Zena Amer

September 5, 1949 ~ March 6, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old



Zena Amer passed away peacefully on Monday, March 6, 2023, surrounded by her family and friends.


Zena was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949.  She received a degree in Education from Cairo University and then moved to London in 1973.  This was the beginning of her lifelong passion of world travel.


Zena would go on to join her husband at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.  Upon his graduation in 1980, they moved to Norman and their only child, Basil, was born soon after.  Zena considered Norman home for the rest of her life.


In 1984, Zena started her 33-year teaching career at Moore Norman Technology Center.  As a teacher, she initially taught Early Childhood Education, which helped high school students develop the skills needed to compassionately care for the community’s young children.  She eventually shifted her teaching focus and led Moore Norman’s Career Exploration Education program helping students discover different careers while in high school so that they were informed and prepared to enter the workforce.  It was through this role that Zena built strong relationships in the community by encouraging local organizations and business owners to sponsor students for short “internships” to help them discover their passions.  Throughout her time at Moore Norman, Zena demonstrated selflessness and generosity, challenging all her students to do the same.


Zena had a hand in almost every nonprofit organization in Norman, serving on many boards, volunteering, and donating to many different organizations over the years.  She organized diaper drives, collected, and donated items to agencies in need, worked closely with the Police Athletic League, Food and Shelter for Friends, Mary Abbott Children’s House, Center for Children and Families to name only a few of the many organizations that she worked on and assisted.  She served with the Norman Cross Timbers Rotary Club for many years receiving the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition through Rotary International and was nominated for Oklahoma's Woman of the Year, among many other awards.  In addition to these accolades, Zena was also an incredible baker and was known by those in the community for her warm loafs of bread, especially around the holidays.


Later in life, Zena spread her charitable heart beyond the Norman community.  She co-founded Assignment Hope in 2009, and through that organization she directly led projects in many areas around the world, focusing on the vulnerable women and children.  She began Assignment Hope as a vision to both teach her students how to start a non-profit organization and to begin making a difference in the world by serving those most in need of help.  In Kenya, Zena worked to upgrade the Seet Kobor Primary School to provide local youth an opportunity to have a high-quality education and change the trajectory of their lives.  In Colombia, she worked to continue development of the Bienstar Familiar shelter for sexually abused women and children and the Seeds Project Garden.  Her most recent project was in Bolivia at the Padre Alfredo orphanage.  Projects there included repairs and beautification of the living quarters, implementation of English as a second language program, and overall improvements to the orphanage school.


Zena is survived by her son whom she dearly loved, Basil and wife Emily.  She loved and adored her three grandchildren, Sims, Sienna, and Alexandra, who fondly referred to her as "Zuzu".


Please consider a donation to Assignment Hope or charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.



Celebration of Life Memorial
March 25, 2023

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Assistance League of Norman
809 Wall Street
Norman, OK 73069


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