Franklin P. Norman

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Franklin P. Norman, 95, long recognized as one of Nevada's leading citizens, passed away on Monday, Dec. 19, 2005, at Christian Health Care, Nevada, Mo., after a brief illness. Franklin was born on Sept. 21, 1910, in Nevada to Clyde C. and Florence Palmer Norman.

He graduated from Nevada High School in 1929, and attended Central College in Fayette, Mo., where he met Olga Reinhold of Glencoe, Ill. Olga and Franklin were married in 1930. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife and a sister, Josephine Saunders of West Plains, Mo. Franklin is survived by a daughter, Katherine Stubbs and her husband Fred of Petaluma, Calif.; two grandchildren, Cynthia Wigner, Santa Rosa, Calif., and William Stubbs, Newport, Wash.; two great-grandsons; one great-great grandson; a sister, Margaret Martin, Columbia, Mo., as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Franklin served in the United States Army during World War II with the 76 Infantry Division in the European Theatre. He served in a special troop medical detachment and commented that he fought his way across Europe with a portable typewriter.

He started his career with the W.F. Norman Company as a young boy doing summer jobs. The company had been founded by his grandfather. Franklin rose to the presidency of the company and upon his retirement sold it to Robert Quitno in 1978. The company continues today as one of the oldest and most successful businesses in Nevada's history.

Franklin served terms on the hospital board and library board as well as being active in the Vernon County Historical Society, the Nevada Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Country Club. In 1952 he was citizen of the year, an honor that was repeated in 2004 by the Chamber of Commerce when he was the first recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Community Champion Award based on his many activities focused upon the overall improvement of the city of Nevada.

In 1946 Norman was the leader of a campaign for the present council-manager form of government. Later in 1979 he was vice chairman of the commission which wrote the City Charter which is used to this day.

As a member of All Saints Episcopal Church, he formerly served as treasurer and senior warden.

Franklin spearheaded numerous projects and movements in recent years. He was instrumental in the creation of the local YMCA, and was responsible for a much needed elevator having been installed in the Vernon County Court House. It was dubbed the "Franklin Flyer" to honor his effort. When he noticed that the William Joel Stone Memorial on the courthouse lawn had become run down, he took it upon himself to get it in shape. Through months of research he found that the state of Missouri owned the monument and was responsible for its upkeep. Initially, the state was not enthusiastic about spending the money necessary to fulfill their obligations but faced with the gentle but unending persuasion of Franklin Norman, the state refurbished the town jewel.

Most recently he has campaigned for the modernization of the county form of government in the state of Missouri and he has been intensely interested in the new community center.

His almost daily advice to the city and county officials as well as to members of the 9 o'clock, Coffee Club (of which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary and of which he was a founding member) will be greatly missed.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 23, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with the Rev. James McNeley officiating. Interment will follow in Newton Burial Park, Nevada. Friends may call now and until the hour of service at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada. The family will receive friends from 7-8 p.m., on Thursday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Olga Reinhold Norman Music Fund at Cottey College in care of the funeral home.

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