Norman A. (Norm) Fletcher

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Norman A. (Norm) Fletcher

Memorial services for Norman A. (Norm) Fletcher, 81 will be held Saturday, Dec. 29 at 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches.

Fletcher, a native of Natchitoches, died Dec. 14, 2012 after a brief illness.

He donated his body to the LSU Science Department.

He was the first "Mr. Natchitoches High School", serving as president of the student body his senior year and was active in all phases of extra curricular activities, including football and basketball. He attended Northwestern State and the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

Serving in the US Air Force during the Korean Conflict, Fletcher gained attention as the news editor and the chief news and sportscaster of the Far East Network (Armed Forces Radio Service) with headquarters in Tokyo for over two and a half years, covering stories throughout the Far East. At that time he did part-time work for NBC with interviews of Adlai Stevenson, former Vice-President Richard Nixon, Gen. Mark Clark and others. During that time, his associates later became some of the major network and Hollywood personalities, but Fletcher opted to come home to his Cane River Country Land.

His news coverage also included tours of battle throughout the Far East.

A former co-owner of KNOC AM/FM in Natchitoches, he was also a builder and co-owner of the first cable television system in Natchitoches and one of the first in Louisiana.

During his 60-plus years of broadcasting, which included being the Voice of the NSU Demons, Fletcher broadcast over 4,000 sporting events "play-by-play," utilizing an estimated 44 million words. He was also the official narrator for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame since it was established in Natchitoches in the early 1970s.

In 2004 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NSU Graduate "N" Club, the university's association of athletic letterwinners. In 2010, he entered the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame as a member when he received the Distinguished Service for Sports Journalism Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Later that year, the NSU broadcast booth in Turpin Stadium was named in his honor.

In 1979, he wrote the words and music of "The Cane River Country Land," which the City Council adopted as the City's official song.

He was also the youngest Natchitoches Parish Chamber of Commerce President, 27, and the only person to serve in that capacity for three straight years. In the 1960's he was tabbed by Gov. Jimmy Davis as the volunteer State Chairman of the La. Cultural Resources commission. Fletcher also served as the volunteer City/Parish Civil Defense Director for 18 years and during that time organized an effective organization that ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation. He also served for three years as president of the state Chambers of Commerce Association.

In 1958, he was instrumental in bringing the John Wayne movie, "The Horse Soldiers" to be filmed in the Natchitoches area and in 1988, played the father of the groom in he motion picture, "Steel Magnolias," also filmed in Natchitoches.

Fletcher was elected sheriff of Natchitoches Parish in three elections and built one of the most professional organizations in the state with emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency. He was honored on many occasions with bringing the Sheriff's Office "out of the dark ages."

During several years in the 1980's he became the only Louisiana sheriff ever to teach several times a year at the NSA held at the FBI Academy near Washington, D.C.

He was named Louisiana's Number One Radio Newscaster in 1955; Young Man of the Year (Jaycees) in 1958; Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 1960; American Legion, Post 10, Man of the Year in 1978; became a Rotary Foundation International Paul Harris Fellow in 1984 and in 2010 was named a Natchitoches Treasure.

Fletcher was an active member of the Natchitoches First United Methodist Church, where he taught the Senior High Sunday School Class for 23 years, and later the Senior Class.

An outstanding public speaker, he spoke at the National Sheriff's Association Convention in Las Vegas in 1981; was the keynote speaker at the La. Police Jury Association Convention in 1986 and the La. Sheriff's Convention in 1984.

During his latter years, Fletcher still did some radio work for area stations.

He was preceded in death by his father, Guy K. Fletcher and mother Erie B. Fletcher; his only brother Laird C. Fletcher; and his oldest nephew, Craig Fletcher.

His survivors include the families of the two other nephews, Norman Hillman Fletcher of Fort Worth, Texas and Guy Fletcher of Natchitoches; a godson, Norman Gene Weldon of Salt Lake City.

The family has requested that donations be made to the Natchitoches Humane Society "Animal Shelter" or the Youth Department of the Natchitoches First United Methodist Church.

Published in The Town Talk on Dec. 23, 2012
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