View Full Version : Norm Remembered

05-12-2005, 01:52 PM
For those that don't know, our dear friend Norm has slipped quitly into that gentle night.

Norm (http://www.woodenboat-ubb.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=002077)

He will be missed.

Norm brought so much to the table and even though I never meet him, I still count him as a friend.

I would like to post this here, so each of us can add the little things that Norm did to brighten your day. Things he did out of the kindness of his heart.

I'll start. One time when I was talking about building wooden blocks, Norm sent me drawings of wooden blocks.

Another time when I was thinking about buying a cheap hand plane, Norm mailed me a hand plane.

I know this is not much, but this little bit showed me what a great and wonderful guy he was.

Norm was always here with an encourging word. He shared with us, the neighborhood kids and I can just imagine how much he shared with his family.

Rest in Peace my friend, you have earned it. :(


05-12-2005, 01:57 PM
I found this some time ago, and stole it from another web site. It seems like it fits Norm...

...eulogy for a sailor
We are adrift in a swelling sea
and look to our captains
to plot the course ahead.
We speak not of warriors
nor the brave,
just those who try to keep
the ship afloat
those who know the only true course
leads home to port.
We need captains to show us
how to get to our final destination
with our vessels intact
We know the good die young
but leave some
to teach
how to prepare for a longer journey
If you sweep only the best of us
from the deck
What shall become of the rest?
The many tears so easily shed for the great
are less painful than the one
we cry for the kind
Oh, you captain of the meek
may your voyage be marked
by easy wind
calm seas
and the shining light of God's grace.
We try to return the love you gave
and hope we have learned
well enough to do so.

Memphis Mike
05-12-2005, 01:59 PM
:( You'll be sadly missed Norm.

05-12-2005, 02:18 PM
:( He was just posting last night.

[ 05-12-2005, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: Katherine ]

Chris Coose
05-12-2005, 02:26 PM
I read all that Norm posted.
I learned quite a bit from him. Not so much about boats, more about intergrity.

Art Read
05-12-2005, 02:27 PM
One word. "Grandneighbors". Told me all I needed to know about the man. I wish I'd grown up on his block...

Joe (SoCal)
05-12-2005, 02:28 PM
OH NO :( No No No No :( :( :(

I'm so sad
I loved Norm he is one of my all time favorites on this silly ship we call the woodenboat forum. GOD I'm going to miss him. :( Even though I never meet him I feel as though I know him better than I know people I see everyday. I feel awful, God this really comes ad a blow to me. I'm going to miss him so much. My heart and prayers go out to his wife and family. Please know he reached out beyond and touched me and I share in your grief.

Fair winds Norm your are missed so very much :(

Jack Heinlen
05-12-2005, 02:39 PM
I'm stunned, and terribly saddened. It isn't often I weep about the death of someone I've never met in person.

Though we disagreed about many things, Norm was one of the guiding lights of this place. A real gentleman has been lost, and will be sorely missed.

RIP Norm, and Godspeed Phyllis, family and friends.

John B
05-12-2005, 02:51 PM
Yes.. I'm still pale around the gills having read people places.
Norm 's a great fellow.
One of my first contacts on this forum several years ago now.

Joe Dupere
05-12-2005, 02:56 PM
When I was kicking around the idea of building a canoe, Norm had a lot to do with helping me decide to get the Oughtred MacGregor plans. I have not started it yet, but now I will and I'll finish it this year. Thanks, Norm.


Tar Devil
05-12-2005, 02:57 PM
Many have offered great support, but Norm was the first to respond, acknowledging and offering "well wishes," concerning Cheryl's cancer. He followed up often with emails inquiring about her progress.

Last response to me from Norm yesterday... so typical...

Originally posted by NormMessinger:
smile.gif I can't begin to express my sadness. There are no words for this.


[ 05-12-2005, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: Tar Devil ]

05-12-2005, 02:57 PM
:eek: :( :( :(

He just posted...


Alan D. Hyde
05-12-2005, 03:01 PM
We'll miss you, Norm, and we'll see you and Lamess soon...

