Mrs. Norma Buck (Johnson) Madill
Class of 1920
Career Pathway: Business, Management, Marketing & Technology
Mrs. Norma Buck Johnson Madill was nominated by Lewis Madill.
Norma was born in Lovells in 1902, graduated from Grayling High School in 1920 and then attended Bay City Business College. In the days when few women were accepted in the workplace, she was employed at several businesses in Bay City and Detroit. Nevertheless, her marriage to Albert Madill had to be concealed because married women were not allowed to continue their employment.
In 1926, Mrs. Madill, her husband Albert and her brother Carl Johnson founded AuSable Souvenir Works in Frederic. Norma and Carl were the business implementers and innovators while Albert ran the tool and machine shop. During World War II, because the owners of AuSable Woodworking – a principal employer in the Frederic area – were concerned patriots, the plant was retooled to make Bomb Bay door latches for B-25 aircraft. Later, in the 1950s, the business employed more than 150 people.
Mrs. Madill’s four children -- Joan, Jim, Diane and Margaret -- all graduated from Grayling High School or Frederic High School. Nine of her 13 grandchildren graduated from GHS; five of her 22 great grandchildren are GHS graduates; and four of her great grandchildren are now CASD students.
"My grandmother was truly an inspiration to me," wrote Lori Madill Smith. "When I was looking for names for our first daughter, I came across the name ‘Norma,’ and, by definition, it meant ‘a model.’ She was. I learned so much about work, life and family from her. When I started traveling as a salesperson in the early ‘80s, it was unusual for a female to travel alone. But my grandmother had done it 50 years earlier."
Until her death in 1998, Norma Johnson Madill was esteemed by many as an intelligent and compassionate businesswoman, neighbor and friend.