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Norma N. Irwin, schoolteacher

Norma N. Irwin, an elementary school teacher in St. Petersburg for 40 years, died Wednesday (June 12, 1991) at Sun Bay Medical Center. She was 87. At Euclid Elementary on 10th Avenue N, where she spent most of her long career, she taught fourth, fifth and sixth grade, but her favorite grade was first.

"When you see a first-grader pick up a book and chuckle to himself, that's when you know he's really reading," she told an interviewer in 1979.

She was born in Clinton Falls, Minn., and came here in 1921 from Rochester, Minn.

Lacking teaching experience, she couldn't get a job in Pinellas County.

So she taught for a year in St. Augustine before joining the faculty at Roser Park Elementary on Ninth Avenue S. She transferred in the fall of 1926 to Euclid.

"It was a neighborhood school back then," she recalled. "Everybody knew and loved each other."

Euclid was known as "the school of principals," she said. "Mildred Dawson, Polly Jerger, Florence Malone were all teachers there who went on to become principals somewhere else."

Mrs. Irwin retired in 1963, but she kept busy, traveling with her husband, Harold, a real estate broker. And she did substitute teaching.

"But I didn't enjoy that," she said. "You can't really reach a friendly basis with a student that way."

She was a member of the Pinellas County Teachers Association, The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church.

Her husband died in 1976. There are no known survivors.

Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery. John S. Rhodes, East Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the "We Help" program at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic.

_ Some information in this obituary came from a story by Betty Jean Miller in the Evening Independent.