“In the end, she became more than what she expected, she became the journey, and like all journeys, she did not end, she just simply changed directions and kept going.” — R.M. Drake
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. | Norma Jean DeSart was born a cowgirl rebel in the prairie town of Mobridge, South Dakota, on April 24, 1933, to Merle David “Pat” and Alice DeSart. Her directions did indeed shift many times throughout her life, thanks to an unbridled spirit, intelligence and boundless curiosity.
It is nobly fitting that Norma Jean died Sept. 15, 2019, just before the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup in South Dakota. Why? A buffalo will directly charge into the gale-force winds of a storm while cattle will turn away from the storm. And Norma Jean fully faced the challenges of her life, reining in a marvelous soul strength to deal with life on her own terms.
Imagine her passions: horseback riding, photography, interior design, music, sewing, gardening, hunting, and being a true Denver Broncos fan.
As a poet and artist, Norma Jean lent an exquisite flair to everything she did. Her cursive handwriting, for instance, always had the right kerning, whether it was in a birthday card she wrote or in the family cabin guestbook.
Norma Jean was adventurous, feisty, brilliant, independent, beautiful, strong-willed and remarkably resilient. Using a favorite phrase of her dad’s, Norma Jean liked to call herself “a tough old bird.”
On Sept. 23, 1959, Norma Jean married Robert E. “Bob” McMacken in Mobridge. Their mutual love for horses, dancing and nature had them many times at the horse track, on a dance floor, or in a campground with their children.
Although Bob died in 1994, she was a lucky gal to reconnect later in life with a fellow prairie kid.
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She married James “Jim” Alan Mundt (also from Mobridge) on Aug. 21, 2004, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The couple traveled extensively, exploring China, Norway, Alaska, Russia, the Panama Canal, Tahiti and other countries.
If not globe-trotting, Norma Jean and Jim lived in Colorado and Phoenix.
Norma Jean was preceded in death by her first husband Bob, as well as her parents, sister Patsy DeSart Todd and brother Clynton DeSart.
Norma Jean’s survivors include her husband Jim; her children, Stephen (Betsy) Mundt, Mari (Eric Engum) Mundt, Patricia (David) Nixon, Robin McMacken, Jean Beth (Ken Anderson) McMacken, Jeanetta Vinson, Matthew McMacken and James (Audrey) McMacken; her grandchildren, Aaron (Ashley) and Ben (Julie Gaylord) Anderson, Patrick (Amber Soto) and Duke Winham, Krista (Jared) Warren, James (Chelsey) Nixon, Tessa (Pat) Berry, Orin McMacken, and Ethan and Emmett McMacken; her great-grandchildren Ava Anderson, Mason Winham and Blake Nixon; a sister, Connie DeSart (Marvin) McMacken; as well as many beloved in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
Burial will be at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Custer Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Norma Jean often told her family: Enjoy the ride. We know for certain she’s enjoying her latest road trip.