Beloved Aramark staff member, Norma Jean Currie, passed away on Jan. 1 outside her home near Mactaquac, New Brunswick.
The news came as a terrible shock to many students and staff, but none more so than first-year international student Ruth Hadgu.
Only a few days before Currie’s death, Hadgu had celebrated Christmas with her. Her death was entirely “unexpected,” said Hadgu, fighting back tears.
Currie personally invited Hadgu to a friend’s party after hearing that Hadgu, from Ethiopia, was not going home for the holidays. Currie picked her up in the snow, set her a place with her name at the dinner table and even got her a present for Christmas.
For most people this would be considered an extraordinarily kind gesture, but for Currie it was just another example of how she lived every day.
Long-time friend and co-worker Brian Scott said Currie “was always there for you,” and Aramark porter Burton Beach described her as a “compassionate listener.”
Currie’s warm heart was felt by the students as well. As the staff member who usually worked at the entrance of the George Martin Hall cafeteria, Currie would greet all those who walked in.
Hannah Zamora, who has lived in residence and eaten in the cafeteria for four years, said Currie was always there to wish you a good day.
Third-year student Anisha Romany argreed.
“She was very friendly and really approachable,” said Romany.
“[She was] really easy to talk to.”
Looking out for students
Currie was known to take a special interest in student’s diets. First-year student Diana Chávez said that Currie would occasionally “give us extra [food]” if she thought people weren’t eating enough.
Currie was always concerned that specific dietary needs were being met. She kept up with vegetarian and vegan students to make sure there was something for them, and to let them know what they could eat on a daily basis.
Currie’s presence at STU was undeniable.
“[She’s] a name that was well-known,” Romany said.
And so too has been her absence.
“You feel a little something missing,” Chávez said.
For students, Currie’s passing has made them reflect on their own lives, and especially their interactions with others.
“[Her death] makes you think about the influence people have on you,” said Zamora.
“It’s all about appreciating the people around you in whatever capacity,” Romany said.
As for the Aramark staff, Beach said they were “completely shocked” by the news of Currie’s death, and that many have felt it hard to go on at times.
But Beach said, “She wouldn’t have wanted us to live in a self-pity world.”
Just two summers ago, Currie returned to work shortly after having her hip replaced.
“Nothing would keep her down,” said Beach. “She was a fighter.”
Now, in Currie’s honour, students and staff alike are continuing the fight without her.
Currie is survived by her mother, brothers, extended family and her beloved cats, Scouter and Mittens.
A small service for Currie will be held at STU in the Holy Cross House Chapel Friday. Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. for students and staff who want to attend.
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