July 12, 2021
Eulogy for Tom Norman – written by Vicky Ogle
Mom, Dad loves you and did from the minute he saw you through that open window. They first saw each other through a dishwashing window in their college cafeteria. Over the years they both admitted that it truly was ‘love at first sight’, a gift from God. Tom Norman began life in a very small town in Ohio and was raised by his parents with one sister. Patty and her family are unable to be here today but they send their love, prayers and tears to be here with us today. God set Tom on a path that lasted 80 years. He accepted Jesus into his heart in his young adult years and lived by faith from that point forward. He organized his life as God teaches us: God first, then family, then service to others. At times antique cars, baseball and golf struggled to gain his full attention, but never won out completely. He was successful in the telephone business, then in retirement he went on to work at World Magazine, here at 1st Presbyterian; his jobs are too many to list. The positions he cherished above all others would be his work at Salvation Army with Hugh and others. He was a volunteer at Memorial Hospital where he worked with Jean and others, a place where he was able to spread the love of Jesus Christ to other cancer survivors and those he worked with. He and Mom faithfully, lovingly, raised 3 daughters; loved 2 sons-in-law’s dearly and they have 3 grandsons that are deeply loved. As Dad was beginning to turn his face to Jesus and taking his last breath, Mom said, “Go see Douglas, he’s waiting.” He is their one son, our brother who was called home just moments into his life. Mom, Jesus hears your weeping and feels your tears as you released Dad to Jesus with your hand in Dad’s hand. That is true for all of us here today as we momentarily live without him while he is in Heaven. We need only to call out to Jesus to fully understand the Glory that Tom now lives in.
I will have to make a long speech short, which is difficult to do as any long-winded preacher would agree. His accomplishments are too many to list – a dedicated, committed and loving husband; a father: although his work kept him away often, he always planned ahead ensuring a future for his family; he recognized beauty and listened to mom sing every Sunday; he cherished that so; he encouraged and supported his daughter who became an artist; he became an artist himself during his waning years; he taught commitment and perseverance which led his daughter that struggled in school to become a nurse; he walked the halls of a hospital giving counsel in his waning years; he protected, cherished and provided ways for them to take care of their daughter as she battled pediatric cancer – she became successful following her father into the telephone business and ultimately the real estate business; he worked side by side with her in business ventures in his waning years; he provided a home (well, too many houses to list right now; mom doesn’t want me to go there)but he provided Mom with love, dedication, laughter and so many joyous times; they laughed together daily and shared their faith in Jesus every day.
Tom was known well, he served well, he touched lives wherever he went, when you are friend of Tom’s, you a friend for life, you need only to ask Larry if that is true or not. He was defined by his love for Jesus, kindness, being a servant, generosity and so much more. Mom and my sisters want you to know we are glad we shared him with such wonderful people. He provided so many opportunities for others through encouragement, quiet support, reasonable guidance and leadership. I’m sure each of you could come up with a funny story to tell, he was so willing to join in with the laughter at his own expense. His excitement for life often led to hasty decisions, which as we all know, haste makes waste…..One day as we were enjoying mountain sun and breezes at Lake Lure, NC, he decided to tinker on the Chrysler engine inside his 1965 Chris Craft boat. After agitation, struggles and yes, even a few choice words, the engine started. Eager to get it out there he closed up the lid and away he went. He’s smiling, we’re smiling, waving, cheering; a great moment. As he raced off, the boat lurch once, smoke rising everywhere and as the boat moved giant pieces of cotton were being spit out of the back of the boat. He stood there perplexed (show perplexed); we glanced to our neighbor, a boat expert, and he’s standing there just shaking his head; he saunters over and says “I’m not exactly sure he repaired that correctly”. As Dad was towed in, although clearly agitated with his mistake, he was still able to laugh. He had been leaning on an old life jacket while repairing the engine; when he closed it up it was still in there; it was incredible how much fluff is in one life jacket as it was being spit out the back of that boat. But he never let it stop him, he fixed it all again, learned from his mistake and continued to enjoy his adventures. He fixed that boat and gave rides to many others. He fixed mistakes he made along the way, asking for forgiveness, fixing it again, enjoying it again; he was patient when things needed fixing; he was committed to things that need fixing; he served those that needed service; he provided friendship to those that needed a friend. That is a predominant theme I think, in his life and I think he went to great lengths to teach us the same lesson. Life is about lessons and I think out of all the roles he stepped into during his journey here, being a servant of Jesus is the way he touched the lives of his family, friends and all those he encountered along the way. Tom, Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle, friend – you will be missed as we all continue to carry on with the great commission, to teach others about the love of Jesus to the ends of the earth – I pray that all of you who have known dad will carry on in the same fashion, touch others with service, generosity; laugh and carry on through life with Jesus Christ on your heart and memories of Tom to comfort you, encourage you. He loved us and we love him. We thank you for sharing this time with us. We join you in celebrating his life and his life eternal through Jesus Christ. Visitation will be Monday, July 12, 2021 from 10:30am-12 at First Presbyterian Church downtown with service to follow at noon at the church. Interment will be private. Arrangements entrusted to Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, TN 37415 www.lanefh.com 423-877-3524.
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