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Norma Steele Oliver
  • In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged for
  • St. Mark United Methodist Church
    413 Geddes Avenue
    Charleston, SC 29407
  • The Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing
    268 Calhoun Street, MSC 182
    Charleston, SC 29425

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J. Henry Stuhr West Ashley Chapel

3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway
Charleston, SC 29414
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Norma Steele Oliver, long-time Charleston resident and retired Roper Hospital nurse, died Oct. 8 at Ashley River Plantation from complications from Alzheimer's Disease. She was 91. Her Funeral Service will be held Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 11 a.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 413 Geddes Ave., Charleston SC 29407 with burial following at Live Oak Memorial Gardens. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR INC., WEST ASHLEY CHAPEL.

Norma was born September 22, 1927 in Akron, Ohio as Norma Steele, to Herbert F. and Beatrice Steele. She was the next-to-youngest in a family of seven children.

She moved with her family during WWII to Folly Beach as her dad took a wartime job at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. While on Folly as a teenager during the war, she was trained as a civilian coast watcher, and spent hours on long walks along the beach, an activity she always loved for years after. She made the daily trip to the Peninsula every day as a student at Memminger High School, then an all-girls school and graduated in 1945.

After working in Florida for a few years, she returned to Charleston and found the Medical College of South Carolina (now University) offering free tuition for the nursing school and signed up. It was there, on a blind date, she met Charles Oliver, our dad, and the rest, as they say, is history. She graduated from MCSC in January 1950 and in May, was married to Charlie at Folly Beach (United) Methodist Church - it's the same one standing there now. The couple spent the first five years of marriage downtown and moved to West Ashley soon after the birth of son No. 2. West Ashley was her home, more or less, for the rest of her life.
Three sons arrived in the 1950s' baby boom, and she continued to work at various medical facilities around MCSC. She finally landed at Roper Hospital and began a career there that, with two exceptions, lasted until her retirement. At Roper, she worked the wards and floors, in Obstetrics and the Nursery, and then ICU for a number of years until taking on the role of supervisor for the 11 pm-7 am shift. She left briefly in the late 1960s to work in the office of Rivers, Wilson and Sosnowski, a leading OB-GYN practice on Calhoun Street. When Dad, a supervisor with Southern Bell, was transferred to company HQ in Atlanta in the early 1970s, mom worked at what was called Doctors Hospital in Decatur, at the time a surgical facility. When they moved home in the mid-1970s, Mom went back to Roper.

Dad died in 1985 but Mom continued to work the night shift at Roper. At long last, she was set to retire from Roper on her birthday, Sept 22, and 11 pm-7am was her last scheduled shift. It was 1989. Hurricane Hugo hit and her last night ended up being quite a few days at the hospital until the city could recover.
Mom and Dad, along with a several other couples, were the founders of the Scottish Society of Charleston and the annual Charleston Scottish Games, where Mom was put in charge of the Highland Dancing competition the first few years. Until she was unable to attend the Games, she always had a tent right on the parade grounds and welcomed family and friends for many years.

Mom and Dad were early members of St Mark United Methodist Church, joining in the mid-1950s soon after the original charter. For decades, she was active in many aspects of the church but found her passion in the choir. She was called on frequently by members and others in the community to sing at weddings and funerals, and with the Goodness Gracious Band at retirement homes, all over the Low Country. She went on to serve for many years in state-level positions with the UMC Women, traveling across South Carolina and to the Methodist retreat at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina, one of her favorite places.

Norma is survived by her last living sibling, her sister Mary Jane Scaffe; sons Charles Bruce Oliver of Charleston, Douglas Edward Oliver (Deb Rix) of Wichita, KS, and James Cameron Oliver (Krystyna Kowalczyk) of Raleigh, NC; daughter-in-law Kathy R. Oliver of Alpharetta; four grandchildren, Nicholas, Padrick, Tyler and Kelsey; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins, along with their families, spread across the country.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged for: St. Mark UMC, 413 Geddes Ave., Charleston SC 29407, The Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing, 268 Calhoun Street, MSC 182, Charleston, SC 29425, the Alzheimer's Association SC Chapter, 2090 Executive Hall Road, Suite 130, Charleston, SC, 29407 or any charity or organization that does good in our world.