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Norma S. Truman

Alexander Ix

Norma Smaha Truman was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1932 but soon afterwards moved to Portland, Maine, where her father established the largest supermarket chain in the state, The Columbia Markets. At school and college (University of Maine in Orono), Norma excelled at athletics and in her senior year was named to the women’s All-Maine College Basketball Team. She also served as president of her sorority while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

After graduation Norma flew with Eastern Air Lines for three years as a flight attendant, worked with her family in  the Maine supermarket chain, and spent three years at the New England Telephone & Telegraph Company. On loan to AT&T she implemented a program designed to teach over 3,000 telephone service advisors telecommunication systems.

At this time Ted Truman from Biddeford, a Maine legislator on vacation in Fort Lauderdale, stopped to help a lady change a flat tire. The lady was Norma’s mother. Ten month later Ted and Norma were married. Shortly after, they bought the Cascade Inn & Restaurant. When they sold it in 1985 the restaurant was feeding 1700 guest a day in the high season. During the 13 years Norma had there, she worked on fundraising projects for a number of charitable institutions. She was also a founding member of the area YMCA and Altrusa International. Wintertime, the Trumans went to Fort Lauderdale to re-charge their batteries before going back to Maine for another season of tourist business.

During these years Norma became skilled at other sports — tennis,  skiing, golf, skeet shooting — but backyard croquet failed to catch her eye. Her enthusiasm for croquet was late blooming.

The Trumans moved to Mizner Court at the Boca Raton Hotel. Every day, on his way to the tennis courts, Ted walked past a well-groomed lawn on which seemingly idiotic people dressed like hospital interns, whacked a ball randomly and shouted out, “I’ve got a wire!” or “First block!”. Ridiculous, he thought. But when the intrigue of the game was explained to him, he — and Norma (who did not relish the role of croquet widow) — gave it a shot and were instantly hooked.

Norma’s instinctive devotion to the sport began at the club level. While a member of the Boca Raton Resort & Club she held many offices, including president. Later she served as secretary for the now defunct croquet board of governors. In 1996, she became a board member and secretary  of the Croquet Foundation of America, a position she still holds. She is also the secretary of Croquet Enterprises, Inc., the group that sets policy for the operation of the Charles P. Steuber National Croquet Center. Along the way she participated in and supported tournaments from Kennebunkport, Maine to St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

During this period she also acted as chair of four Croquet Foundation Balls and one Hall of Fame Dinner/Dance in Palm Beach. These affairs, which raised over $200,000, have provided the Foundation with its principle source of income, enabling the CFA to promote and underwrite many educational and promotional projects.

Perhaps the feat Norma takes most pride in is a unique facet of her tournament record. She is the only woman to have won the doubles in the National Club Teams Championship three times, each time with a different partner, in a different flight, in three consecutive years — the last being against her husband!

Tonight, in recognition of her unstinting support of the sport of croquet, Norma Truman is presented with the Red Jacket symbolizing her election into the Croquet Hall of Fame.

Norma S. Truman was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 2002.

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