2013-11-28 / Obituaries

George Wesley Norman

George Wesley Norman passed away peacefully on the morning of Nov. 12, 2013 surrounded by his family.

George III (G.W.) was born to George W. and Nancy (Spencer) Norman on November 10, 1931 in Harrisburg, Ark. He graduated from Harrisburg High School at 17, and furthered his education at Ouachita Baptist College, graduating with his B.A. in Business Administration. After graduation, he joined the United States Air Force, serving his country for nearly four years, traveling to Scotland and Iceland. His final service brought him to Castle Air Force Base in Atwater.

While stationed at Castle, George found the First Baptist Church of Merced to worship, and joined the church youth group, which led him to meeting the love of his life, Mona Alice Morris. They married April 6, 1957, and were as much in love after nearly 57 years of marriage as the day they said their vows. George and Mona remained residents of Atwater for 58 years, raising three children and watching their grandchildren grow.

George was an educator with the Merced Unified School District for over 30 years, beginning his tenure at Livingston Middle School, moving to Weaver Elementary, and finally finding his calling teaching sophomore world history at Atwater High School from 1965-1991. Mr. Norman, as most everyone knew him, was a true educator. He loved what he did, enjoyed his students, players and co-workers, and always managed to make you laugh and smile. It was just his way. His love of sports was also shown as a basketball and tennis coach at the high school. Demanding and fair, he also showed that hard work paid off. His passion for his students and players was obvious. He remembered their names and stories about them long after the years had passed, and never missed an opportunity to share and reminisce. He was an example to be followed.

To fulfill his love of sports, George entered the world of sports officiating. He worked games high school through college, from Bakersfield to Sacramento. He always called it fair, never letting the emotions of fans, players or coaches to get in the way of making the right call. He was respected by his peers and really just did it all for love of the game.

His final legacy in life, probably what he was most proud of, was his children and grandchildren. They were his shining stars, and he never got tired of hearing of their adventures, success and voices. He saved every picture they ever drew, and refused to wash the fingerprints from his windows. Those were “art from his little angels,” he would say.

He didn’t like to miss a ball game, and traveled all over to watch teams play. Always full of advice, he had a way to critique without discouraging. His favorite word to describe their athletic or academic successes was “tremendous!”

George is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mona Norman, sons George IV (Lesleigh) of Phoenix, and Michael (Kathy) of La Mesa, Calif., daughter Beth (Tony) Williams of Mariposa, grandchildren George and Thomas Norman of Arizona, Danielle and Emily Norman of La Mesa, Riyn, Shea and Jake Williams of Mariposa, brothers David (Gloria) Norman of Harrisburg, Ark., Dwayne (Mary Margaret) Norman of Nicholasville, Ky, Aunt Dorothy Spencer of Alabama, and cousins Veneta Fraysher of Arizona, Geneva Gay of Arkansas, Herbert Ray of Arkansas, Nadine Hammond and Delbert Eastin of Tennessee.

Burial took place at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella on Nov. 25.

George was a wonderful husband, father, teacher, official, coach, friend and mentor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the newly-established George W. Norman Memorial Scholarship at Atwater High School. Mail donations to Norman/Williams Scholarship, P.O. Box 1167, Mariposa, CA, 95338.

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