OBITUARY: Norma Sykes DeJarnette


Norma Sykes DeJarnette passed away on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 in Nashville with her son by her side.

Norma was born on Tuesday, August 7, 1928 in Tharpe, TN to Harold and Marie Sykes.

From 1928 – 1941, Norma enjoyed the many pleasures of country life to include snow on the beech trees, communal swimming in Bard’s Creek, and lavish family dinners in the backyard on a cool carpet of rich green grass under a monstrous sugar maple tree.

From 1945 to 1949, Norma attended Martin College, Whitworth College, and ultimately graduated from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College all while participating in summer stock theater programs in Rhode Island, Kentucky, Nashville, Colorado, and North Carolina.

From 1949 to 1986, Norma taught high school English in Missouri and throughout the Nashville Metro School System. She was also very active in Nashville theater during this time where she won numerous awards.

In 1961, she took a year sabbatical to travel Europe by herself. While visiting the Soviet Union, she was called home by her parents after the Berlin Wall was established.

Norma married Thomas Louis DeJarnette in 1964 and their son, Thomas Sykes DeJarnette, was born in 1970. They loved to travel with over 30 International trips to every continent, except Antarctica, that included a wonderful African safari and numerous trips to visit their son when he was stationed in Spain, Japan, and Belgium.

As a lifelong learner and natural leader, Norma’s zest for life is reflected in the fact that she was President of The Friends of Cheekwood, an Elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church, President of the Nashville Women’s Club, a Docent at the Parthenon, and served on the Nashville Board of Academy Theater.

Norma is preceded in death by her two brothers June and Earl Ward.

She is survived by her son, Tom, her daughter-in-law, Angie, her granddaughter, Sophia, her grandson Jack, and many loving nieces and nephews.

To the end, Norma found joy in the sunshine and wonder in the trees and agreed wholeheartedly with Judith Thurman when she said “we have one life to live and one chance to live it in the richest way possible.”

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Pillar Foundation/STEP Program (c/o Angie DeJarnette): or Trinity Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN (

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Dejarnette family.


For more obituaries visit


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here