Olson Burke-Sullivan Funeral And Cremation Center

Obituary Detail

November 03, 1931 February 18, 2023
November 03, 1931 -- February 18, 2023

Norma Espinal Paguaga, Age:91

Dr. Norma Espinal Paguaga passed away peacefully in her home on February 18, 2023.  The eldest of 13 siblings, Norma was born in Chinandega, Nicaragua, to parents Carmen and Alcides Espinal. She attended medical school in Leon, Nicaragua, and graduated in 1959 to become the first female doctor from her hometown of Chinandega.  That same year, in her late twenties, Norma (along with her soon-to-be husband, Gonzalo Paguaga) emigrated to the United States to pursue a medical career unencumbered by the political constraints she faced in her home country.

Upon arriving in the United States, Norma was relentless in achieving her professional goals and fulfilling her dream of working as a physician, eventually completing her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and receiving her license to practice as a Physician and Surgeon in the State of Illinois in 1971. Norma would go on to join the medical staff at a number of Chicago-area hospitals, including Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, as an attending physician and practice medicine for well over four decades in the Chicagoland area.  She was adored by her patients and hospital staff, respected by colleagues and revered by young interns and residents. 

Norma had a thriving private practice, most recently in Little Village where she provided essential healthcare to women in the Latino community. She brought joy to many families, safely delivering their babies into this world. Norma’s passion and dedication to her patients was the driving force that sustained her and gave her vocational life purpose. In 2010, at age 78, Norma retired due to mounting health issues. She always said she missed her patients and practicing medicine, and would have continued working as long as her body and mind allowed it.

In addition to her professional life, Norma was the Matriarch of her family- a devoted hija, a supportive and exemplary hermana to her younger siblings, a loving, perfect madre to Nestor Paguaga and Sandra Paguaga Lovestrand, the cherished, doting abuelita (aka “Karate Tita”) to Jake and Tristan Lovestrand, a generous and inspirational tía to numerous nieces and nephews, and a loyal and caring amiga to so many others.


Norma had a “Larger than life” presence.

A wonderful blend of:

intelligence & compassion

music & humor 

exuberance & reflection

song & smile 

At once:

smart & silly

radiant & ridiculous

sweet & sassy 

elegant & energetic 



patient with her patients 

attendant to her residents 

present with her friends 

attentive to her family 

Her welcome mat invited many 

Her door always open 

Her home provided care & comfort 

Her love unconditional

She was one of a kind 

A great, great lady 

Her legacy casts far & wide 

She belongs to the ages now. 

Family is planning a Celebration of Norma's Life for a later date.  Please check this site for information as it becomes available.