Saturday, December 27, 2008

RIP - Don Norris

I opened the newspaper today to find that my friend Donald Norris, Jr. has passed. Donald was a very dedicated historian, though most people would not have known it. You see, Donald was not academically gifted, and in fact was a wee bit special. He managed to graduate from high school, but made his career as a custodian at West Carteret High in Morehead City. He was a very nice and likeable person, and he had a passion for history, mainly the Civil War, World War II, and the JFK assassination. He was a very active member of the Stephen D. Pool Camp SCV and the Civil War Roundtables in Jacksonville and Morehead City, and was a more dedicated meeting and symposium attendee than most. He always had his huge 1980s-style boom box with him and plenty of blank tapes to record each presentation so he could listen to them again. He sometimes interrupted speakers, asking them to pause so he could flip the tape. He volunteered from time to time at the Carteret County Historical Society and could often be found in their library doing research on family members or Civil War topics. He had done research in larger repositories such as the state archives and had traveled to a number of Civil War battlefields in the eastern US. Though he was somewhat socially awkward, Donald was one of the nicest folks in the world, and always meant well, no matter what he was doing. About two years ago he had a massive stroke, which left him confined to a bed in a nursing facility until just a few days ago. He never recovered from that incident. I wonder what will become of the literally dozens, if not hundreds, of tape recorded presentations Donald possessed. They could be his lasting legacy to the historical community of eastern NC if his family sees fit to donate them to a proper repository. I think Donald would have wanted that, to leave a legacy.

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