Norman, Harold James Age 97 Harold James Norman died peacefully in Phoenix AZ on September 24, 2019 just a few weeks shy of his 98th birthday. Harold was always proud to proclaim that he was born, raised and lived almost his entire life in Omaha, NE, except for a brief stint with the Army Air Corps in India during World War II and almost three years in Phoenix. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 55 years, Dorothy, and is survived by his two daughters, Susan (Phoenix AZ) and Naomi (Athens GA), as well as her husband Keith Dix and their son and daughter-in-law William Dix and Emily Andrews (Albuquerque NM). Harold was an exceptional husband, father, friend, and human being. Dorothy loved that he woke up every day with a smile on his face and found something to laugh about every hour of the day until he fell asleep at night. He collected friends like others collect pocket watches (and he collected those too) and, like items in a valued collection, he kept those friends close forever. If Harold met you once, he got to know you and remembered you and you remembered him. Though often the shortest man in the room, he was always the largest in spirit. In his 70s, he learned how to use a computer and wrote his memoirs, a hilarious and poignant record of his life from his days as an altar boy, to his time in India where he saw neither enemy action nor the Taj Mahal (he and his friends stopped at a bar instead), to his attempt at hula dancing, and his other adventures. He was a respected businessman and public servant in Omaha. He worked his entire career for the Union Stock Yards Company (regardless of its numerous name changes), beginning at the age of 20 as a clerk and retiring at age 65 as its Secretary-Treasurer. He loved that old building in South Omaha at 24th and L where men closed deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with a mere handshake and a beer. As an accountant he worked with numbers and figures every day (and could accurately add a long column of numbers in his head up to the end), but he discovered later in life that he had a real knack and love for history. When the Stock Yards celebrated its 100th anniversary, Harold undertook the task of writing a book detailing that history. With that project, the history bug bit him and bit him hard. That love took him to the Douglas County Historical Society rummaging through the archives and putting in volunteer hours there and elsewhere after his official retirement. He loved good food and drink (perhaps not "good drink" because his beverage of choice was Schlitz beer!). That love led him to another career after he retired from the Stock Yards as the Executive Director of the Omaha Restaurant Association (ORA). For many years, he answered the phone, kept the accounts, published the newsletter and raised scholarship funds for the organization. He was honored that he was inducted into the ORA Hall of Fame and extremely proud that the ORA established a scholarship for him and Dorothy in recognition of all that they did. He was a father figure to many who needed one, and his daughters were proud to call him Dad. They remember his boisterous cry of "rise and shine" every day as he woke them up for school to his more recent "you can't worry about that stuff" and everything in between. He was a joyful and supportive father. Although he preferred pet-free zones, he happily came to visit them despite the fact that both daughters own gigantic Bernese Mountain dogs (especially Susan). His last years were spent with Susan to her great joy, accompanying her on many occasions. Harold's family thanks the medical and support staffs at Hospice of the Valley for their compassion and wonderful care during his last months. SERVICE: Friday, October 18, at 11am, at the West Valley Chapel of the Best Funeral Services, 9380 W Peoria Avenue, Peoria AZ 85345. Memorials can be given to Hospice of the Valley (https://www.hov.org/), to the AZ Humane Society (https://www.azhumane.org/), or to the Harold Norman Culinary Arts and Hospitality Scholarship fund (https://webapps.mccneb.edu/waystogive/Give/) select scholarship, Culinary Arts & Horticulture, then Harold Norman scholarship. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN MORTUARIES AND CREMATORY 72nd STREET CHAPEL, 1010 N 72nd Street (402) 391-1664 | www.johnagentleman.com
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