September 19, 1932 – December 17, 2020
When young and eager to grow older we are never told that some day we will lose those who have played such an important role in who we will become.
On December 17, Norma Young, at the age of 88 left an expansive network of family, friends, and life acquaintances with a deep sense of loss and an abundance of rich memories.
Think of someone who met life full on and possessed a remarkable work ethic, someone who laughed often and made friends easily, someone who taught her children to say please and thank you while encouraging kindness, someone who provided a foundation of love and encouragement for those privileged to share in some of her life journey.
Norma Claire Wells was born in Chilliwack, B.C. on September 19, 1932 to parents Albert and Frances Wells and siblings Ivan and Shirley. Her father was in many ways a B.C. logging pioneer so she moved often attending schools in Sardis, Blaine, Parksville, Nanaimo, and Chilliwack.
At 17 Norma married Bill Gillis captivated by his yodelling as they peeled potatoes together in a Furry Creek logging camp. Working side by side in restaurants, camps and catering companies in Surrey, Buttle Lake or Fort St. John …. they eventually settled in Williams Lake where their restaurant, the Bil-Nor, became legendary for its home cooking and sizzling steaks!
The café was open 362 days a year from 6:00 a.m. until midnight which meant they worked hard for fifteen memorable years. Here they raised three children, Craig, Cheryl, and Carla. They were married for 26 years before pancreatitis took Bill unexpectedly in 1976.
Norma then moved north to Terrace, marrying Bill Young and welcoming his children, Jim and Diane. Bill and Norma became work and life partners for the next 41 years as owners of the Tillicum Twin Theatres (now in the family for 52 years!) and offices.
In 1984 they purchased Nass Camp spending countless hours feeding and housing workers and tourists at the Tillicum Lodge in the Nass Valley. Norma and Bill became an intrinsic part of the community creating many new life stories as they developed a flourishing business.
Bill’s passing in December 2018 at the age of 95 was a devastating loss. Norma is predeceased by parents Albert and Frances, brother Ivan, sister Shirley, and daughter Cheryl (Adrian).
She leaves sons Craig (Gerry) and Jim; and daughters Carla and Diane (Wakefield) who were devoted to her care during the past two years. Nanna was incredibly proud of her 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren and kept close tabs wherever they were in the world. Her legacy is the imprint she has left.
Yes, so many will miss this genuine, generous and kind woman who loved the colour blue, Royal Doulton china dolls, Steven Seagal movies, orchids, Judge Judy, large family gatherings for Christmas dinner, and shared an evident super power with numbers.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Carla Gemeinhardt for her kindness and care. A celebration of life will be held when it is again safe to gather.
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