February 12, 1940 — June 29, 2018
Gary Ellsworth Norman, beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, uncle, neighbor and friend, passed away on June 29, 2018, at the University of Washington Medical Center after a week of complications from a heart valve replacement procedure. He was surrounded by his family in the week before his passing.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Juanita Norman; and his children, Christopher (of Albany), Nancy Casady (of Spokane, Washington), Matthew (of Portland, Oregon) and Katherine (of Denver, Colorado); as well as eight grandchildren; his brother and two sisters.
After graduating from the University of Iowa law school in 1969, Gary practiced law until his retirement in 2015.
A native of Iowa, Gary and Juanita moved to the Northwest after he worked at Yellowstone National Park during a summer in college. He loved the mountains, the ocean and the milder weather. Gary and Juanita settled in Albany, where they raised their four children, all of whom graduated from West Albany High School and Oregon State University.
Gary was an active member of the community and participated in Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA board, Rotary International, and served as municipal court judge as recently as June of this year.
A lover of music, Gary played guitar and sang almost every day. His children and grandchildren enjoyed the '60s and '70s folk music that always accompanied family gatherings, and his children and grandson also took up the guitar and would play along with him.
Gary was a philosopher and lifelong learner and seeker. Throughout his career and in his retirement, Gary made observations about human nature and the psychology he observed and was working on a book documenting his findings. He loved intellectually stimulating conversations that were often sprinkled with Gary's deadpan, punny humor. He loved conversation with just about anyone, as he was always eager to learn whatever someone might have to impart, from his grandchildren’s observations about grandma’s garden to the PhD dissertations of different professors he interacted with.
Gary was also an avid golfer and spent many hours enjoying the greenspace and camaraderie of his golfing partners on Springhill’s greens and fairways. He enjoyed teaching his children and grandchildren to play, and they enjoyed many rounds of his gentle instruction and patient advice.
Gary also enjoyed volleyball, playing city league for decades, and played with his sons into his 60s. He also loved projects of all kinds — renovating several houses, and working on cars, lawn mowers, and anything else that needed improving or wasn’t working to the level that he thought it should. He would often take his tools on his travels, so he would be ready should something need his mechanical aptitudes.
Gary will be dearly missed by those he’s left behind, but his legacy is evident in the family he and Juanita created and the community that he served for so many years.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. on July 22, 2018, for Gary E. Norman at the Albany Golf and Event Center (formerly Springhill Country Club).