Deena Sallee remembers her mother as a loving, beautiful woman who touched many lives. Norma Stewart was a woman who would help anyone in need, Sallee said, giving heartfelt advice to her and her friends.
Stewart, 71, was killed April 4, 2011, at her place of work in Westminster. She was shot in the head by her ex-husband, Richard Paul Stewart. She had been a victim of domestic violence for 43 years.
Since her mother’s death, Sallee, who lives in Thornton, hasn’t spoken to her father once. The 72-year-old man was recently found guilty for the murder of Norman Stewart and was sentenced on March 23 to life in prison without parole. Now that the trial is behind her, Sallee said, she can finally move on with her life.
“I feel relieved that the trial is over and I don’t have to face any of that anymore,” she said. “I was scared of all the possibilities and outcomes from the trial, and I couldn’t start my life over until I had answers. The ending of the trial gave me a lot of closure.”
In an effort to take a step in a positive direction, Sallee is organizing the Norma Stewart Memorial Walk/Run, a 2-mile walk and 5k run in memory of her mother. The event is presented by Edward Jones, the business where Norma Stewart worked for 10 years before she was killed. The race/walk begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 9, at Westminster City Park. The cost is $25 per person, and all the money raised will go to support the programs and services of Family Tree.
“I knew I wanted to do something for my mom and wanted to make sure it was something everyone can do, so I chose the walk and the run,” she said. “Family was so important to my mom, so an event where the whole family can come out and do it together and enjoy themselves was really important.”
Sallee said she chose to donate money to Family Tree because she believes in the programs it offers to families. She, too, lived in a world of domestic violence, so giving to Family Tree was a perfect fit.
“I was a child who grew up in a domestic-violence situation, and Family Tree helps so many people in that same situation,” she said.
“They have so many resources. I feel like by doing this walk I am able to help a lot of people.”
Sallee also hopes to bring domestic-violence awareness to the community through her event. She said many times domestic violence is not talked about, but there are many people dealing with the pain of domestic violence who
need help. Simply by spending a morning running or walking, Sallee said, people in the community can help victims of
“I hope this event can bring support to people who really may need it,” she said. “I can say that my mom was in her domestic-violence situation for 43 years. But I want people to know there is hope because for the last three years of my mom’s life, after she left my dad, she was finally free.”
For more information on the Norma Stewart Memorial Walk/Run or to register, contact Sallee at firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also register the day of the event.