Norma Louise Sellars Grabenstein, of Wilmington, affectionately known as “Ms. G” by her students, died Monday, June 22, 2015, at Lower Cape Fear Hospice. She was 78.
Mrs. Grabenstein was born in Wilmington on April 14, 1937, the daughter of the late Richard Norwood (Tot) and Edna Penney Sellars. Also remembered are her husband, Eugene Edward Grabenstein (1993) and her grandparents, John Henry and Mary Barnhill Penney and Richard Cass and Nancy Wright Rivenbark Sellars, all of whom preceded her in death.
Norma began school in Mrs. Ruth Cronley’s kindergarten class and then attended Tileston Elementary School. She graduated from New Hanover High School in 1954 and attended Wilmington Jr. College for two years, where she was Maid of Honor on the May Day Court. She graduated from Western Carolina University in 1958 earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She was Sweetheart of Sigma Chi at the 1957 homecoming, a member of Delta Sigma Sorority where she was president her senior year and a member of the Creative Writing Club.
Norma began her teaching career in 1958 at Sunset Park Elementary (Lucille Schufler Building) teaching the sixth grade. She continued her career going to Ocracoke Island School, Lake Forest Elementary (fifth and sixth grade accelerated class), back to Ocracoke for three years, Camp LeJeune for five years, Lincoln Elementary, Mary Washington Howe and finally Ogden Elementary School where she remained until her retirement after 31 years of teaching. She also taught piano lessons to the children at Ocracoke and many students in Wilmington.
Mrs. Grabenstein was a member of the New Hanover Genealogy Society, the Southern Dames, was urrently serving as president of U.D.C. Chapter #3 and was a member of D.A.R. She was a no trump bridge player, an avid reader and she enjoyed coastal sports which included everything from catching it to eating it! Norma was also the “Best Storyteller” ever.
Surviving are her beloved sisters, Mary Hammond (Tom), of Athens, Georgia and Wilmington, Jean Gornto Rawls and Sue Hammonds, both of Wilmington; her stepson, John Joseph Grabenstein (Joanelle); her dear nephews and nieces, Phillip Hammond (Lori), Laura H. Holdych (Steve), Christy H. Moore (Charlie), Whit Rawls (Lauren) and Ricky Hammond (Carrie); 10 great-nieces and nephews; uncle, Glenwood T. Sellars, of Wilmington; brothers-in-law, Charlie Grabenstein, of Connecticut, Bill Grabenstein, of Florida and Walt Grabenstein (Eileen), of Florida; numerous cousins; and many friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 27, 2015, at Fifth Ave. United Methodist Church, which she joined in 1948. Interment will follow at Oakdale Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Fifth Ave. United Methodist Church, 409 S. 5th Ave., Wilmington, NC 28401 or Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1406 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.
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