Road-tripping 91-year-old dies of cancer after year-long adventure

Norma Jean Bauerschmidt takes in the view at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, July 27, 2016.
Norma Jean Bauerschmidt takes in the view at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, July 27, 2016.

Image: “Driving miss norma”/facebook

When Norma Jean Bauerschmidt was diagnosed with uterine cancer at age 90 last year, the Michigan resident opted not to undergo cancer treatment.

Instead, she chose to tour the United States in a motor home captained by her son Tim and his wife Ramie.

The trio visited national parks, attended county fairs and even watched orcas off the coast of Washington — a journey followed by millions of people and chronicled on the Facebook page, “Driving Miss Norma.”

Bauerschmidt, 91, died Sept. 30 in her bed in the motor home, her family said.

Tim and Ramie posted a quote from the 13-century poet Rumi on Friday night to publicly announce Bauerschmidt’s death.

By Saturday afternoon, the Facebook post surpassed 2.3 million page views and garnered more than 30,000 comments bidding “Miss Norma” farewell.

Per her wishes, Bauerschmidt will be cremated and buried in Michigan beside Leo, her husband of 67 years, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Leo died in June 2015, only two days after Bauerschmidt was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

The diagnosis appeared to leave Bauerschmidt with two difficult options, the nonagenarian told news outlets. She could undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Or she could move into a nursing home to receive end-of-life care. 

But Bauerschmidt saw a third choice: She could join her son and daughter-in-law — the only family she had left — who lived on the road in their Airstream trailer.

“They’ve given me a new lease on life, I should say,” Bauerschmidt told CBS News last spring.


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