You did much good here.

More than you know.


High C
05-12-2005, 03:23 PM
I just spotted Norm's "Prairie Islander" in the "Launchings" section of the magazine yesterday. She was wearing a full suit of 4 sails, and I guess it was Norm at the tiller. So beautiful...

05-12-2005, 03:24 PM
Originally posted by NormMessinger:
The soul as you call it is a complex set of electro-chemical reactions ...His last post in the bilge.

It appears he went in peace with reality as he understood it, no panic, no eleventh-hour fearful uncertainty... smile.gif

John of Phoenix
05-12-2005, 03:31 PM
A little something to pass some time...


Careful! It has the scar and x-ray photos. smile.gif
Here's a good one.

05-12-2005, 03:57 PM
In his Imagestation album "WoodenBoat School 2004", image #54 shows Norm at the helm sailing along somewhere off the coast of Maine.

It's a good way to remember him. Relaxed and confident with his eyes on the horizon to windward.

Edited to add: I wish he could have his boat with him and sail the heavens like in those dreamy images by Buckley Smith of sailboats flying through moonlit clouds. www.buckleysmith.com (http://www.buckleysmith.com)

[ 05-12-2005, 05:11 PM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]

05-12-2005, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by NormMessinger:
The soul as you call it is a complex set of electro-chemical reactions ...His last post in the bilge.

It appears he went in peace with reality as he understood it, no panic, no eleventh-hour fearful uncertainty... smile.gif </font>[/QUOTE]:( And I had to be a Smart A$$ in the next post.

km gresham
05-12-2005, 04:20 PM
:( We're so very sorry to hear of Norm's passing. He will be greatly missed.

Charles and Karen

[ 05-13-2005, 08:03 AM: Message edited by: km gresham ]

Ed Harrow
05-12-2005, 04:22 PM
"Have you stood by the ocean on a diamond-hard morning and felt the horizon stir deep in your soul...

But to every sailor comes time to drop anchor
Haul in the sails and make the lines fast
You deep water dreamer, your journey is over
Your safe in the harbor at last..."

There's more, but I can't see :(

John of Phoenix
05-12-2005, 04:25 PM
The "Tilley look".


Andrew Craig-Bennett
05-12-2005, 04:38 PM
He impressed me no end. A very fine man.

Keith Wilson
05-12-2005, 04:38 PM
Here's the rest of it, written by Eric Bogle after the untimely death of Stan Rogers:

Safe In The Harbour

Have you stood by the ocean on a diamond-hard morning,
And felt the horizon stir deep in your soul;
Watched the wake of a steamer as it cut through blue water,
And been gripped by a fever you just can't control?

Oh, to throw off the shackles and fly with the seagulls,
To where green waves tumble before a driving sea wind;
Or, to lie on the decking on a warm summer's evening,
Watch the red sun fall, burning, beneath the earth's rim

But to every sailor comes time to drop anchor,
Haul in the sails and make the lines fast;
You deep water dreamer, your journey is over,
You're safe in the harbour at last;
You're safe in the harbour at last.

Some men are sailors, but most are just dreamers,
Held fast by the anchors they forge in their minds,
Who in their hearts know they'll never sail over deep water,
To search for a treasure they're afraid they won't find.

So, in sheltered harbours they cling to their anchors,
Bank down their boilers and shut down their steam;
And wait for the sailors to return with bright treasures,
That will fan the dull embers and fire up their dreams.

But to every sailor comes time to drop anchor,
Haul in the sails and make the lines fast;
You deep water dreamer, your journey is over,
You're safe in the harbour at last;
You're safe in the harbour at last.

And some men are schemers who laugh at the dreamers,
Take the gold from the sailors and turn it to dross;
They're men in a prison, they're men without vision,
Whose only horizon is profit and loss.

So when storm clouds come sailing across your blue ocean,
Hold fast to your dreaming for all that you're worth;
For as long as there's dreamers, there will always be sailors,
Bringing back their bright treasures from the corners of earth.

