The first female Evansville Police officer was taken off of life support earlier this week after being seriously injured in a car accident Saturday afternoon. While they prepare to say goodbye, the friends and family of Norma Jean Love remember her vivacious personality and how she lived every day to its fullest.
You know someone reaches a certain status in life when you say their first, middle and last name. Norma jean love was one of those people. She was 86 years old. and she impacted countless people along the way.
Life takes us down many roads but Norma Jean Love paved them.
"Norma Jean Love truly was a love," said Barbara Forehand, one of Love's closest friends and fellow members of St. Clement Catholic Church in Boonville. "She was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met."
"Norma Jean Love was my mother," said Jim Pace. "She was a retired police officer and a great lady, a wonderful lady."
She was 86 but never really retired. In 1954, Norma Jean Love became the first female E0vansville Police Officer. She was the first woman to take the merit test, the first woman to carry a marksmen rating and the first woman to run for Fraternal Order of Police Secretary. She was a member of the FOP for 56 years.
She fostered children, helped in the church, and would always be willing change her schedule.
"Especially nail appointments," Forehand said. "She'd say, 'it doesn't matter, I need to help you.'"
Norma Jean's friends will tell you she did everything and her son will tell you she did it well. But never for a second was it only about Norma Jean Love.
"She wanted everybody to know that they could be good people," Pace said. "Her motto was 'I can do it so you can do it.'
"She never quit living," Forehand said. "Every day was a new adventure for Jean."
"Her life was filled," Pace said. "She constantly said 'I'll slow down the day that I pass away."
She lived up to that promise. But it wasn't old age or disease that caught up to Norma Jean Love.
It was the car that crossed the center line Saturday afternoon. The accident happened at South Rockpord and Metz Roads just south of Boonville. Authorities say Tyler Hilton, 20, crossed the center line and hit Love's van. Hilton was not seriously injured.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done," Pace said. "I can promise you that. Losing my mom, it's hard for anybody to lose their mom."
"Even [at the hospital], her hands were warm," Forehand said. "They warmed mine and I was able to give her a kiss on the cheek and tell her I loved her and how very much I would miss her."
When it comes to Norma Jean Love, perhaps it's her last name best described how she lived her life and the roads she paved and the people she changed along the way.
"I know she has left behind little gifts for many people who will treasure them just as I do," Forehand said as she choked back tears.
Norma Jean Love will be buried with full Police honors on Friday morning at 11am. Visitation will be held Thursday from 4-8pm at Bradley's Colonial Chapel. Click the link on this page to see Norma Jean Love's Obituary and funeral plans
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