Norma was born on July 29, 1929, in Nashville, Tenn., the daughter of Elsa (Walburn) and Benton J. Stong. Norma spent her childhood between Knoxville and Keosauqua, Iowa, where her paternal grandmother lived.
Norma realized her artistic abilities when she was a student at Iowa State University winning first place in a snow sculpture contest catching the attention of Christian Petersen, resident sculptor, who offered her a chance to take his courses. Her training in sculpture along with a degree in Animal Husbandry laid the foundation for her title, "The Butter Cow Lady." Norma had the pleasure of sculpting the butter cow for the Iowa State Fair for 46 years, as well as for many other venues throughout the United States and Canada. Her permanent sculptures are the cow and calf at the intersection of Highway 63 and 30 in Toledo and the "Jersey Jewel" at the Iowa State University Dairy Farm. The Iowa State Fair runs deep in Duffy's family. Her great grandfather served on the Iowa State Fair Board and her uncle, Phil Stong, wrote the book, State Fair that was later made into three movies. The Lyon family has had a long-standing tradition of showing Jerseys at the Iowa State Fair since 1931.
Iowa State University is also where she met her husband, G. Joe Lyon. They were married July 22, 1950 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ames. Shortly after graduating from college, Joe and Norma joined his parents and Brother Howard's family in dairy farming. There, they raised their nine children. Duffy's family was devoted to farm living. They were involved with many farm and dairy related activities. Duffy received many awards for her leadership in promoting the dairy industry. She was an active member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Tama.
Preceding her in death were her parents.
Duffy is survived by her husband of 61 years, Joe; her brother, Ben Stong, Oran, Iowa; her children, Emily Hansen (George), River Falls, Wisc., Mark Lyon (Bonnie), Newberry, SC, Eric Lyon (Theresa), Toledo, Michelle Juhl (Tim), Greene, Greg Lyon (Kathy), Wilton, Valerie Lyon-Neylon (Kevin), Perth, Australia, Lori Hartman (Jon),Phoenix, Az., Kurt Lyon (Jane), DePere, Wisc., and Doug Lyon (Steve Loucks) of Minneapolis, Minn. She is also survived by 23 grandchildren, Jeff Testa, Abbie Testaberg, Josh Lyon, Samantha Werts, Rachel Matuzak, Tom Lyon, Tyrel Lyon, Ted Lyon, Erin Lyon, Todd Lyon, Allison Juhl, Jacob Juhl, Lucas Lyon, Lyndsey Lyon, Oakley Lyon, Logan Lyon, Lakaya Lyon, David Cruise, Gavan Cruise, Haydn Cruise, Kyle Hartman, Sam Hartman and Ellen Lyon; and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial fund has been established.
Kruse-Phillips Funeral Home, Tama-Toledo, is handling the arrangements.*