Norma 'GG' Tomlin

Jan 07, 2019

The world lost a Grand Dame with the passing of Norma Nelson "GG" Tomlin on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, in Belfast.

Living a quiet, humble, independent life, she passed in much the same way, on her own terms, peacefully with family at her side.

The legacy she leaves is that of a large loving family and many cherished friends.

Norma was born in the summer of 1919 to Emilie and Christian Nelson in Chicago, Ill. The family settled in East Meredith, N.Y., running their dairy farm and bed and breakfast.

Sisters Norma and Elsie attended a one-room schoolhouse near home, then high school in Oneonta, N.Y. After receiving her nursing degree from Lenox Hill Nursing School in New York, Norma planned on joining a group of nurses to bring wounded soldiers home from India, but her father would not have it! Instead, she joined American Airlines as a white-gloved stewardess back in the day when being a Registered Nurse was a requirement.

While stationed in Chicago, Norma met and married Onis B. “Tommy" Tomlin, who was working as an air traffic controller. Because of their relationship, Tommy would give flights that Norma was on “priority handling.” As a result pilots liked flying with “No Delay Nelson.”

Tommy passed away in 1963.

Norma married William Sly in March 1968. They eventually separated and divorced but often lived together amicably until Bill’s passing in 1986.

Norma lived on a canal in Amityville, N.Y.; in a 150-year-old country house ("The Stone House") in East Meredith, N.Y.; and in Venice, Fla. She continued her solo-drives (albeit with her kitty, Princess) between New York and Florida well into her 80s when her children, concerned for her safety, insisted she stop and settle closer to them. She then spent winters in her Scottsdale, Ariz., condo near Rebel and her family, and enjoyed the lovely New England summers in Belfast, near Duke and his family. Her first apartment, above Darby's Restaurant, overlooked High Street on one side and the harbor on the other.

She preferred that her grandchildren call her “Grandmother.” However, when her first great-grandchild, Macklin, had immense difficulty pronouncing the longer moniker of "Great-Grandmother," she allowed him to dub her just "GG." From there, her new nickname stuck and soon was her only name called by anyone else who knew her well.

She is survived by her daughter Rebel Pallotti of Scottsdale, Ariz., and her son Duke Tomlin and wife Madeline of Monroe. Grandchildren Tomilyn Thomas and husband Steve, Kyle Richardson and wife Kim, Christian Tomlin and wife Samantha, and Kali McCarthy and husband Brian.

Great-grandchildren include Macklin Thomas, Maxwell Tomlin, Jazmin Tomin, Stella McCarthy and Campbell McCarthy.

Also, her sister Elsie Scott Kling and her children, sons Storm and Chris; and daughter Gale. As well as several great-nieces and nephews.

In addition, stepsons Pete Sly and wife Sue, and Ken Sly and wife Marilyn, with their many children and grandchildren.

There will be a celebration of her life held in Belfast this summer, date to be determined.

Farewell, dear GG! Cheers! Skål!

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