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Opinion: Another friend lost

It is with a heavy heart I return to this space to mourn the passing of another friend from high school. For the second time in as many weeks, a person with a positive influence on my young life has passed on.

Norma “Younger,” Jantzen, 81, died on April 30.

She was my first journalism professor. She is the one who initially taught me the ways of the profession and the art and beauty of features and profiles.

She served as Madera High School’s journalism teacher and faculty advisor for the award-winning high school newspaper The Maderan until 1970. She left teaching at the beginning of my sophomore year on maternity leave. In the mid-1980s, she taught a variety of adult extension classes including journalism and introduction to computer science.

Not only did she teach me how to write news and feature stories she taught me to operate a personal computer.

Through the years, we became good friends. As native Maderans we shared a bond and a history other people born and raised here understand. We both decided to make our lives here when a whole big world beckoned.

Norma raised her family here after marrying Bill Jantzen 62 years ago. He taught agriculture while she taught language arts classes at their high school alma mater. They parented three children, sons Greg and Chris and their daughter Tracy Jantzen.

I owe her a deep debt of gratitude for the knowledge that led to my career with The Madera Tribune. She recognized I had an aptitude for this job and encouraged and nurtured it.

The Tribune is my second act vocation and I am always grateful to have found my voice and a place to exercise it. She heard and identified it first and endeavored to teach me the proper way to use it. The parts I get right, credit her and the ones I get wrong, blame me.

Dear friend, you are missed by all who love you and we will meet up again one day.

Memorial contributions in Norma’s name may be made to the Madera Avenue Bible Church, 124 Walnut St., Madera, CA 93637.

On a lighter note, the Friends of Madera County Library will benefit from Sunday’s Odd Fellow Lodge breakfast. Served 7 to 11 a.m. at 14862 Road 29, the menu is pancakes, eggs to order, sausage or ham, coffee, tea, milk and orange juice, $6 per person. A White Elephant Raffle will be a part of the festivities. Proceeds benefiting Madera County Library.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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