[ 05-12-2005, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

05-12-2005, 04:40 PM
I always read his posts. He was a funny man and I am going to miss him. He was one of the better parts of this forum. :(

05-12-2005, 04:45 PM

Hurts to lose a good mate.

Dave Fleming
05-12-2005, 04:47 PM
High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

Memphis Mike
05-12-2005, 05:16 PM
That breaks my heart. I just loved Norm. He was a whole lot about what brings me here again and again.

The pictures that he posted of himself and Phyllis when they were young newlyweds, and the obvious love he felt for her and his family touched my heart. He was just the greatest. I'll miss his humor and his point of view.

I feel so badly for Phyllis and the family. Lamess is gonna have fun in heaven now, though. The party will start when Norm walks in!

Fair winds, Norm.


05-12-2005, 05:20 PM
:( :( :( :( Dammit! why do all the good guys hafta go? :( :( :( :(

05-12-2005, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by Katherine:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by NormMessinger:
The soul as you call it is a complex set of electro-chemical reactions ...His last post in the bilge.

It appears he went in peace with reality as he understood it, no panic, no eleventh-hour fearful uncertainty... smile.gif </font>[/QUOTE]:( And I had to be a Smart A$$ in the next post.</font>[/QUOTE]If it's any consolation, I think Norm would not have wanted it any other way, Katherine. Norm and I chatted some via email on occasion, and I know he enjoyed the reparte' on the forum a lot.

Sweet, kind, caring, thoughtful, smart... even thouse are not quite good enough words to describe Norm.

You will be missed friend... Fair winds and calm seas.

(where's the damned crying icon on this bilge! :( )

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
05-12-2005, 05:34 PM
Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, "Did you bring joy?" The second was, "Did you find joy?"
Norm was one of those guys who brought his own joy with him and shared it with everyone. Because of this, he never had any problem finding it either. ;)

05-12-2005, 05:48 PM
Sad news. We have lost a fine person and a great forumite. He will be missed.

05-12-2005, 05:56 PM
Originally posted by paladin:
:( :( Dammit! why do all the good guys hafta go? :( :( YOU stay healthy, hear? tongue.gif ;) smile.gif

Peter Malcolm Jardine
05-12-2005, 06:07 PM
Godspeed Norm... :( :( :( :( :( :( May you have fair winds and waterfront wherever you are. :(

05-12-2005, 06:16 PM
He will be sadly missed.

05-12-2005, 06:54 PM
That imagestation link above leads to all his albums. Building Humble Bee (http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4292123583) is a favorite.
Peace, Norm.


05-12-2005, 07:03 PM
Now there is a bunch of grand-neighbors who are really gonna miss him...

I always thought he would make an awesome neighbor.

Ken Hutchins
05-12-2005, 07:16 PM
I am deeply gratefull that the photo Steve posted of Norm at the Wooden Boat Show last year was taken with me standing next to Norm. It was a pleasure to meet him at the show and also at the gathering at Ed Harrows.

Art Read
05-12-2005, 07:17 PM
Remember when he trapped the transom of his "Humblebee" inside the setup? I believe the term he used for Phyliss' reaction was "Gales of laughter..."

Gotta love a guy who could one: See the humor in that, two: figure out the solution, and three: share it all with us!


[ 05-12-2005, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: Art Read ]

05-12-2005, 08:34 PM
Norm was the one person I have come to know on the internet that I truly wished that I knew in person. Its hard to put your finger on it, but he was just good. Offered help freely, sent private messages of encouragement to those who were down, opinionated enough to be interesting but always gentle in discussion and not personal or attacking no matter the subject. His sense of humor, love of humor, was able to break the tension here more than once, he was a peacemaker. A natural gentleman. His lesson to me is to seize the day, because I feel regret at not having taken his invitations to meet in person and to enjoy the privilege of hopefully having him as a friend.

Someone recently posted asking what they would wish others would say of them after they died. I now know the answer to that question, I would wish that people say of me what we are saying of him now.

