Norma A. Houghton

Norma Alyce Bastow Houghton of Jaffrey departed this world on July 11, 2019.

Born in Boston, Mass., on July 16, 1938, she lived in the greater Boston area as a child, settling in Stoneham, Mass., with her mother through high school years. As head cheerleader at Stoneham High, she also was an excellent student and enrolled at the New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing where she received her RN degree in 1959.

Norma continued at NEDH as a clinical instructor for several years and married Owen Houghton of Woodstock, Vt., in 1960, becoming a faculty wife in prep schools (Monson Academy) and colleges SUNY-Oswego and Franklin Pierce) for over 50 years.

Devoted to her family and profession as a RN certified as a lactation consultant, Norma was proud to be associated with the birthing center at Monadnock Hospital for over 30 years. She was a leader in the water birth movement and in retirement enjoyed countless encounters with mothers and offspring who benefited from her care.

Her legacy has been recognized by the Monadnock Community Hospital Norma A. Houghton Birthing Suite Award which honors a staff member, and a Norma A. Houghton Scholarship which provides an annual scholarship to a graduate of local schools pursuing a nursing degree.

In her roles as mother, wife and homemaker, Norma was organized, loving and precise in her high standards for “doing things the right way!” She supported her husband’s career in higher education and later his numerous volunteer activities, often accompanying him to various activities in the Monadnock area and the state. She enjoyed music and sang in church choirs for many years.

Camping, skiing and traveling were favorite activities, finding joy in several RV trips across the USA including Alaska. She was a cheerleader for her children’s activities and especially enjoyed family time at the Sleepy Hollow camp in Hartland, Vt. Norma was a great blueberry fan, a coupon-clipper, frugal shopper and excellent cook.

She leaves her husband, Owen of Jaffrey; daughter, Kimberly and husband, Henry (Chuck) Memmesheimer, of Lee; son, Kristian and wife, Deana, of Plymouth, Mich., and son, Kyle and wife, Melissa, of Longmont, Colo.; five grandchildren, Graham Memmesheimer, Autumn and Sydney Houghton and Adelaide and Finnian Trecoske Houghton. Her mother, Margaret, died earlier.

Norma will be missed by her many community and nursing friends, as well as New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing classmates ’59 with whom she enjoyed reunion luncheons until dementia became a hindrance to travel. She was devoted to the United Church of Jaffrey choir and sang with musical acumen long after Alzheimer’s stole other functions. She participated in ALZ research at Dartmouth-Hitchcock with the usual optimism of “I know I can’t do anything about my situation, but maybe I can help someone else!” She sacrificed her privacy to help promote her husband’s “Age-wise” newspaper column documenting their aging journey. Her final act was a full body donation to Boston University Medical School.

Norma is remembered as always cheerful and smiling, bringing out those characteristics in others, especially fellow participants of the MFS Adult Care Center and Summerhill Assisted Living and Memory Unit. Her daily activity included reviewing pictures of grandchildren, and the enjoyment of the sing-a-longs. She was “at home” in Jaffrey for over 40 years, most recently at Coburn Woods as a member of Monadnock at Home.

Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, July 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cournoyer Funeral Home, 33 River St., Jaffrey.

A celebration of life service will be held on Thursday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. at the United Church of Jaffrey, 54 Main St., Jaffrey, with a community reception to follow. In honor of her full and vibrant life, Norma’s family asks that those attending wear bright, joyful attire. Jackets and ties are not required.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to Monadnock Community Hospital, 452 Old Street Road, Peterborough, NH 03458, to support the Norma A. Houghton Scholarship Fund which provides an annual scholarship to a graduate of local schools pursuing a nursing degree, or to the United Church of Jaffrey, 54 Main Street, Jaffrey, NH 03452.

To share memories and photographs, or to send condolences to Norma’s family, please visit her online memorial at