Cover photo for Norma Jean Eastop's Obituary
Norma Jean Eastop Profile Photo
1943 Norma 2024

Norma Jean Eastop

March 9, 1943 — May 18, 2024

Yankton

Jeanne was born March 9,1943, in Youngstown, Ohio, and was the youngest child of Paul and Eleanor Johnson. Jeanne was raised in the small town of Lowellville, Ohio with her two older brothers, Don and Tom (Tucker). Her dad was a beloved basketball coach who, later, was inducted into the Ohio Coaches Hall of Fame...something she was so proud of. Tragically, Jeanne lost her mom at a very young age due to cancer. Her dad remarried and Helen became part of her family. Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen and friend to all, Jeanne graduated from high school and headed to the "Big City" of Bowling Green, for college. Newly pledged as a Delta Gamma, Jeanne was invited to a fraternity mixer where she met a cute ATO named Dick...and there began a love story of over 60 years. After graduating from BGSU, they married on August 28,1965, and began their adventure in St. Louis. A year later, Dick was offered a job at their rival college back in Ohio, the University of Toledo. They moved back to Ohio and bought a house on Drummond Road, which became the hub of Jeanne’s life. She and Dick raised 3 children and multiple pets there. They made lifelong friendships with their neighbors. 

 

Jeanne’s greatest love was her family. She was the best mom and was an amazing grandma. Jeanne was happiest when we were all together...especially when that was on the beach at The Outer Banks of North Carolina. Jeanne had such huge heart for everyone. She loved to cook and entertain for all of her friends on the deck on Drummond Rd. She took on the role of “mom to all”. She truly saw the good in everyone. Jeanne loved being outside, in the sun, with her flowers. Or in a lounge chair with a good book in her hand. She especially loved walking the trails at Wildwood Preserve Metropark. Jeanne was an avid reader and there was nothing she loved more than reading to her grandkids when they were young. Jeanne was especially looking forward to being a great grandma this June and in true Norma Jean fashion, was already shopping for the baby. 

 

After her family and her Faith, Jeanne was most passionate about nursing and educating future nurses. Jeanne graduated from BGSU with an elementary teaching degree, and although she loved the kids, she felt called to further her education and go back to school for a nursing degree. After working as a staff nurse at The Medical College of Ohio for 7 years, Jeanne again went back to School to obtain her MSN and was a proud member of the first Masters class to graduate in 1982, from then MCO. In her many years at The Medical College of Ohio, St Vincent’s Hospital, Owen’s Technical College, Lourdes College and MCO School of Nursing, Jeanne inspired thousands of future nurses. She was an amazing teacher and was recognized with numerous awards, one being The Deans Award for Excellence in teaching. The one that meant the most to her was The Outstanding Teacher award, as she was nominated by her students. Jeanne was a compassionate and inspiring educator. We can’t think of a better way to sum up her passion for teaching than this quote: “The simple joy of knowing that others will share in the benefit and legacy of the nursing care that they will receive from your mentored colleagues and students can certainly be your honored Legacy.” 

 

When she wasn’t busy doing ALL THAT, Jeanne spent countless hours volunteering at The Homeless Shelters. It wasn’t unusual for her to recognize and reach out to one of “her people on the street” when she was downtown at The Saturday Morning Farmers Market or walking into a Mudhens game. She always had time to help. 

 

Jeanne’s faith was instrumental in her life. She was a member of St. Pius for years, and was an EME. She found great comfort in Mass and The Rosary. She was known to carry a few rosaries and we are still finding them stashed everywhere. The last count was 38! After her stroke in the Fall of 2012, Jeanne’s faith grew even stronger as she rehabbed and recovered. She truly loved being Catholic.

 

Another important part of Jeanne was her love of sports. Jeanne was a huge supporter of the University of Toledo teams. Season tickets to football and basketball...her tailgates in Lot 10 were legendary. She loved hockey and baseball. And don’t call her on Saturday mornings during football season... College Game Day cannot be interrupted! One of her proudest sports moments was watching her grandsons win multiple Nebraska State Championships in basketball. 

 

When we sat down to write this, we just had so many things we wanted to say about Jeanne. She was so funny and quirky, a true hippie through and through. She was so spiritual. She loved to cook. Music was always playing ...John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, and of course her favorite, The Grateful Dead. Jeanne always had animals in her life and her pets were family. Most recently, her kitties brought her so much joy. She loved Price is Right and reluctantly accepted Drew Carey as the host after Bob Barker. She was an amazing friend. She loved being outside in the summer heat and spent many hours with Dick on their deck, surrounded by the flowers she loved to plant. It’s her fault none of us can ignore a geranium that needs deadheading. She was known to snip off the spent blooms, even if the plants were not her own. The world was a better place with Jeanne in it. She went out of her way to love people and, most of all, she loved Dick with all of her heart. They were each other’s everything. They always held hands. They loved just being together. They were a team. Jeanne always called Dick her Sweet Babboo, which made us all laugh when she said it. They have set a wonderful example of what a marriage should be. 

 

Jeanne leaves behind Richard Eastop, her beloved husband of almost 59 years; daughters, Wendy (Sean) of Ponca, Nebraska, and Mindy (Kurt) of Crested Butte, Colorado; and son, Craig of Sun Valley, Idaho; grandkids, Josh (Marissa), Jake (Haley) Max, Paul, Morgan, Tucker, Jack and Charlie. And in dad's own words, One A$$hole cat. 

 

We will be celebrating Jeanne’s life this summer in Yankton, with a funeral at a later date in Toledo. If you would like to honor Jeanne’s memory, please consider donating to The Rocket Fund for Unrestricted Support (to benefit athletics), The Ponca Education Foundation, or your local library. 

 

“Once in a while, you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Scarlet Begonias by The Grateful Dead

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Norma Jean Eastop, please visit our flower store.

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