He may not have believed the soul is real, but something that is not real, cannot influence the world and cause things to happen and have an impact on people and the world. His presence will continue to have an impact on me at least, because I learned from him and see his example as something to strive to emulate. He does, therefore, continue to exist, he is real, it is too cynical to believe that all one is is a bunch of electrochmical reactions that cease with the physical death of the body, because although his body has ceased its chemical reactions, he continues to have an impact on us and through us on the world. That is real. I just refuse to accept that he is truly gone. Because my electrochemical reactions right now are affected and will continue to be affected by him. I am trying to say this in terms he might accept; given what seems to be his belief I will not insult him by saying he was wrong. But I believe that the magical spark that a person like him is, does not go out when the last breath is shed.

05-12-2005, 09:01 PM
Norm will be missed. His humour, wisdom, perception, generosity of spirit and sharp mind were very special.

Although I only knew Norm via this forum, in a way that is difficult to comprehend he was very real to me and his personality shone through cyberspace.

Condolences to Phyills, family and immediate friends.

I'll miss him like hell.


[ 05-13-2005, 04:16 AM: Message edited by: Lion ]

05-13-2005, 03:16 AM
Come on Norm, sail with me.

garland reese
05-13-2005, 07:25 AM

We miss you Norm.

[ 05-13-2005, 08:29 AM: Message edited by: garland reese ]

05-13-2005, 07:41 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b3ce23b3127cce8f25a0d383dd0000003610 smile.gif

[ 05-13-2005, 08:44 AM: Message edited by: popeye ]

05-13-2005, 10:03 AM
Such a font of joy he was. In my life I've managed to meet few online who came through so clearly. I have never met him in person, and deeply desired to do so at the Minnesota gathering.

Rest in Peace, Norm. May your soul find even more delights in Heaven.

Abou Ben Adhem
James Henry Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:?
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"?The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


Wild Dingo
05-14-2005, 11:42 AM
Chad I agree mate Norm was someone who would just reach out and help if he could no fanfare no noise or fuss just that gentle helping hand... theres another just like that here actually theres a quite a few!!

I remember ages ago when I was in utter confusion about boats and he had just finished helping one of his grand neighbors with a 6 hour canoe and I mentioned that I hadnt seen such a simple easy design before before I knew it I recieved a photocopied set of plans from an edition of woodenboat sent from Omaha with Granpaw Norms comment "Here you go mate" and when I finally got phissed of with meself enough and finally did have a go at it and launched "canoeythingy" I remember ol Granpaw writing me saying "wasnt hard was it? now do two or more and get the "hoons" paddling maybe a couple for the neighbour hoons too" I felt his proud smile knowing he had had a hand in my building canoeythingy


I didnt do either and canoeythingy lives up in the top of a shed in Kalgoorlie at present

Norm was always helpful, thoughtful, a bit quietly ornery at times I guess but then I guess we all can be, him and his lovely Phyllis nicknamed by me as the "smiler" cause of her beaming great grin in one of his photos of her with tiller in hand were quite simply the nicest people a fella could meet.

Sadly for me I live downunder and never got the chance to meet him... nor his son Lyn nor Dave nor Das either... nor you for that matter! But I consider him and you along with all on this forum as mates and would love to have had the opportunity to share a beer and a quite {or not so quite knowing me} chinwag with him and you

To late for Granpaw... but maybe one day for the rest...

One day perhaps the sun will shine and we shall meet

One day perhaps the setting sun will see us all sharing a quiet libashun on the verandah of a favorite pub over looking the ocean blue a river a lake or stream

One day we will stand together sharing a laugh a smile a song and tucker from the barbie

One day...


Till that day comes... your a mate no worries! :cool:

David Tabor (sailordave)
05-20-2005, 09:36 AM
I heard the news last night... I'm truly speechless. Most of you don't know that I first "met" Norm years ago in the SAILING forum on Compuserve. I believe he also haunted AVSIG some.... Anyway, I've been away from the WBF for several weeks due to personal issues and to come back to this really is sad.
Bless you Norm (in a non secular sort of way!)
And Rest easy. I'll miss you.