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Norma Ellen Foote

Obituary for Norma Ellen Foote

July 27, 1942 - August 18, 2017
Strongsville, Ohio | Age 75

Dear Wife, Loving & Respected Teacher, and Cherished Friend of Many.


Norma Ellen Foote, award-winning teacher, editor emeritus of CDC Gaming Reports and wife of publisher Jeffrey W. Compton, died on Friday, August 18, 2017 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 75. Foote had been a resident of the Kemper House residential care facility in Strongsville, Ohio for the past four years, and passed away there.

A direct descendant of one of the original settlers of Cleveland, Foote taught English and humanities at the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School for thirty years; for twenty of those years, she was chair of the English Department. Emblematic of her commitment to fidelity in education, when she took over the English Department in 1974, the former chair had only been teaching Honors and AP classes. Norma immediately assigned herself Freshman General English and then, while still teaching Senior AP English, assigned The Great Gatsby to both classes. "The freshmen figured out Daisy Buchanan quickly," she said, many years later; "it took a while for the seniors." She also refused to teach the expurgated Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, explaining that "the story doesn't work unless you see Jim move from denigrated property to hero."

In the mid-1980s, she took over full teaching responsibility for the school's poorly-subscribed Humanities course, formerly taught by four teachers; within a year the school had to schedule an additional section due to over-registration.

"My wife was a strong believer in the accessibility of the arts," said Compton, "and that humanities education is all about inclusion, not snobbery."

Among her many honors were Teacher of the Year from the Brecksville School System and Commended Teacher from the State of Ohio.

Foote grew up in the historic Stephen Frazee House, built in 1826, one of the two earliest brick houses in Ohio's lower Cuyahoga Valley. The house was owned by her parents, Forest and Agnes Foote. Her mother, Agnes, worked with the Valley View Historical Society to save the building; in 1977, it was incorporated into the boundaries of the newly formed Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The house is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Foote graduated from Cuyahoga Heights High School in 1960, in a senior class numbering 30 students, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies in 1963, a Bachelor of Education degree in 1964, and a Masters of Arts degree in 1965, all from Bowling Green State University. Many years later, she got a special achievement certificate from Swing University, the higher education program at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Starting in 1965, Foote taught for three years at the junior high level in the Maple Heights School system. At the suggestion of Helen Fitting, a close family friend and the long-time chair of the English Department, Foote joined the faculty of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in 1968. Six years later, at the age of 32, she succeeded Fitting as the English Department chair. She retired in 1998.

In 2002, Foote became an editor and writing coach at what was then CDC Consulting (now CDC Gaming Reports), at the request of Jeffrey Compton, a former student. She went on to edit Playback, a player-written, management-directed newsletter for the gaming industry, and also served as a session moderator at the 2003 and 2004 Global Gaming Expos (G2Es) in Las Vegas.

Norma was an editor for Compton's Arts America project, which involved both a 2009 book and, from 2010-2012, a comprehensive website covering art museums, theater, dance, and music venues and festivals in more than 90 U.S. cities. She and Jeffrey were married in 2011. She is survived by her husband Jeffrey.

A private remembrance will be held, followed by the private interment of Norma's cremated remains at the Foote Family Cemetery in Brooklyn Heights, Ohio on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Cremation by Busch Crematory, Parma, Ohio.


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