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Layne Norman

1920 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Layne Norman Obituary
Layne Norman

1920 - 2013

Elmer Layne Norman passed away on October 27, at age 93. Born in Whitney, Nebraska on May 7, 1920, his grandparents emigrated from Sweden and homesteaded ranchland in the 1880's. Layne grew up on this ranch and was adept at handling horses as well as wayward cattle and sheep. Fields of oats, wheat, alfalfa and hay were cultivated and the hazards of wind, hail, blizzard and drought were a part of everyday life. He attended a single room elementary school on a windswept knoll while secondary education was a horse ride away. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and insect plagues that devoured crops throughout the United States were all integral parts of his childhood.

After graduating from Chadron State Teachers College, he married Verda DeLand, a fellow student, in 1940. They came of age with The Greatest Generation and Layne learned to fly through the Civilian Air Training Program. The Navy soon called him for WWII and he arrived in Pensacola, Florida as an officer and a flight instructor.

He served with the highest distinction during that tour of duty and decided to return to civilian life. He was called again to serve as a pilot and instructor for the Korean conflict in the 1950's. Throughout his military service, his meticulous attention to detail made him a valued instructor with an exemplary safety record and he touched the lives of hundreds of young pilots who came to the Florida panhandle for flight training. Life as an instructor continued for Layne following retirement from the military as he completed graduate education at Florida State University and practiced as a science teacher at local secondary schools.

In his off hours, Layne enjoyed music, singing and dancing. He was a member of the Wesley Fellowship Class at First Methodist Church for many years. Bridge was a favorite pastime shared with friends, and he was a master gardener. Hybrid tea roses were a specialty and every lily and hydrangea received its due with his nurturing hand. The home on Perdido Bay was the site of many family gatherings over the decades, and his spirit of fierce independence and family loyalty echo with those who shared life's journey with him.

Layne was preceded in death by Verda DeLand, his wife of 70 years, as well as his eldest son, Eldon L. Norman, and four siblings. His children and their spouses include Max and Nancy Norman of Pensacola, Judy and Kim Davis of New York City and daughter-in-law, Jean Norman of Pensacola.

Layne's six grandchildren and four great grandchildren will take forward the very best of Layne's legacy.

Services will be held on Saturday, November 2, at First United Methodist Church at 2:30 pm. The family will host a private burial later that afternoon at Eastern Gate Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Eldon L. Norman Scholarship Fund at Pensacola State College.

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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Nov. 1, 2013
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