MARIETTA, Ga. - Norma Jean Bauerschmidt, the grandmother who has embarked on the ultimate journey following a devastating loss and learning she has cancer, has died. She was 91.
Miss Norma, as she liked to be called, set out on her incredible journey in the summer of 2015. Months earlier and within a two-week period, she learned her husband, Leo, was dying and she had a large, likely cancerous mass on her uterus. Two days after Leo passed away, Miss Norma was in a doctor's office learning about surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Once the doctor finished telling Norma her options, he asked her how she'd like to proceed.
"I'm 90-years-old, I'm hitting the road," she told her doctor.
Along for the epic road trip was her son and daughter-in-law. Her goal was to love every minute of life she had, and she did just that. She got to see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Disney World and more recently the beaches along Georgia's coast. She visited New York, Atlanta and San Juan Island in Harbor, Washington. She wintered in Florida and cruised up the East Coast "chasing spring."
She celebrated her final birthday in Georgia in historic Marietta Square where she rolled up with her family in a red 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with a crown on her head. Dozens of people showed up to wish her a happy birthday and say hello, including members of the Marietta Fire Department.
"I don't know what to say," Miss Norma told FOX 5 News. "It is overwhelming for sure."
Miss Norma said she never thought her journey would inspire so many people. The Facebook page "Driving Miss Norma" which chronicled her adventures, garnered her more than 443,000 followers.
"No matter where we are, when asked where her favorite spot has been on this trip, Norma now says, 'Right here!'"
Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Miss Norma!