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December 21, 2023
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J. Dennis Norman, 79, of Florence, SC, died after a prolonged struggle with aphasia and dementia on December 21st at McLeod Hospice House in Florence.
Dennis, the son of John and Jeanne Norman of Ossining, NY, was born with strong determination and a curious mind. He was compelled to continually challenge himself, seeking opportunities to learn new things. He ventured north to study photography at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY and earned his B.A. in Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute(RPI) in Troy, NY.
Dennis’ professional career spanned the state of New York before it brought him to South Carolina. He launched his career with Gannett Newspapers in Rochester, NY, which prepared him for his role as Managing Editor of Adirondack Life magazine in Willsboro, NY. Director of Communication Services for RPI was the next stop on his journey, opening the door to fundraising as Director of Major Gifts for RPI. During his tenure at RPI, he was also the founding President of the RPI Employee’s Federal Credit Union. His fundraising efforts continued as the Director of Development for Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth, in Canaan, NY. Always up for a challenge, he jumped at the opportunity to become the Vice President of Operations for Mercer Companies in Albany, NY, managing their hydroelectric plants and various commercial and residential real estate holdings. His next career move was in plastics and purchasing. While Procurement Manager for Crellin, Inc. in Chatham, NY, the company was acquired by Sonoco Products Company in Hartsville, SC. It was then that he and his wife, Beverly, moved to Florence. After retiring from Sonoco in 2002, he pursued his interest in real estate, eventually establishing his own firm in 2007.
Throughout his life, God, family, and community were his keystones. He dedicated himself to helping others work through their personal and financial struggles. Whether it be through teaching budget courses or individual coaching, he made himself available at any hour to help others. He was gifted at breaking down complex issues so they could be easily understood, allowing people to see a path to a solution and giving them peace of mind. Every decision he made was based on the premise of doing what he believed was the right thing to do. Sometimes he’d get it wrong, but God is always merciful and knew Dennis’ heart.
Over the course of several years, aphasia and dementia took away Dennis’ speech, his ability to read his favorite books, his knowledge of numbers, his ability to enjoy the hobbies that he loved; the list is endless. He remained courageous throughout it all. As destructive as these diseases are, they could not destroy his gentle character, his kindness, nor his faith.
Dennis is survived by his devoted wife of 57 years, Beverly; his daughter Sara Norman and her fiancé, Robert English; his sister Meg Mihalko and her husband, Jim; several nieces and a nephew.
A memorial service will be held at the Church of Sandhurst, 3rd Loop Road, Florence, SC, on Thursday, December 28th, 2023, at 11:00 AM. Visitation begins at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Dennis’ name to House of Hope of the Pee Dee. https://hofh.org