[caption id="attachment_2863" align="alignright" width="251"] Norma Jean Prater[/caption] -Dr. Karl K. Stegall Norma Jean Prater, a beloved first grade teacher at Maxwell Air Force Base and Montgomery Public Schools, remembered our Scholarship Foundation in her will, just as she had faithfully remembered our Foundation during her earthly life. A native of Atlanta, Norma was a graduate of Westminster High School, the University of Alabama, and Florida State University. Norma chose to make Montgomery her home for her entire teaching career. Following decades of teaching first grade, Norma completed her career as a professor of reading and language arts at both the undergraduate and graduate level within the College of Education on the campus of Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). Dean Janet Warren at AUM said, “She was an expert in children’s literature. She had a depth of knowledge that was very rare.” Dean Warren added, “She was the most ethical person that I have ever known.” It is not surprising that one of Norma’s most popular course offerings for all AUM students was Children’s Literature.
Following her long and distinguished career as a first grade teacher, there was rarely any public gathering within Montgomery where Norma was present when one of her former first graders did not seek her out and thank her for what she had meant in their lives. Norma possessed a warm and caring spirit, a pleasing personality, and a joy that filled the room. She was dearly loved by those around her and served as a beacon of light to all who were seeking a brighter way.
Norma was a faithful member and leader at Whitfield Memorial United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School and served on the Board of Directors of the Whitfield Kindergarten. As an educator, Norma clearly understood that the United Methodist Church emphasized the importance of an educated clergy. She gave generously to our Scholarship Foundation on a regular basis. Therefore, it was not surprising that Norma made specific financial plans at the time of her death to leave a significant gift to assist our seminary students. The words that Jesus spoke to the woman who anointed Him with perfume 2,000 years ago could also be spoken of Norma Jean Prater, “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”