Obituary: Norma B. Law
Norma B. Law
Trailblazing African American prison warden, ‘Pomona Clarion’ co-founder
Norma Bryant Law, age 81 and a longtime resident of Claremont, died March 7 in Ontario, surrounded by her loved ones.
Norma was born April 12, 1937, in Ruth, Mississippi to James Wayne Bryant and Ethel Wilcher Bryant. She attended Tennessee State University and graduated in 1959 with a bachelor of science degree in foods and nutrition.
At Tennessee State she was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, where she met and soon married the love of her life, Moody Thomas Law. In late 1960, the couple, which by then included their first child, relocated from Alabama to California in pursuit of greater opportunities. They started in Los Angeles, moved to Pomona in 1964, and settled in Claremont in 1970, where they maintain their family home to this day.
Ms. Law excelled in California, professionally, educationally and personally. In 1964 she began a career as a correctional officer with the California Department of Corrections at the California Institution for Women in Chino. She advanced through the ranks, holding positions of parole agent, numerous supervisory positions, advanced trainer and program administrator and was specially trained to lead and instruct others in conflict resolution at California Institution for Women, California Institution for Men, California Rehabilitation Center and Patton State Hospital.
In the 1980s, she became the first African American woman to achieve the position of associate warden at a men’s prison in the state of California. In addition to her professional achievements, in 1974 she earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.
But she was most proud of what she accomplished at home. She and Mr. Law were active in their communities, where in the 1960s they founded a black community newspaper called The Pomona Clarion, which they operated throughout the ‘70s. Ms. Law also held leadership roles in the local chapter of several organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, OMIK ham radio club, the Sheik Temple, The American Red Cross, House of Ruth, Los Angeles County Sheriff Emergency Response Team, and the Baker to Vegas relay race. She was also an instrumental contributor to Crossroads, Inc. for many years.
She and her husband were intensely devoted to each other for more than 60 years and raised four children together.
She is survived by her husband, Moody T. Law; children, Moni T. Law, Douglas B. Law (wife Dana), Marcia LaPierre (husband Ron), and Dr. Marla Law Abrolat (husband Fred); grandchildren, Jaimi (husband Juan), Matthew, Alexandra (husband Ben), Anna Joy (husband Tyler), Victoria (husband Dennis), Jessica, Veronica, Michael, Johnathan and Gabriel; and great-grandchildren Parker Jo and Knox. She has two living siblings, Bea Moses of Memphis, Tennessee, and Clifton Bryant, of McComb, Mississippi, and several surviving in-laws, Rosa Young (husband Curtis), Harold Law (wife Helen), Timothy Law (wife Becky), and Cassandra Law Day (husband Ken).
She was preceded in death by her mother Ethel Wilcher Bryant and father James Bryant of McComb, Mississippi, brother Melvin Bryant, and sister Barbara Bryant Gayden.
“Norma’s greatest gift was her ability to make everyone feel as if they were family,” her family shared. “Accordingly, her passing will be painfully impactful to many.”
Ms. Law’s “homegoing services” are set for 10 a.m. Monday, March 18 at Claremont Presbyterian Church, 1111 N. Mountain Ave., Claremont. Burial will take place immediately following at Oak Park Cemetery, 410 Sycamore Ave., Claremont.
Flowers may be sent to Todd Memorial Chapel, 570 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, California 91767.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Norma’s honor to the OMIK Ham Radio Club’s Scholarship Program at omikradio.org/scholarship.