Ms. Norrell, 49, and her husband launched Mallory’s Heart, which does mission work in El Salvador, after their daughter died in a traffic accident more than two years ago.
Ms. Norrell grew up with a brother and sister in Canton. Her mother was a school teacher, while her dad owned an Ace Hardware Store.
She got married at 19 and enrolled in Tyler Junior College, where she earned an associate’s degree in business. She went on to earn her bachelor’s and then master’s degrees in business education from East Texas State University, now known as the University of Texas A&M at Commerce.
From 1984 to 1986, Ms. Norrell taught business classes at Edgewood High School before becoming a stay-at-home mother for the next five years.
She then helped a Canton church launch Victory Christian School, for which she served as administrator for the next 14 years.
She left the school to join her husband, Gary, at Ace Hardware, which they had purchased from her father in 2002.
“It was a whole lot different than education!” Ms. Norrell joked about the transition to the hardware store. “Someone asked me why I would trade children for retail.”
“After Mallory died, Gary and I founded Mallory’s Heart Foundation,” Ms Norrell said. “It is a foundation that primarily does ministry and work in El Salvador.”
Mallory Norrell was a Baylor University senior majoring in photography, according to mallorysheart.com.
“While attending Victory Christian School in first grade she wrote a paragraph expressing her desire to be a missionary when she grew up,” the site states.
Her first mission trip was to Peru with Teen Mania at age 15. In 2006 and 2007 she traveled to El Salvador and found her passion for helping the people of Central America. She planned to start a missionary operation there upon college graduation.
Today, the foundation her parents established in her name strives to improve quality of life for El Salvador residents.
“Our motto is: ‘We build. We feed. We education,” Ms. Norrell said. “That was her vision.
“We founded Mallory’s Heart to carry on her vision.”
Last year, the couple sold the hardware store and opened The Registry, a store for brides and expecting mothers to register for gifts for their showers. The couple travels out of town to secure items for their shop.
“We’re trying to bring people back to shop locally in Canton,” Mrs. Norrell said. “My favorite part is the people I get to work with, the young moms, the brides and the local customer.”
When she is not working, she is involved in the local Lions Club and serves as the Women’s League of Canton president. She also is involved in her church.
“I like to spend free time with girlfriends,” she said. “I like to shop. That’s about it.”
Most subjects for this column come from business cards randomly pulled from a briefcase. Send cards to Managing Editor Brian Pearson, 410 W. Erwin St., Tyler, Texas, 75702.