Norma Jean Begley

Norma Jean Begley

October 27, 1938 – February 12, 2024

VISITATION: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 5 -7 p.m. at West Center Chapel, followed by a VIGIL at 7 p.m.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, February 16, 2024, 11 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 4810 Woolworth Ave.

Interment, Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Holy Cross Catholic Church.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please visit and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.

Norma Jean Thell was born on October 27, 1938, in Omaha, Nebraska, the third of Irene and Max Thell’s five daughters. She married William “Bill” Begley on June 3, 1961. Norma passed away on February 12, 2024.  

Norma is survived by her children: Terry Begley, Tim (Val) Begley, Renee (Chris) Piccolo, Amy (Mike) Masker, Jenny (Denny) Hess and Mindy Begley; grandchildren: Max and Sam Begley, Sydney and Ryan Piccolo, and Mitch and Maddie Masker; sisters, Maxine (Greg) Vinardi and Bernadette Martin; sisters-in-law, Dorothy Begley and Rosemary Weide; nieces and nephews.

Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; her parents, Irene and Max Thell; sisters, Elizabeth Busse and Marlene Machal; in-laws and many dear friends.

Norma also had an angel baby. Her first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, and she always wondered if the baby was a boy or girl. We’re so excited that she finally gets to meet that baby she always thought about and gets to name him or her.

When we think of Mom, or Normie, we can’t help but smile and feel loved. She was so giving and selfless and so very, very kind. It’s difficult to put her life into a few lines, but we’ll try to hit the highlights of ways she may have touched your life:

* She was a caregiver. She helped take care of her mother, her husband, her children and grandchildren (advising us when sick to “stay on top of the pain”), our elderly pets (going so far as feeding them pancakes off a fork!) and other relatives and friends. Mom was the devoted Holy Cross Prayer Line Lady for many years;

* She loved our pets. Between Dad, Mom and the six kids, we had almost every animal allergy possible, so we were limited with having pets growing up. Chinchillas, hermit crabs and fish were fun, but once we moved out and got dogs, Mom really loved their visits, and used to fancy getting one herself. Ultimately, she got a pair of lovebirds, Ernie (RIP) and Bert. Bert brought her great joy and kept her company at Hillcrest and also survives her;

* She loved a good party and was usually the last to leave. Dad, not so much. One of us kids always got to drive her home, where Dad was usually already sleeping. Mom would encourage shenanigans too…the sillier the better. When we got a lift chair for Dad, we decided it would be fun to see who could stay in it until the highest lift. Things like that gave Mom the giggles;

* She loved a car ride and going bummin’. Whether it be a drive with Dad after Mass, or even going out of state with him to pick up a body in his mortuary service days, Mom could ride in a car for hours. She loved to drive by and see what was going on. Driving by the Civic Auditorium after wrestling one night led to giving Jake “The Snake” Roberts a ride to his hotel! Saturday mornings with Grandma Thell meant donuts and fights over who was going to pay the bill;

* She was a crafter. She could sew, quilt, knit, crochet and cross-stitch. She made many awesome Halloween costumes over the years When beer cans hats, and littering, were both in vogue in the 1970s, she and Grandma Thell would drive around and collect supplies (cans). Mom found a warm hat pattern she liked to crochet and made and donated in excess of 300 hats for the homeless. Her craft stash was impressive!;

* She loved to bake. Pies, cookies (especially for Thell Christmas!), cream puffs, cakes, brownies and more.

We love you, Mom and we’ll try to keep making you proud of us!


  • Jeanette A. Piccolo Posted February 13, 2024 2:30 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole family; may the wonderful memories of Norma bring you comfort. She was such a bright light and wonderful person.

  • NANCY SHIRLEY Posted February 13, 2024 8:29 pm

    Terry and all the Begley sibs
    So sorry to hear on your mom’s passing. Your parents are now reunited in Heaven! I hope you can find much comfort in all your wonderful family memories! Love, hugs, and prayers to all of you.
    Nancy aka Nancy Nurse

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