Richard Lee Norman Sr.
February 23, 1927 – March 30, 2021
Richard Lee Norman, Sr., a man strong in body and spirit, passed away peacefully at home in Austin, Texas on March 30, 2021 at the age of 94 following a long battle with dementia. Richard is now in his eternal home, alive anew in the glory and everlasting love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Richard was born February 23, 1927 in Kensett, Arkansas to Earnest Willie (E.W.) and Nellie Lena (Babe) Norman. From a young age, Richard dreamed big and loved bigger; throughout his long life, strangers soon became friends, and many benefitted from his generous spirit. Growing up in rural Arkansas, he was eager to explore the world and serve others. He joined the United States Navy in January 1945 and served in San Diego, California during the last year of World War II. Following his honorable discharge in July 1946, Richard made his home in sunny Southern California, where he started his family with his first wife, Darleen, and their two adopted children, Sandy and Bob.
Richard held many positions throughout his working life and was a true jack-of-all-trades. He was an electrician for General Dynamics, where he built the guidance systems for undisclosed flying arsenals. He later moved to St. Louis, where he married his second wife, Edyth, and became a bulk mail carrier for the US Postal Service and taught math at Webster College. While in St. Louis, he and Edyth raised their three children together, Tonia, Tammy, and Richard, and Edyth’s first daughter, Tina. The family moved to Central Arkansas, where he continued teaching at the community college level. Of all his professions, however, he most desired to share the Word of God with others. He had a life-long, strong faith. During his retirement years in the Texarkana area, Richard fulfilled his calling and became a minister, sharing the gospel at local senior residence homes. He married three more times – to Joyce, Modine, and Dottie – and, together with them, fulfilled his late-life ministry and service.
During his retirement, Richard also enjoyed going to square dancing parties in the Texarkana area. Until his sight dimmed in his later years, Richard enjoyed reading the Bible and was an obsessive Sudoku puzzler. He even played solitaire endlessly until the final weeks of his life. He played pool throughout his life; most recently, until the Covid-19 pandemic shut it down in 2020, four days a week you could find him shooting pool with his regular playing buddies at the South Austin Senior Activity Center. Richard also loved watching baseball, especially when he could catch a game with his favorite San Diego Padres. Richard began to exhibit symptoms of dementia in his late 80s and, upon the death of his last wife, Dottie, in 2015, he moved to Austin to live with his daughter, Tonia. In Austin, Richard became an active member of the Manchaca United Methodist Church M&Ms Senior Adult Sunday School class and the Wednesday United Methodist Men’s Bible study lunch group. He regularly accompanied Tonia to rehearsals for the Glory Bells handbell choir. On Sunday mornings, you could hear his hearty “Amen” ring through the air during a good sermon.
Richard is survived by his sister, Alice Davis (James); his brother, E.W. Norman Jr; his daughters, Sandra Miller (Stanley), Tonia Norman, and Tammy Carlson (Jamie); his sons, Robert Norman (Marie) and Richard Norman, Jr. (Tammy); his former wife, Edyth Edwards; his many nieces and nephews; his grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren. He leaves behind many friends in the Texarkana and Austin areas whom he touched with his beautiful smile and warmth of spirit.
Richard was preceded in death by his beloved mother and father; his sisters, Dorothy Norman Griffin, Wanda Norman Griffin, and Mary Ann Norman; his brother, James Norman; and his wives, Darlene Norman, Joyce Ward, Modine Norman, and Dottie Norman.
His family expresses our special thanks to the wonderful caregivers from Synergy HomeCare (Yammile, Amber, Kristina, Teresa-Maria, Kimberly, Maria, Christa, and William) and Meals on Wheels of Central Texas In-Home Care (Tinnie, Carlos, and William) who helped him live a full life over the past five years.
We also appreciate the loving care team from Encompass Health Hospice (Maggie, Gladys, and Chaplain Bruce) who helped us ensure that his final days were filled with comfort and peace.
Following Richard’s cremation by Cook-Walden Forest Oaks Funeral Home, the family will host a memorial service on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm at Manchaca United Methodist Church (1011 FM 1626, Manchaca, TX 78652). For those who cannot attend in person, the church will live stream the service on the Manchaca UMC Facebook page.
In accordance with his wishes, the family will scatter his ashes near North Island in the San Diego Bay. The family will also place his headstone with military honors in the Old Austin Cemetery in Austin, Arkansas, so that he may be remembered in the company of his parents and other members of the Norman family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Manchaca United Methodist Church – Glory Bells or the MUMC United Methodist Men’s group or to the City of Austin’s South Austin Senior Center – Rec Room.
For those who cannot attend in person, the funeral service will be live streamed.
Richard Lee Norman
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Richard Lee Norman Sr.
April 7, 2021
I loved seeing Mr. Norman at Glory Bells rehearsals! He always had a big smile and kind word. May God bring his loved ones peace during this time of healing.
Sandra (Norman) Miller
April 2, 2021
When I was little girl he would sing a lullaby in native American. I wish I would have memorized it because later in life I asked him about it and he no longer remembered it.