Norma Jean (Quah la ta moi) (Strike Axe, Murphy) Mays, passed away May 25, 2011, suddenly and unexpectedly. She was a mother and a mentor to all that knew her. Norma Jean’s mother was Dora Strike Axe, an original Osage allottee role member. Her father was Bryan Murphy, Iowa Sak n Fox and Welsh Irish. Norma was the third of four children born to Dora Strike Axe. She is preceded in death by her brothers, Berbon Murphy and Roscoe Murphy, and her husband Paul Jean Mays, Sr., and survived by her sister Helen Moreland. Norma Jean had five children and is survived by all of her children, Jesse, Paul, Jr., Leroy, Cathey, & Roscoe.
Norma Jean was born Sept. 7, 1925 in Pawhuska, and was a devout Catholic all of her life. Norma Jean attended the historic St. Louis School in Pawhuska, along with our other women Elders of the Osages, such as, Juanita West, Paula Jo Cedar, Esther Quinton Chasawalla, Opal and Ky Rector, as well as her younger sister Helen. Later, she received her high school diploma from Santa Monica High School in California. Norma went on to attend Business College to become a secretary. Upon her return to Pawhuska she was hired by the BIA and Osage Tribe as secretary to the BIA Chief, David Baldwin & tribal Chiefs Tallchief, Tinker and Red Eagle for a number of years. She served the Osages with integrity, enormous pride and honor.
Aunt Norma, as many of us called her, was a force and strength not only to her immediate family, but many others. Her family and those that she cared for were always her main priority. Aunt Norma always spoke grammatically correct English & would correct us if we erred in our conversations with her. But her largest attribute was her unwavering ability to help us if trouble crossed our paths. Whether at fault or not for the trouble, she was there to help correct our miss steps and poor judgment and then never mention it again, always just encouraging us to move forward. Our Aunt Norma was judgmental, but kind, and again, once we were out of trouble, it was never mentioned again. Norma Jean’s sense of humor was renowned; she enjoyed a good joke whether it was on her or someone else. Aunt Norma was a true sport and jolly person and always a lady.
We have lost a modest, beautiful, graceful and wonderful mother, aunt, and mentor. However, hopefully those who were graced with her presence, will always have what she gifted us, which was wisdom mixed perfectly with her generous kindness. Aunt Norma would tell us that the universe is no doubt unfolding as it should, so therefore be at peace with her passing and strive to be happy.
Norma Jean Mays is survived by one sister, five children, 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.