Norma Gail (Melton) Otten, 93, passed away in her apartment at the Springs of Butte on January 15, 2021 of natural causes and complications from COVID-19.
Norma was born December 31, 1927 in Lewistown, Montana to Vera Todd and William Melton. She was the youngest of 6 children and her mother passed away when Norma was only four years old. The six Melton siblings were raised by their Grandmother Blanche Todd, first on a farm near Square Butte and later in Lewistown. Norma often spoke fondly of her Grandmother’s ability to make every child in her care feel loved in such a large family. Norma attended school in Square Butte and Lewistown graduating from Fergus County High School in 1945. During high school, Norma spent time on the Musselshell river at the home of her lifelong friend, June Roberts Tripp. After high school she worked at several stores in Billings and Lewistown, including the Bon Ton and Hart-Albin.
On February 9, 1950 she married John M. “Jack” Otten who ranched west of Lewistown. They made their first home in Lewistown, where they had two sons, William and Robert. In 1964 they built a home on their ranch on Little Rock Creek where they had their daughter Carol. Norma and Jack resided on the ranch until Jack’s death in 2008. Norma remained there until 2011 when she moved to Butte to be closer to family.
Norma’s passions included caring for and enjoying family, riding horses and a variety of artistic endeavors.
Beloved pets and wildlife were frequent subjects in Norma’s watercolor and china paintings. She frequently displayed her art in different galleries and shows throughout the state, and her work is treasured by many friends and family members. Norma and her sister Lois enjoyed creating themed decorations for the annual bazaar at the First Presbyterian Church for many years.
Norma was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lewistown, Ceramic Club, China Painters Club, and Girls Birthday Club.
She was preceded in death by her husband Jack, her sisters Lois Rogers and Marion Cleland, and her brothers William Melton, James Melton, and Art Melton.
She is survived her children William Otten of Missoula, Robert Otten of Butte, Carol Barone of Snohomish WA, and by grandchildren Jason (Katie) Otten, Kelsey Otten, and Zara Barone.
The family wishes to thank the Springs of Butte for their care and friendship over the past several years.
Cremation has taken place and no services will take place at this time. A celebration of life is being planned for this summer.
Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Norma.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Norma and her family.
Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.
Chris Ketchum says
It was an honor to care for Norma. We will miss her. My sympathy to her family. Thank you for letting us care for her. I will fondly remember her for a long, long time. Chris
Jill Engellant Dahinden says
So sorry to hear of Norma’s passing. My mom, Blanche, has so many fond memories of her. I have and will treasure the china paintings I have of hers. I look forward to visiting with family this summer at Normas memorial services. Love and prayers to all of the family.
Charlene Deutscher says
Always in awe of Norma’s artistic abilities growing up. She was a wonderful lady with a big heart and even bigger smile. My love goes out to her children and grandchildren.
Kathie Jenni says
I’m so sorry that Norma has passed. I admired her greatly for her art and her poise and grace, and my parents and I enjoyed her company very much. I have a lovely pastel painting that Norma did of a wolf’s face, and I’ve admired many of her other works. She was a wonderful lady, and I will miss her! My sympathies to Bob and Bill and all of Norma’s family.
Marshall Long says
Bob, Sorry to learn of your mom’s passing. I have many fond memories of her kindness and bright personality since you moved in “next door” those many years ago. We’ve had one of her paintings in a prominent place in our home for years. Our thoughts are with you, the family, and all of those that cared for Norma.
Laura Voegele says
I am so sorry to hear of Norma’s passing. She was a beautiful, gracious and caring woman. Several times I would run into Jack and Norma who would be having lunch Sunday afternoon with Bill and Lois at Eddy’s Corner and I would be on my way to Billings from Geraldine. They were such great people. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Mary Engebrecht says
A few years ago Norma shared that she had a love for horses and riding. Surprised, I thought at the time she must have been a graceful horse woman. An other memory of Norma is getting to paint with her one afternoon. She told us a little bit of her love of painting. It was a privilege to learn those snippets of her life.
Our sympathies to Bob with thanks for your faithful visits to see your mom and to all those of those who knew & loved her.
Dawn Harrell says
I am sorry for the loss of Norma. She was such a gift of light and love. I am lucky to have one of her ceramic paintings that is treasured. She is busy now catching up with the ones gone before her, laughing and smiling. She will be missed by many and always remembered. My Condolences to the families! 💖🌹🙏
Zara Barone-Otten says
I really loved sitting with her and doing art I miss her very much.