Leola Norman McBride

Leola Norman McBride passed from this life to her heavenly reward on October 30, 2023, at the age of 91.  She was born January 8, 1932, in Sharyland, TX.  She grew up in Weslaco, Texas, the oldest of 6 children of Leo Delbert and Edna Grace Cawiezel Norman.  Growing up she played the piano and organ at her local Catholic church.  She attended the University of Texas and received her bachelor’s degree in Personnel Management.  While at The University, she met the love of her life, Jim McBride – both were active in the Newman Club.  They married September 5, 1953.  The family settled in Dickinson, TX in 1965.

From the start of their life in Dickinson, they involved their family at the Shrine of the True Catholic Church. Leola was a member of the Women’s Club and well as many other volunteer activities at the church and school over the years.

Leola had an active social life – she never met a stranger!  She loved her family.  Her daughters still look to the life she and Jim lived as a model for how they live their own lives, involving themselves in many social and volunteer endeavors of their own.  Leola and Jim were active in dance clubs, bowling leagues, loved costume parties (Leola made their costumes), dinner bridge clubs/parties, and just generally enjoying activities and outings with friends and family.  Leola continued playing bridge her entire life. She volunteered at M.I. Lewis Service Center, The Grand 1895 Opera House in Galveston (volunteer of the year 2009), the Galveston County Visitor’s Center in La Marque, and for the annual Tours of Historic Homes in Galveston as a docent. She was awarded 2000 volunteer of the year for the North Galveston County Chamber of Commerce.  Leola was a member of Keep Dickinson Beautiful, the Dickinson Historical Society, Dickinson Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (DCPAAA- recognized for her longtime contributions in 2022), and the Fort Worth Procrastination Society (a group of Fort Worth family friends that gathered for a long weekend yearly for over 60 years).

Many Sundays while the girls were growing up were spent at the beach with daughters and friends.  Jim worked at NASA and they enjoyed going to NASA splash down parties, NASA picnics and other NASA events.  Leola and Jim travelled extensively enjoying camping, cruising, pilgrimages, and just simple relaxation.  They took many cruises to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, through the Panama Canal, as well as out of Galveston and along the eastern US.

Until the end she attended daily Mass, continued enjoying cruises with friends and family, played with several bridge groups, was a wiz on crossword puzzles, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and could be counted on to show up for Marais ‘Wine Night’ happy hour each Wednesday with her lady friends.

Leola was an excellent seamstress, making most of her daughters’ clothes as they grew up, as well as their wedding dresses and those of their bridesmaids.  She also made her own wedding dress that she later turned into a cocktail dress.  Leola started working at Dickinson High school as a substitute teacher in 1972, became the assistant principal’s secretary, and was the high school principal’s secretary for 18 years.  She retired in 1994.  Leola was known for her outstanding typing skills and typed (on a typewriter) many Seniors’ term papers.  She took no payment for typing those papers but was often thanked with bottles of Chivas – it was the 70s.

Five weeks after her husband of 64 years lost his battle with cancer in 2017, hurricane Harvey hit and flooded her home.  She rebounded and moved back into her freshly renovated home 8 months later.

Leola is predeceased by her parents, husband James McBride, sisters Dorothy (Ollie) Gray and Ruth (Bud) Saathoff, grandson Sean Gerstmann, son-in-law Gerald Gerstmann, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and several friends.  She is survived by her daughters Marilynn Gerstmann of Pearland; Kathleen McBride of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Sharon (Paul) Hardilek of Dickinson; and Joanie (Danny) Rincon of Crystal Beach, TX; grandson James (Julia) Gerstmann, granddaughters Paula (Rueben) Pena, Jamie Hardilek (Shawn), Amanda (Clayton) Collins, Sarah Hardilek, and Chloe (Wil) Van Dyke; great grandchildren Evelyn, Elizabeth, Zachary, Curtis, and Margaret, all of whom lovingly called her The Great One; siblings Ann (Rip) Ripkowski, Leo Jr. (Dorothy) Norman, and Velma Dukat, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Visitation with the family and praying of the rosary will be Monday, November 6, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Crowder Funeral home in Dickinson (FM517/FM646).  The Rite of Christian burial Mass will be held at Shrine of the True Cross Catholic Church, 300 FM 517 Rd. E, Dickinson, TX 77539, on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Leola’s name to Shrine of the True Cross Catholic Church, Keep Dickinson Beautiful, or the Dickinson Historical Society.


  1. To all the McBride family we bled for your loss and hope that God cups you into his chest to relieve the pain of this time. We are always here for you all of us from the FWPS. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you. I’ve been here before and it hurts beyond belief but with time and Gods guidance and help this to will be overcome!!

    Robert Koger
    • I am so sorry about you loss. She will be missed forever.

      Susan Andrew
  2. Will miss you aunt Leola

    Marcella A link
  3. Aunt Leola you will be greatly missed and loved. I know we don’t see all of y’all but know we love you all. Always. I live in Union MIssouri. 636-584-3504. Call me

    Mike Gray
  4. Kathleen, Karen and I grieve for you having lost our mothers too and knowing how deep this grief can be. Prayers and hope for the future of her legacy.God Bless.

    Michael Goins
  5. I Am so sorry for the loss of your loved one. I had the pleasure of spending Christmas with Jamie’s family in 2021 She was quick to welcome me to the family she will be missed by all.

    Debi sewaĺ
  6. To the McBride family, we have all loss a Dear friend someone I have
    Know and worked with for years. You all have my deepest, deepest sympathy
    And love.Vee

    Vee Veasey
  7. Thinking of you, and your extended family. Ladies, you’re mom led an exemplary life. I can’t remember a time when Mrs. McBride wasn’t someone special in my life. As kids we loved her, as teens we feared her, as adults we respected her. We were more scared of her and the rest of mother patrol than Galveston green and whites in high school. This was before Dickinson had a police department. Many times Michael Thomas and I went to her when we wanted a dollar or two for the snack bar. She always made us sign an IOU, we always paid her back the next day. 60 years of memories of New Braunsfels, Cape Canaveral, and KOA camps, those pop up trailers traveled many miles. NASA kids of the 60’s & 70’s got to see a lot.
    Thanks for being one of the special moms that gave so many kids roots and wings.
    With love and respect, Sam

    Sam Newman
  8. My sincere Condolences!

    Phil Lipoma
  9. My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. McBride’s family. She typed my papers when I needed help. She lent an ear when I needed someone to talk to. I worked in the office for her during the school year and the first part of the summer too. She was special to many of us for different reasons; a lovely life for a person who was beautiful inside and out.

    Karen Gross
  10. Your mom was a stalwart lover of all things Dickinson, including Dickinson High School, and kids in that and any community. She was an invaluable partner, support, and listening ear for me in a significant part of my educational career. I loved her and always respected her advice. You have my deepest sympathies for losing her presence, and may you always be grateful for the unbounded love she had for each of you.

    Anne Coppenhaver

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