Norm Crandall

The Guest Book is expired.

Norm was born on April 30, 1939 in Independence. His Midwest character exemplified integrity, hard work, and self determination. He will be remembered by his wife, Vernetta, and his many friends as a man who lived life to the fullest. Norm died suddenly and did not suffer.
From Independence High School, Norm was admitted straight into the engineering program on a scholarship to the University of Iowa. He graduated from the Hawkeye's School of Engineering in 1961 and had been an enthusiastic supporter of U of I ever since, particularly in their football and basketball programs.
Upon graduation Norm was recruited by North American Aviation in Downey, Calif. and he and his first wife, Mary, were happily relocated to sunny Southern California where he began his professional career as a Mechanical Engineer.
North American Aviation (now a part of Boeing) was the prime contractor with NASA for the Apollo Program with the goal of landing man on the moon by the end of the decade. As we all know, this objective was achieved ahead of time in July of 1969 as Neal Armstrong "took a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind", a direct result of Norm's and the many other engineers and scientists inspired efforts.
Norm was a significant contributor to the design and development of the Reaction Control System (RCS) for the Apollo Space vehicle. This system of small thruster engines was used to control the attitude (orientation) of the vehicle for various delicate maneuvers throughout the mission. The Apollo module showing the thruster jets is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum in DC.
Norm became a widower in 1971 when Mary died suddenly from heart related problems and because the engineering portions of the Apollo program were winding down, he took on new challenges in the emerging technical area of computer technology.
Norm joined Shiley Laboratories in the early 1970s as the "Surgical Products Engineering Manager". In this position he was responsible for all technical aspects of surgical products which included several configurations of the Shiley Tracheostomy Tubes, embolectomy catheters, as well as many other sterile, disposable Shiley products. In this position Norm attended numerous medical conventions where he met personally with surgeons and demonstrated to them the various intricacies of using the Shiley surgical products. Shiley Labs eventually became Shiley Inc. and was purchased by Pfizer Inc., in 1979.
Norm participated in the Alpha Romeo Auto Club and was a Corvette fan and owner for most of his adult life. He enjoyed outdoors sports that included skiing throughout the U.S. and especially in Mammoth.
This last President's Weekend, he skied with his long time friend from Shiley, Tara Robison, in Mammoth as he has done for the last 20 years. Valentine's Day was on the Sunday of President's Weekend and Norm and Vernetta had a wonderful day as together they rode the gondola to the top of the highest peak of Mammoth Mountain to view skiers traverse the moguls down The Cornice, Climax, Dave's Run and Scottie's Run. They did not ski but visited the interpretative center at the top and then had lunch at Mid Chalet, a wonderful and loving Valentine gift for the two of them.
Norm was famous for his Super Bowl Parties which he hosted every year since the early 1980's. He also enjoyed being a part of the "Monday Night Football and Billiards Group" since the early 1990's. He and six or seven other "cronies" meet each Monday and made small wagers on the game and "Eight Ball" results.
Norm and his second wife, Vernetta, were married on March 29, 1997. They moved from Costa Mesa to San Clemente in July, 2001. Norm's criteria for their new home were a three car garage, a room large enough for a pool table, and a swimming pool. Norm and Vernetta enjoyed their romantic travels very much. They traveled the U.S., Canada, Europe, Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand. Norm and Vernetta alternated trips each year to Maui, Kauai, and the big island of Hawaii to snorkel and to enjoy the beauty of the ocean and its tropical fish. Norm collected art by Hawaiian artists Tabora and Henry D. Wishard.
After visiting the south of France and especially Antibes, Norm created his own recipe for mussels and had a lot of fun preparing mussels in wine sauce with lots of baguette slices to mop up the sauce for dinner parties.
If it were possible, we would have invited Dallas Raines, Norm's hero, to his memorial. And if Dallas couldn't get away from studying his Doppler radar chart, we could have Jackie Johnson give us a rundown on upcoming yellow rain cells off the south Orange County coast. Norm, being from Iowa, liked to know what the weather was going to be.
A very short time after Norm died, his eyes, tissue, and bones were donated to the Legacy Donor Foundation. Norm's life was about giving to others and contributing to the medical industry to improve the quality of life.
Norm will be remembered by his friends as kind, generous man of integrity, self determined, a leader and an engineer. Vernetta is grateful for the love and friendship they shared for almost two decades. Norm was a healthy and happy man who died suddenly, without pain, on February 19, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Vernetta, and his brother, Gary Crandall of Cedar Rapids. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to The University of Iowa Foundation to benefit the College of Engineering Student Aid Fund. Please indicate this is a gift in loving memory of Norman Crandall. Gifts may be directed to The University of Iowa Foundation and sent to the following address or can be given online: The University of Iowa Foundation; Levitt Center for University Advancement; One West Park Road; P.O Box 4550 Iowa City, IA 52244-4550 or Above all his interests, Norm truly was an ENGINEER. Visit our guestbook at
Published in Independence Bulletin-Journal from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27, 2010