POLSON - Norma Baldwin Ricketts, 88, of Polson, and formerly of Mesa, Ariz., passed away peacefully during the night on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at Evergreen Polson Health and Rehabilitation where she had currently been a resident.
Norma was born in Holbrook, Ariz., on Sept. 23, 1921, and was the daughter of the late Arlo Clark Baldwin and Rose Ramsay Baldwin. She spent the first 12 years of her life on the Navajo, Hopi, and Apache Indian reservations. When Norma was 8, she was baptized in the river at Snowflake, Ariz., by her grandfather, John Ramsay.
After graduating from Winslow High School, Winslow, Ariz., in 1938, Norma later went on to receive her bachelor's degree in business administration from Woodbury University in Los Angeles, in 1941. In 1943, she was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters in Minneapolis (North Central States).
Norma lived a full and diversified life with her working career including positions at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood, Calif.; Lockheed Aircraft during World War II, Burbank, Calif.; the McClatchy Newspapers, editorial department, the Sacramento Union, music and drama critic (two years) and her weekly column (one year), Sacramento Civic Theater, Music Circus Light Opera Association, and the City of Sacramento Convention Center.
In 1950, Norma, along with nine other women, organized the first company of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in Sacramento and served as its first president.
In 1988, Norma returned to her native Arizona after leaving 50 years earlier. She felt the move to be a return to her roots. She enjoyed getting reacquainted with her cousins and made many new friends. While in Mesa, she served as the regional representative for the International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers for the State of Arizona. At a 1990 convention in Salt Lake City, Norma was honored with a special award, "Women of Faith and Fortitude".
While compiling research through the years on the early Mormons of California, Norma spent the next six years writing "The Mormon Battalion, US Army of the West, 1846-48." Published in 1996, the book won three national awards and is considered to be a definitive work on the topic.
Beside her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Monte Fremont Ricketts, who died in 1983; and daughter, Susan Green.
Those left with cherished memories are her two sons, Robert Ricketts of Polson and John Ricketts of Mesa, Ariz.; six grandchildren, Robby, Molly and Ian Ricketts, all of Polson, Stacie Stoner, Brenden Ricketts and Lisa Green, all of Arizona; two great-grandchildren, Cody and Jacob Green, both of Arizona.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 5, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Polson, with Bishop Gordon Terry officiating. Interment will follow at Lakeview Cemetery, Polson. Friends may visit with the family an hour prior to the services in the Relief Society Room of the church.
Messages of condolence may be sent to the family online at www.groganfuneralhome.com.