:: Norma Wikler Memorial ::

...:: judge moria kreuger: thoughts of norma ::...
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Madison, Wisconsin
for June 30th , 2002

This special person, this woman of substance, was really and truly like no one else I have ever known. Everything about her, from her tall and colorfully beautiful appearance to the irresistible ideas she advocated, drew me to her. And, much to my surprise, she responded warmly and appreciatively to me. Physically, we were opposites, in background and life styles we couldn't have been more different. (She was my first "bi-coastal" friend.) Yet, when we were together, we reveled in each other's company, engaged in non-stop talking and shared many hugs. Norma taught me so much. Her commitment to identifying prejudice against our gender and to ridding our justice system of its pernicious effects was the inspiration for more than 30 states making great strides toward doing just that. Countless thousands of women will never know that they have her to thank for the fact that gender discrimination is no longer institutionalized in our court systems and statutes. Even from her fields of pineapples, Norma would email me ways to carry on the struggle, and more significantly, she would cheer me on with personal encouragement to "fight the good fight." Our beloved Norma was one of the few people who talked to me with compassionate understanding when I had to drop out of my leadership position with the National Association of Women Judges because I had given birth to twins. She made it a point to get to know those two new souls. She became so close with our daughter that, when Phoebe was little, they called each other "Love Heart." What Norma did not do was share her pain with me. The news that she had taken her life was shocking beyond description. She was to me the epitome of vibrancy, of a person totally engaged with life. Obviously, I did not know the despondent part of my friend. Now that some time has passed, I realize that, even had I known of Norma's compulsion to leave her life, I could not have stopped this most determined and accomplished person. Nonetheless, I wish I could have told her of my love and respect and kissed her cheek one more time.