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|Posted by: Mary Molnar|
Fri March 15, 2019
|Fr. Norm, Your spiritual wisdom will be missed. The Altoona-Johnstown Cursillo Movement has lost a well-respected Spiritual Advisor who has supported and spread the concepts of Cursillo since the first Cursillo Weekend in our diocese in 1976. Your job on earth is done, your pain and suffering is gone, now rest in peace in the loving arms of God.|
|Posted by: David Imgrund|
Sun March 17, 2019
|Hello. My name is David and Norman was my uncle. While I am sure there are a lot of you who knew Norman much better than I did I appreciate the opportunity to talk about the man that I knew and the memories that I have.
My earliest memory of Norman it was during a visit. I don't remember if we were in Pennsylvania or if he was visiting my dad but we were fishing off the docks my sister and I were using bread as bait sometimes we catch a fish sometimes we wouldn't but always we would lose the bait. Somehow I got the bright idea to take the gum that I was chewing and put it on my hook. I knew that when the gum got cold it would Harden and not fall off unlike the bread or other items we were trying to use. Apparently the fish like the sweet smell and I was doing really well hauling them in. My sister yelled at me that I was cheating. Norman's response was to laugh out loud and say that if it worked it was okay. There was no such thing as cheating.
A few years later we visited Pennsylvania again my dad my sister and myself. We spend some time with my grandfather and then we got to spend some time with Norman. He had a cabin on the river, a little Fortress of Solitude for himself and one night we went tubing down the river at sunset. What we weren't expecting was the swarm of bats that swooped down over the river waking up for their evening meal. Again I was with my sister, and again she was screaming. And again Norman was just laughing. To him this was normal. To him this was nature. To him this was a joyful experience of God's Beauty in the world.
A few years after that my sister my dad and myself we're lucky enough to spend some time at the bud family resort near Lake Michigan once again my grandfather was there and Norman was there. It was a wonderful vacation punctuated by the fact that this will be the last time I ever saw my grandfather alive. One day Norman took is out fishing on one of the Finger Lakes. I had the frustration of a smart fish or turtle or something else that kept taking my bait and breaking my line. No matter where we went this devil fish followed me. Finally I had it to where I thought I could get it into the boat and I'm screaming it Norman to help me with the net. At this point Norman was fighting his own battles with his own fish and my needs were pushed aside. My fish got away. Norman Realty in the tiniest Sunfish you can imagine and I was angry. I knew my fish was a prize, a keeper, a trophy, and there was Norman floating in the fact that he had won his battle and had his prize. He saw that I was upset and he laughed in that boisterous laugh that he has. He reminded me that we need to be grateful for what we are given not upset about what we lose. I think it was his laugh more than his words but it really diffuse the situation and made it all okay.
The next time I saw Norman... Don't worry there aren't too many more of these... Was on a trip to Pennsylvania after my grandfather had passed. He had come to stay with Norman for his final days and there wasn't anything left in the room where he had lived I walked around trying to feel something of my grandfather, find a sense the man that was no longer there. I pulled the drawer open to the desk in the room and there was an electric razor and it belonged to my grandfather. Norman had gotten rid of all the other things that had belonged to his father but this item he could not part with. I was a teenager I had reached the age where I did need to shave from time to time and Norman immediately saw that this was the right thing and gave me the razor. I don't know whatever happened to that electric shaver, but I did use it for years and took pride every time knowing it made me feel closer to my grandfather. I don't know how Norman knew this would be important but that's just the kind of man he was.
At the end of my high school career my foreign language class was planning a trip overseas as part of the curriculum. Neither my mother nor my father had a lot of money, and would do what they could to help me, but this was certainly outside of our price range. I remember reaching out to Norman and no questions asked you wrote me a check. I remember every detail of that trip because it was life changing, just as Norman told me it would be. I know I Iexpected that to be a loan, but Norman made it a gift. I can honestly say that gift change my life.
The rest of my memories of Norman are silly ones. I remember learning of his life as a priest and thinking man this guy's got it made. He doesn't have to cook. He doesn't have to clean. And the only money he's past of spend is on gas for his car for personal reasons or on the cable TV that he enjoyed. I remember him riding his motorcycle, even giving me rides on it, as we went to visit his various parishioners that were on the outskirts of town. Here he was this larger-than-life man dressed all in black with a black jacket on a black motorcycle with his coattails flat behind them. That is how I will always remember him, a man of joy and simple tastes.
I have lost two relatives this past year. My good Irish Catholic grandmother passed away last summer. But while I miss her, I do mourn her. She died in the house where she lived most of her life raising six kids, raising grandkids, and making sure we knew we were loved. I've been to her house since her passing and I know she's at peace because she is no longer there. The house is empty, no longer her home, but a building where she once lived. Just like her body.
And today I say goodbye to my Uncle Norman. I don't have that many memories of him, but all of them are good. There's not a lot of people you can say that about. As with my grandmother I know Norman is at peace he was and always will be a man of enormous faith both in the higher power and the people around him. He brought with him peace and shared that piece with all of you. Why I am not a man fond of organized religion, I believe Norman faith is rewarded both both on Earth as it is in heaven. To quote John 14:27 peace I Leave You; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Goodbye Uncle Norman, and thank you for the peace and love that you have brought to this world. May that piece continue ever more.