In Loving Memory of
Norman Anthony Barroca
Norman was 76 when he passed away peacefully at his group home in Walnut Creek on June 17, 2019 after a two week stay at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek due to a semi-conscious state caused by an event affecting his brain. The loving care he received by the hospital, Alegria Care Agency, and Hospice was exceptional and there are no words to express our gratitude.
Norman was born on October 20, 1942 in Richmond, CA, to Antonio Jose Barroca and Julia Marie (Pontes) Barroca after a very difficult birth. Norman’s father and grandparents were all Portuguese immigrants, while his mother was born in California. His family was very proud of their Portuguese heritage and actively participated in Portuguese organizations and events. Norman was the oldest of two siblings (Dolores Huth and Elizabeth Miller). He was an Uncle to Richard Huth, Tina Bango, Damien Miller, and Andrea Fay, and a Great Uncle to Alexis Huth, Whitney Huth, Shayna Huth, Zachary Bango, Samantha Bango, Jonathan Zepeda, Andrew Miller, Evan Miller, Caitlin Fay, Ryleigh Fay, and Myles Fay.
Norman’s mental impairment, due to difficulties during his birth, affected his family and those who cared for him in many positive and lasting ways. Norman lived at Sonoma Developmental Center from age 5 until last October, due to its closure. He received loving care from innumerable caregivers over the years, as well as excellent medical care, which saved his life more than once; especially when he had seizures. Norman was known to be a calming source for many a caregiver who would just want to go sit with him after a hard day, hold his hand and rub his head of beautiful thick hair. He gave love and comfort to those he encountered with an inner strength and loving soul. It’s amazing how he communicated all of this through facial expressions and gestures. He developed special bonds with caregivers, physicians, and staff. The happiness he expressed through clapping someone’s hands together, pressing your hand to the side of his head and giving an infectious smile made many of us think how words can be overrated. One physician stated that he taught her how to live and how to love.
Norman’s immediate and extended family and friends built lasting memories over the years. His parents never missed monthly visits, which always entailed a picnic at Sonoma State Park. Swinging in the playground, hanging on the monkey bars, and laughing and smiling while watching other children play gave Norman extreme happiness. Listening to music on his father’s portable radio in the 1950s was a must, along with having apple pie alamode. Norman’s love for swinging and music extended throughout his life, although in his later years his swing was replace with a chair swing and the iPod or cell phone later delivered the music he enjoyed, especially if it had a beat with which he could bop his head or clap.
Norman was a loving and gentle soul who hated to be rushed. Unbeknownst to him, he affected his family in many ways. He taught them patience, how to appreciate each other by just spending their undivided time together, and he affected his sisters’ career choices as well. Dolores became a nurse helping others, and Elizabeth became a teacher for students with learning disabilities. Norman influenced their careers, attitudes towards others, and gave happiness and love to all he met.
Norman had a special way of showing everyone he met what was really important in life. Many individuals drove substantial distances to visit Norman in his last days to thank him for the love he gave them and the love he allowed them to give back. We’d like to give the highest praise to the doctors, nurses and caregivers in the past and present including: Sonoma Developmental Center, Hospice, The East Bay Regional Center and Alegria Care Agency for their excellent care and attention to details that affected Norman’s quality of care. The love and professionalism they gave Mike and Elizabeth these past few weeks will never be forgotten.