Norma Mae Mullis “Gimba” Hirni, 96, of Holden, died Friday, March 15.
A Memorial Service will take place at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at First Baptist Church in Holden, Mo., under the direction of Ben Cast & Son – Wood Funeral Home.
She was born Nov. 10, 1916, in LaCrosse, Kan., the third child of Coyet Jesse and Myrtle (Rankin) Mullis.
Norma was a 1934 graduate of Warrensburg High School and in 1942 graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in business education.
On Feb. 14, 1942 she married Troy Edward Hirni, of Prairie City, Mo. Troy and Norma taught school in Bates City, Mo., until he was drafted into military service in 1943. After the war they both returned to teaching in Hume, Mo.
In 1949 they moved to Holden with their young family of three children. Norma once again returned to teaching at Kingsville High School where she taught business classes until 1959. She was then employed by the Holden School District where she taught for the next 20 years. During that time she became interested in early childhood education.
In 1971, while still teaching high school students, she founded and operated Crestview, an early learning center where many Holden children played and learned over the following 15 years. Norma spent the next phase of her life enjoying time with her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
After Troy’s death in 2005, Norma embarked on yet another project. She opened Gimba’s Books and Beyond, a used bookstore that combined her love of books with her enjoyment of friends. For 63 years she was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Holden where she found many opportunities to serve, the most recent being as teacher of the Fidelis class, a group of women whose friendship was one of the great joys of her life.
Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Troy, and one son, Troy Edward Hirni II, who died in Vietnam in 1968; her parents; three sisters, Edith Adele, who died in infancy, Erma Pausch, of Mecca, Calif., and Delma McGhee, of Raytown, Mo.; and one brother, Duane Mullis, of Kansas City, Mo.
She is survived and honored in loving memory by a son, David Duane Hirni and wife Barbara Kalb, of Kansas City, Mo.; a daughter, Christine Hile and husband Pete Hile, of Lexington, Mo.; five grandchildren, Kirstin Hirni and Rachel Hirni, of Kansas City, Mo., Jonathan Hilde and wife Allyson, of Kansas City, Mo., Anthony Hile and wife Karen, of Independence, Mo., and Troy Edward Hirni III (Scott), of Holden; five great-grandchildren, Ellen Marie Hirni, Troy Edward Hirni IV, and Christian Charles Hirni, all of Leeton, Mo., and Ellery Grace Hile and Owen Harper Hile, of Kansas City, Mo.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Holden Senior Center.