June 16, 1923 – October 6, 2016
Daughter of Charles Norman Burke and Ama Gladys Simpson Burke, sister of Mavis Elaine Burke, Sydney Yvonne Burke and the late Charles Norman Burke Jr.
Attended St Hugh’s High School in Jamaica and received a special prize for the French language examination at senior level. Norma was a member of the choir of the Lyndhurst Methodist Church and remained attached to her Methodist connection. A graduate of the Alpha Academy Commercial School, she served in the secretarial department of the Marketing Department and contributed to the development of Bryden & Evelyn Commercial Firm as well as the Avon Cosmetic business in Jamaica. Known for her ability to develop good relations and her excellent secretarial skills she was highly regarded by her business associates.
Norma married Miguel Fernandez in May 1971 and after his death (1981), she relocated to Toronto, Canada to join her two sisters, where she worked with the North York City Hall and made many friends.
Norma served as president of the P.A.C.E. (Canada) organization and made a special contribution to improving relationships between the members. Her adopted school was the Lyndhurst Methodist Basic School, in Jamaica.
Since retiring, Norma tried to keep in touch with family and friends in Jamaica and other locations. She often referred to Bustamante’s advice to the downtrodden “to stand up for their rights”. She was interested in the world around her and tried to keep up with the news around the world. A loyal Canadian, she will be missed by family and friends.
On behalf of the Jamaican High Commission, Janice Miller, High Commissioner passed along condolences. “May the strength and legacy of Mrs. Fernandez’ inspired contribution to P.A.C.E., including her service as President, provide treasured memories and comfort”.
Earl Jarrett, Acting Chairman of the Dudley Grant Memorial Fund, in sharing their condolences recalled that for more than two decades she supported the Basic School Movement in Jamaica. “We are grateful that her life was dedicated to caring for others; and we are pleased that the partnership of P.A.C.E. and DGMT is indicative of this committment”.