and grandchildren. Doris had a magical knack for making every place feel like home, and having her there made every trip memorable. In her later years, she would often remark “I’ve done it all” and indeed she had and she imparted her wisdoms and instilled her love of adventure in us all. Her daughters might say that her true avocation was shopping, always for others, never herself – and returning things. She couldn’t resist a bargain or a “quick look around.” Her oldest daughter Carol warmly remembers an outing to Filene’s Bargain Basement’s annual wedding dress sale. Doris brilliantly made her way through hundreds of mothers and daughters clutching the best dresses, purchasing three. Two were ultimately returned, but not before all four daughters had a ball and modeled them around the house. With similar enthusiasm and boundless generosity, she cared for her mother and her older sister, Grace, and her sister-in-law Bernice. The same caring was extended to many dear friends, particularly Virginia Aldrich. She had enduring kindness and compassion, and never once wavered when care become difficult. Her seven grandchildren were precious to her. They remember her devoted affection fondly, as she taught them to play card games, cook, and keep a tidy house, among many other practical things. But most importantly she always supported them in all of their endeavors as she encouraged them to pursue their passions, and she taught them to impart generosity to others, as she always had. Through song, film, theatre, and dance, Doris shared her love of the arts with her grandchildren. Several of them have embraced their artistic talents from a young age. Doris never missed a performance that featured one of them. The annual trips to Northampton to see Eleni and Toula in The Nutcracker were a favorite holiday tradition. Ben’s piano recitals at UMass were not to be missed. And twelve-hour long treks to Ontario were made to attend Andrew and Ariel’s musical theatre performances. In later years, her grandchildren’s work in the arts delighted her. Every postcard from Toula, an associate casting director in Hollywood, was celebrated. Stories from the opera and classical music stages from Ariel were welcomed, and clips from Andrew’s works were shared. But regardless of their interests she was so proud of all of her grandchildren; admiring Eleni’s commitment to working with differently abled people, Catie’s advocacy for women and girls, Ben’s joy at the piano, and Doug’s achievements at Columbia. She loved the ocean and summers spent on the beaches of New Hampshire and Maine. In recent years she spent winters in St. Maarten with her daughter, Margaret and her partner Pat, and in Florida with Gail and her husband, Barry. She leaves her husband of sixty-eight years, Alexander Norskey; her four daughters Carol (Paul), Margaret (Pat), Joanne and Gail (Barry); and seven grandchildren, Andrew, Ariel, Eleni (Giulia), Toula (Evan), Doug (Dasha), Catie (Damon) and Ben (Sierra). Mostly, though, she leaves an empty space in all of our lives. Over the last weeks, family visited as covid protocols permitted. One was our cousin, Deb, who lost her own mother, Connie in January. Doris, who loved Connie dearly, rallied her energy and smiled. Knowing how much Deb missed her own mother, Doris asked, “Oh, Debbie, would you like to come and live with us?” They held hands and talked until Doris tired and said, “It’s just amazing how we learn to say goodbye.” In her memory we suggest you embrace adventure, spread generosity, and hold your loved ones close so that you too can someday say without a doubt: “I’ve done it all.”
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

1:00 - 2:00pm (Eastern time)

Mack Family Funeral Home 105 Central St. Gardner

105 Central St., Gardner, MA 01440

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Funeral

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)

Mack Family Funeral Home 105 Central St. Gardner

105 Central St., Gardner, MA 01440

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Cemetery

St. John's Cemetery

West St., Gardner, MA 01440

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