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Norma French


Norma French, 89, of Creston died Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, at Greater Regional Hospice Home in Creston.

Memorial services will be 11 a.m. Friday at Powers Funeral Home, junction of highways 34 and 25, in Creston. The Rev. Dan Fields and the Rev. Dave Tebbenkamp will officiate the service. Norma donated her body to Des Moines University, and burial will be in Fairview Cemetery in Bedford at a later date. Open visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday with family present from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Greater Regional Hospice Home Foundation in Creston. Online condolences may be left at

Norma Jeane Swartz, daughter of Winnie F. (Swartz) Rhoades, was born Feb. 4, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri. Norma graduated from Mount Ayr High School in 1945. She worked as a waitress, and later, as a welder for Solar Aircraft facility in Des Moines during the war years where she welded tailpipes on the B29 bombers.

In 1946, she married Scott Duckworth in Creston, they later divorced and he has died. In 1959, she married Robert E. Lee in Anoka, Minnesota, they later divorced and he has died. While Norma lived in Laurel, Maryland, she worked as a secretary for a bank president.  

In 1971, Norma married Virgil French in Creston. They farmed together 10 miles east of Bedford until he died and she moved to Creston where she became the “demo” lady at Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee and Fareway. She also worked as a receptionist and secretary for Anderson and Werner Law Firm in Creston, as an office assistant at Ringgold Mutual Insurance in Mount Ayr and a typist for Boggs Wholesale in Creston.  

Norma was a member of First Baptist Church in Creston and past member of Young at Heart Doll Club.

Norma is survived by her children, Michael D. (Jo) Duckworth Sr., Tony Lee (significant other Crystal Heyveld) and Leesa “Lee” (Allen) Lester, all of Creston; grandchildren, Scotty Duckworth, Jason Duckworth, Michael (Cassie) Duckworth Jr., Dani Lisk (significant other Kenneth Witmer), Brian (April) Holloway, Shawn Holloway (significant other Shyanne Macalpine-Switzer), Jared Wilmeth, Brianna Freeman and Sherri Bishop: great-granddaughters, Myla and Maci Duckworth and Atalynn Holloway and great-grandsons, Colton Duckworth, Chase Stookey, Ivan Wilmeth and Isaiah Elkin.

Norma was preceded in death by her stepfather Sam Rhoades, mother Winnie Rhoades, husband Virgil and stepdaughter Connie (French) Noyes.  

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