Dr. Samuel Sullivan, Interim President, on behalf of the Paine College Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni, announces the passing of Dr. Silas Norman Jr., Past-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, dedicated alumnus, civil rights activist and philanthropist. Dr. Norman was appointed to the Paine College Board of Trustees in 2009 and later elected Chairman of the Board until he vacated his position in 2014.
Having graduated from Paine College in 1962, Dr. Norman passed away Friday morning, July 17, 2015 after an extended illness. Funeral arrangements have been finalized and are reflected herein.
On the passing of Dr. Norman, President Sullivan said, "I am deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Norman's passing. The short time that I knew him was more than enough for me to come to know of his great love for Paine College and his deep commitment to making things better for all who choose to study and work here. His presence will be sorely missed."
Numerous reflections poured in from Alumni and friends upon hearing of Dr. Norman’s passing. Ms. Annie W. Rogers, President of the PCNAA, commented, “The Paine College National Alumni Association regrets the passing of a loyal and dedicated Paineite and a Past-President of the Association. We will forever remember and cherish his service to the PCNAA.”
“Dr. Norman, one of our many giants in the history of Paine College, is a hero among heroes,” said Dr. Mallory Millender, Paine Historian, classmate and friend. “His outstanding work is not limited to the history of Paine College. He is one of the nation’s unsung heroes. He took that same passion that he demonstrated at Paine College as a student leader to Selma, Alabama to Mississippi and to other places in the country. He took that passion to Wayne State University where he served as associate dean of Admissions, Diversity and Inclusion.”
Reflecting on Dr. Norman’s student leadership, Dr. Millender said, “He led the student movement in Georgia. As president of the Paine College student body, he was head of the Student Non-violent Steering Committee (SNCC) and the Chairman of the NAACP statewide student chapter. When the students decided to boycott the buses in Augusta, Silas was first on the bus and he was among five students who were arrested. Silas and the others filed a lawsuit against the City of Augusta and the bus company. The upside of that was they won the lawsuit and as a result the segregated buses were outlawed in Augusta and in the state of Georgia.”
In May 2015, during the Paine College Alumni Reunion Weekend, Dr. Norman was inducted into the Paine College Athletics Hall of Fame. He played in the position of Center on the Paine College Football Team during a time when the College did not offer athletic scholarships. His family and many friends were present to accept the award in his absence.
Dr. Norman, a 1976 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, received its Trailblazer Award in 2010. The award honors outstanding alumni and faculty who have made substantial contributions and demonstrated courage, initiative, innovation, risk-taking and leadership.
A driving force for diversity, fairness and compassion at Wayne State University, Dr. Norman received the School of Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award for having served the school with distinction for more than 25 years. According to Dr. Valerie Parisi, a colleague, “Dr. Norman exemplified a notable quote by Albert Einstein: Only a life lived for others is worth living.” “He had overseen one of the most diverse student bodies in the United States.”
A medical suite at the State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson is named after Dr. Norman, who served as the facility’s medical director. His commitment to social and humanistic medicine also led him to serve as chief medical officer for the Michigan Department of Corrections and medical director for the Wayne County Jails.
He served as a consultant to the Detroit Health Care for the Homeless project and to the Detroit Health Department, working to see that thousands of uninsured and underserved people received much-needed health care.
In 2000, Dr. Norman received the Alumni Achievement Award from the United Negro College Fund. During the same year, the Wayne State University Organization of Black Alumni selected him for its Alumni Achievement Award. Also in 2000, the Michigan Department of Community Health presented him with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Vision Award.
“We will miss his rich deep bass voice that rolled like thunder,” said Mildred N. Kendrick, Paine College Director of Alumni Relations. “Silas supported this College generously with his financial gifts and service. Many of our graduates were the beneficiaries of his generosity and financial support.”
Expressions of sympathy and flowers may be extended to the Norman Family c/o 4598 Cameron Circle, Dexter, Michigan 48130. Emailed messages may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, flowers may be sent to the funeral home.
