Cover photo for Norma W. Guice, Ph.D.'s Obituary
Norma W. Guice, Ph.D. Profile Photo

Norma W. Guice, Ph.D.

April 24, 1942 — May 17, 2024

Shaker Heights, OH

Norma W. Guice, Ph.D.

Dr. Norma W. Guice was born on 4/24/1942, in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Guice was the daughter of Clarence Hector and Thelma Grace Walker. She had two older brothers, the Honorable Justice Clarence Walker and Winston Walker. Norma was married to Raleigh T. Guice Sr. on 10/24/1964 and was married for 36 years, until his passing in 2000.

Norma, a devout Christian woman, is survived by her three children, Raleigh T. Guice Jr., Tracey E. Guice and Gregory G. Guice. Norma has four grandchildren, Raleigh T. Guice III, Samantha G. Guice and Kaitlin A. Guice, as well as step-grandson, Zachary Walker.

Norma came to the United States from Jamaica, to attend the University of Illinois in 1962. Like many immigrants, she had only a few hundred dollars to her name, primarily from her mother’s life insurance policy. As was her nature, she worked and went to school concurrently. After earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, her education culminated in a Ph.D. in Spanish in 1973. Remarkably, her year-old baby, Raleigh Jr., was privileged to witness Norma receive her Ph.D., while being held by her brother, Justice Clarence Walker! In addition to her own accomplishments in the foreign language arena, she was also instrumental in the growth of her husband’s career. They traveled the world, frequently visiting Jamaica, and were successful as a young couple. She accompanied him to the White House in 1978. She was a guest of President Jimmy Carter, as with her assistance, her husband made the list of the top one hundred Black businessmen in America at the time. 

With regard to her own career, Norma was an accomplished foreign language professor at Miami University (Ohio). She was very active as a YMCA volunteer and board member. She did this while raising her three children and helping her husband grow Guice Oldsmobile-Cadillac in Fairfield, Ohio. 

Moving to Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1985, Norma took a position as a foreign language teacher at John Carroll University and then Shaker Heights High School. She created the first foreign student exchange program in her department, with the creation of “Mano y Mano.” This program is still active today and has supported dozens of participants over the years. Norma was versed in six different languages, with Spanish being her passion.

Norma was a trailblazer in her field, putting the Shaker Heights Foreign Language Department on the map. She was the first Black department chair at this International Baccalaureate School. In an unprecedented fashion, Norma was called to be an AP test grader for over 10 years. Most others only serve for a few years. Even more impressively, she became a co-author for the AP test for the United States of America, high school level Spanish testing. She taught at Shaker for over 30 years and has mentored thousands of students and many teachers in her truly remarkable career. Additionally, she co-authored a book in 2007 called “The Teacher’s Guide to AP Spanish Literature.” It was her nature to freely share her knowledge and skills with others!  

Norma was a blessed and generous woman, supporting numerous charities throughout her adult life. Her most involved sponsorship was for the American Cancer Society, where she was a significant donor. After her retirement in 2010, she moved to California to help support her grandchildren, Raleigh III and Samantha. She was always present, always supporting and always encouraging her grandchildren. She was a true supporter and strong influence in regard to their understanding of the value of education. Many years later, she moved back to the Shaker Heights area with Raleigh and Robin’s family, to support her other grandchildren, Kaitlin Guice and Zachary Walker.

Norma was a member of the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Her Celebration of Life service will be at 3pm, Sunday, 6/9/2024, at First Baptist Church, 3630 Fairmount Blvd., Shaker Heights, Ohio, with a repast to follow. 

The family prefers that those who wish may make contributions in her name to The American Cancer Society or Hospice of The Western Reserve.

She was a blessing to all who knew her, one of the greatest Spanish-speaking minds of her generation and a truly giving person. She rests now, hearing that she was a good and faithful servant, at peace, without pain or suffering and in the presence of God. She will be sorely missed.

In memory of Norma W. Guice, Ph.D., please consider making a donation to one of the following charities:

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland

3630 Fairmount Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH 44118

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