Joan Louise (Sommerfield) Norris

Date of Birth

April 20, 1959

Date of Death

July 25, 2013

City of Death

Port Hueneme

Joan Louise Norris passed away peacefully on July 25, 2013 at her home in Port Hueneme, California, after a valiant three and a half year battle with cancer. She was 55 years of age.

Joanie was born on April 20, 1958 in San Gabriel, California. She was the first child of Ginger Peterson and Ronald Sommerfield who, with Joanie’s two younger sisters, Monica Jacobson and Renee Crawford, were often at her side during her final days.

At age 22 Joanie married her lifelong companion Joseph W. Norris on June 14, 1980 at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Goleta, California. She and Joe traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and explored far beyond to China, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Spain, and many other European countries. One of Joanie’s regrets was that her illness required her and Joseph to cancel their dream trip, a photographic safari in Africa this July. They celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary this year.

Joanie’s zest for life and genius for weaving color, design and spirit will continue to be seen through her hundreds of multi-media works, which included the mediums of painting, stained glass, collage, and photography, and employed many usual and unusual materials. She saw artistry in the most mundane items, which often found their way into her projects. She inspired and encouraged so many people to find their own creative spirit within themselves.

Following her graduation in 1980 from San Jose State University, Joanie embarked on her life-long career as an Occupational Therapist in children’s physical disabilities and the mental health fields. She won the love of patients and co-workers alike, and incorporated in her work many creative avenues for rehabilitation of her patients.

Joanie is survived by her husband Joseph Norris and their very special dog, Juno; her mother and step-father, Ginger and Jim Peterson; her father and step-mother, Ron and Becky Sommerfield; her siblings, Monica (Mark) and nephews, Tanner and Zachary, and Renee (Paul) and nephew and niece, Finnley and Stella; a myriad of in-laws; and many very close, long-term friends.

Joanie often brought flowers to the staff at the Ventura County Cancer Infusion Center and the Community Memorial Cancer Resource Center in appreciation for all of their kindnesses to her.

But in lieu of flowers for Joanie, she preferred that donations be made to these kind people:

Ventura County Infusion Center, 3291 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, CA 93003 or the

CMH Cancer Resource Center, 2900 Loma Vista Road, Suite 105, Ventura, CA 93003.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated August 23, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, 5444 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, California 93111. A reception with light refreshments will follow immediately at the Parish Hall located behind the Church.

Joanie’s megawatt smile lit up every room she entered…she will be sorely missed by all who knew her.


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