Visitation/Wake: Friday, July 24th (TBA)
Swansons Funeral Home
14751 West McNichols, Detroit, MI 48235 - P: 313-272-9000
Funeral: Saturday, July 25th
9:00 am Family Hour - 10:00 am Service
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
18700 James Couzens Freeway, Detroit, MI 48235 - P: 313-861-1200
Fairview Cemetery - Ann Arbor, MI 48105 - P: 734-794-6363
“There were two things that my dad loved in this world and they were his church and Paine College,” reflecting Silas Prescod Norman. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make donations to Paine College (Augusta, GA) or to Hartford Memorial Baptist Church (Detroit, MI).
Dr. Norman is survived by three sons: Silas Prescod Norman (physician), Joseph Wiley Norman (physician), and Michael Edward Norman (attorney). He is also survived by a brother, James Howard Norman, and two sisters: V. Elaine Sturkey and Jessye Norman.
Dr. Norman, who will be sorely missed, will leave a legacy that will be cherished by his friends, colleagues, Paine alumni and beneficiaries of his service and generosity for generations to come. Dr. Samuel Sullivan and the Paine College family extend heartfelt condolences to the Norman family.
To receive additional information about funeral arrangements for the late Dr. Silas Norman, Jr., please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.396.7591, email@example.com or 706.821.8323, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflections from the Paine College Community
"I am deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Norman's passing. The short time that I knew him was more than enough for me to come to know of his great love for Paine College and his deep commitment to making things better for all who choose to study and work here. His presence will be sorely missed." - Dr. Samuel Sullivan, Interim President, Paine College
"Dr. Silas Norman Jr, One of Paine College shining stars who will be greatly missed. May flights of angels see him to his rest." - Ed Fordham, VP, PCNAA Sunshine State Chapter
“The Paine College National Alumni Association regrets the passing of a loyal and dedicated Paineite and a Past-President of the Association. We will forever remember and cherish his service to the PCNAA.” - Annie W. Rogers, President, PCNAA
“We will miss his rich deep bass voice that rolled like thunder.” “Silas supported this College generously with his financial gifts and service. Many of our graduates were the beneficiaries of his generosity and financial support.” - Mildred N. Kendrick, Paineite, Director of Alumni Relations
“Silas and I were classmates, and we worked very closely together at Paine during the "Sit in Movement", and many more areas of community services in Georgia & South Carolina. It is ironic that I was looking at pictures this week, and cleaning out my historical items. My prayers to the Norman family & Paine Alumni. We have lost a "Giant of a Man." - Johnnie Maude Lewis-Thorpe, Paineite
"I am saddened by the passing of my lifetime friend and childhood neighbor, Dr. Silas Norman, Jr. Silas and I grew up as neighbors on Forest Street in Augusta, Georgia, during our early childhood and through our college years. As students at Paine, we walked to and from Paine together with other friends, Charlie Pryor '63 and Ronnie Beard. In addition, the four of us were members of the Paine College Chorus and Concert Choir. After rehearsals we would walk home together and when the Concert Choir returned from a trip, we would ride home together with a family member to one of us. Silas was a great student leader for us, especially during the 60's which included planning and implementing demonstrations and sit-ins on the city busses and downtown lunch counters. His leadership during these activities was significant and resulted into desegregation in many areas of the city of Augusta.
Silas will be missed tremendously, particularly by the Paine College Alumni as well as those of us who were his dear friends. My prayers go out to his family and all others he cherished and loved. He was a very special man to many of us and will be remembered specifically for the outstanding life he created and lived." - Tanya Bryant Patton '63 (Chicago Illinois)
"Condolescenses to the family of Dr. Silas Norman and the Paine College family who will miss him and his efforts to save our Historically Black institution!" - Prayerfully, Dr. Emma McCain
"The days of our lives may take us far from our humble or majestic beginnings, but what we experience along the way deposits within the deep and infrequently explored recesses of our minds many treasured memories of those who inspired, motivated and nudged us onward and upward. Among my treasured memories are my recollections of the resonant tones of a confident and self-assured young man who prompted me to give thought to what I might do to enhance myself as a person while also endeavoring to enhance the world beyond myself. That inspiring young man was Silas Norman. I, as do so many others, mourn his passing." Sincerely, Lynda (Ezzard) Vaughn Ed.D