Skip to content



On August 24, 1923 Harry Ransome Searles and Ida Marie Simpson Searles welcomed a second daughter, Norma Marie, into their lives. A baby brother would join them a few years later. She grew up on a Blockton area farm where she spent a happy childhood helping her father milk cows, gather eggs and play on the horses. 

Norma graduated from Blockton high school with the class of 1940. While working in Mount Ayr for attorney Frank Wilson, she met Howard Smith at a dance. Six months later, on September 20, 1941, they married in Princeton, Missouri. At the end of WWII, Howard and Norma purchased a farm in Middle Folk township where they provided a loving home to their three children, Howard Don Jr., Stephen Arthur and Mary Jane. After the children were in school, Norma returned to Mount Ayr to work at various jobs, including the Ringgold County Hospital, the county engineering and treasurer’s offices and the telephone office. In 1968 she was elected to be the Ringgold county recorder, a position she held for 18 years. 

In November of 1959, Howard was injured in a car accident that left him paralyzed. Norma took care of him for 13 years. During that time they moved to town so they would be closer to medical care. On August 28, 1976 Norma married Homer McClintock. They were married for 10 years and enjoyed dancing and traveling. She married Ray Pottorff on January 6, 1996. When she and Ray were leaving the driveway, he would always pray, ‘Please God take care of these two old people that don’t have any better sense than to start on this trip.’

Norma met Mayme Stephens at the golf course and they remained golfing and traveling friends for many years. Playing a round of golf with grandson Troy was a true pleasure for her. While Howard was in the Navy in WWII, the ‘war widows’ were taught to knit. She knitted over 100 sweaters for homeless children and at least 100 pairs of slippers for disabled veterans. Reading was also a favorite pastime; she thought the large print books at the library were purchased at just the right time in her life. She was often seen on her walks every day. It was extremely hard to keep up with her. 

Norma was a member of the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr for over 60 years. She served in various capacities at the church. Her lifelong desire to teach led her to give Sunday school lessons at both nursing homes for many years. She also enjoyed working on the scholarship committee for the American Legion Auxiliary.

Norma died on June 19, 2013 at the age 89 at Clearview Homes. Norma was preceded in death by her parents; husbands; son, Don; sister, Naomi Shafer, and brother, Harold Searles.

Left to cherish many fond memories are her children, Stephen Smith and Mary Jane Thompson (husband Jon); grandchildren, Todd Smith, Angela Boord (husband Bill), Troy Smith (wife Kari) and Ryan Smith (wife Melissa); great-grandchildren, Jacob Parker, Emily Smith, Nathan Smith, Stephanie Boord, Justin Boord, Elizabeth Smith, Evan Smith and Gabe Smith; daughters-in-law, Shirley Shaw and Sharon Smith; nieces; nephews, and many friends.

Memorial services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr with Rev. Chris Conklin officiating. A memorial fund has been established for the American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship Fund.

Arrangements are by Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr.


Leave a Comment