CHRISMAN — The remarkable, stubborn and ornery Robert (Bob) C. Norman played his last inning in life Saturday (July 10, 2021) four days after celebrating his 89th birthday.
Bob was born during the Depression to Carlos Norman (deceased) and LaVerne McNeese Norman (deceased) on July 6, 1932, in Dekalb County. Eventually, they moved to a farm in Indianola. Life was tough on the farm for Bob; his older sister, Barbara Powell-Whitlock (deceased); and younger brothers, William (Sharilyn) Norman of Sidell, Benny Norman (Deceased) and Richard (Susie) Norman of Covington, Ind.
Many years later, he married the love of his life, Nancy Tate Norman, on June 2, 1963, and she survives. They were blessed with three children, Melynda (Chuck) Wooten of Paris, Michale (Jean) Norman of Colorado Springs and Mychele (Rick) Wofford of Memphis. The apples of his eye were his 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Annie (Nathan) Barrett and daughter Meredith; Abbie (Reese) Higginbotham and son Nash; Allyson (Blake) Marrs and sons Will and Mason, Austin, Adam, Abram, Ariel Norman and Bross Phelps-Norman; Katy (Aaron) Masters and Kendyl (Jacob) Wear and sons James and Benjamin.
After family, Bob’s second passion in life was sports. He “beat the hardwood for over 30 years.” His basketball career started in grade school and led him to playing for traveling AAU teams. A gentleman years later remarked that Dad was the “fastest squirt on the floor.” Bob continued playing basketball as an adult. He played against the Harlem Globetrotters' farm team twice. Bob let them win by one point. He also played for the Danville Hillpackers and Dossey’s Conoco for many years.
The Army found Bob in 1952. He won a trip to Korea by way of California and Hawaii. He played basketball the entire time until he was sent into combat 17 months and to the front line for 22 days. Those days changed Bob, and he never talked about them until he was well over 60. In 1954, Bob’s duffle bag was stolen on the way home, so we never knew what accolades he earned. According to his discharge papers, he received the Good Conduct Medal, the Korean Service Medal/Bronze Service Star, United Nations Service Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge and the National Defense Service Medal. Many years later, in 2015, he was lucky enough to fly on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. There he found his picture etched into the Korean War Memorial.
Bob also excelled in fast-pitch softball. As kids we can remember sitting in the back seat of the Lincoln, running 100 miles per hour, trying to make it to softball games on time. As a pitcher, his teams won many tournaments and leagues in Danville and Paris. His teams played the four-man team, The King and His Court, two times. Bob would say later that Eddie Feigner was the best player he had ever seen. Bob also bowled every Monday night for 31 years. He loved a mean card game, and he can still be heard at the euchre table asking, “Did you come here to pass or play?”
Bob did have a job, it was farming. He loved building fences, repairing machinery, a pair of fresh-washed gloves and a Mountain Dew. Agriculture to him was a way of life, and when that livelihood was threatened in July 1969, he joined other farmers in the United Grain Farmers of America Tractor Drive to Washington, D.C. He also appeared in various farm magazines for his many agricultural accomplishments. On the farm they also raised Spotted Poland China pigs, and over the years he won many state and national awards in the swine industry and was inducted into the National Spotted Record Hall of Fame. Bob was still not busy enough, so before retiring, he was instrumental in getting the black and red angus cattle herd started on the farm, and his love of agriculture led him to serve on the Georgetown Fair Board for several years.
Bob was a member of Chrisman Christian Church, where he served on the church board and was a deacon. God has put this soldier, athlete and farmer to rest. Your work on Earth is completed, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
For those who wish, the family suggests memorials be made to Crown Hill Cemetery, Ridge Farm, or Woodlawn Cemetery, Indianola.
Funeral services for Mr. Norman will be conducted at noon Friday, July 16, at Chrisman Christian Church, Chrisman. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until service time at the church. Burial will follow in Crown Hill Cemetery, Ridge Farm. Military honors will be provided by the Georgetown American Legion. Templeton Funeral Home, Paris, is in charge of the arrangements.
Please consider sharing a memory, photo or condolence with Bob’s family on his tribute wall at templetonfuneralhome.com.