Norma Howe, 1930–2011

Norma Howe, 81, Sacramento, Calif., died April 19, 2011, of thyroid cancer.

She was a Foundation member with her husband of 60 years, Robert, who survives her.

Norma Claire Nadeau was born Feb. 7, 1930, in San Jose. After earning an English degree at San Jose State University, she stayed home to raise seven children and began writing for True Story and Modern Romances magazines. She wrote eight published novels and two short stories for young adults.

Sacramento Bee reporter Robert Davila wrote that she was “a well-read, charming woman with a playful nature” and that her lighthearted stories “tackled age-old philosophical questions, such as whether free will exists and the conflict between faith and reason.”

Her first novel, God, the Universe and Hot Fudge Sundaes, was about a teen questioning her religion after her sister was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was adapted for an after-school CBS-TV special in 1986. Her last novel, Angel in Vegas: The Chronicles of Noah Sark, was published in 2009. She recounted at how the latter came about:

“I first got the idea for Angel in Vegas shortly after the tragic death of Princess Diana in August 1997, when an overwrought woman in the grocery store cried out to those of us in line, ‘Where oh where was her guardian angel?’ Where indeed, I thought! And I thought and I thought, and after almost 10 years of thought, the story finally surfaced.”

She was preceded in death by a son, Douglas. Besides her husband, survivors include three daughters, Christine of Hamden, Conn.; Jeanne of Sacramento; and Patricia of Napa; three sons, Robert of Placerville; Ted of Sacramento; and Everett of San Diego; eight grandchildren; and two brothers, Wayne Nadeau of Stockton and Jack Nadeau of San Jose.

The Foundation offers its sincere condolences.

Freedom From Religion Foundation