Unrelenting love and a commitment to her church are two major qualities family and friends remember about Donna Jeane Norris, who died Monday in a two-car collision near Sidon.
“She was a most unusual, loving person,” said Alex Malouf Jr., Mrs. Norris’ oldest brother.
Mrs. Norris was killed at about 10 a.m. when a northbound pickup truck, driven by Ricky D. Gaines of Jackson, crossed the center line of U.S. 49 and collided head-on with the southbound SUV Mrs. Norris was driving, according to Sgt. Ronnie Shive, a spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Shive said both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Mrs. Norris was 71, Gaines 58.
There were no passengers in either vehicle, Shive said. The accident remains under investigation.
Malouf said his sister was headed toward Jackson for a doctor’s appointment and to visit with her four grandchildren, who live in that area.
Mrs. Norris worked with her husband, Buster, at S&N Airoflo, a Greenwood-based manufacturer of aerators used in wastewater treatment plants.
She was one of five children born to Stella and Alex Malouf Sr., the founder of Malouf Furniture Co. Alex Malouf Jr. said his sister “held everyone together” in the family.
She was a 1966 graduate of Greenwood High School, where she excelled in track. From her freshman through her senior years, Mrs. Norris won four straight state titles in the 50- and 75-yard dashes and the long jump. Including relay events, she finished up her high-school career with 23 gold medals. As an adult, Mrs. Norris became an avid tennis player.
She attended Siena College in Memphis, an all-girls Catholic college that later closed.
In 1971, she married Buster Norris.
Earlier in her career, Mrs. Norris taught for a few years at Pillow Academy, her brother said.
Mrs. Norris was an active lifelong member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. She was “an integral part of all the activities,” said Mary Jane Faulkner, the church’s communications director and family life coordinator.
Mrs. Norris was head of the church’s Madonna Circle, a ladies discussion and prayer group. On the morning of her death, a note from Mrs. Norris was emailed to the members of the group, saying she thought they would enjoy the speaker that had been lined up for their gathering that night.
She was also a Eucharistic minister and chaired the church’s Liturgy Committee.
“We have no idea how we’ll do all this without her,” Faulkner said.
Mrs. Norris is also survived by her two daughters, Allison Kelly and Deenie Norris.
• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.