Norm Van Lier
{ "" }
Share
Share Norm's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
CHICAGO (AP) — Former Chicago Bulls guard and broadcaster Norm Van Lier was found dead Thursday afternoon in his home, authorities said.

He was 61.

Firefighters went to his home, just blocks from the United Center, to respond to a request for a well-being check. They found Van Lier unresponsive shortly before 1 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at the scene, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Quention Curtis.

The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed his death.

Van Lier began his NBA career with Cincinnati in 1969. He later spent more than six seasons with the Chicago Bulls before finishing his career with Milwaukee in 1979.

The three-time All-Star played on five playoff teams.

Van Lier, from East Liverpool, Ohio, was drafted by Chicago in 1969, but debuted in the league with Cincinnati that year. He later spent more than six seasons with the Bulls before finishing his career with Milwaukee in 1979.

Van Lier was a defensive standout and a fan favorite who was given the nickname "Stormin' Norman" because of his fiery play. Picked to the NBA All-Defensive first team or second team eight times, he retired after the 1979 season with 8,770 points and 5,217 assists.




Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press
Published in Chicago Tribune on Feb. 26, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
164 entries
May 19, 2020
Miss you norm. You were one of the greats.
November 12, 2016
Ookie ... Fondly remembering you and missing you. Distance never broke the ties that bound us. You are forever in my heart and an angel who watches over me. xo Susi
Susi Gilmartin
September 11, 2016
Valenda Newell
February 26, 2016
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.
Harry Simpson
April 9, 2015
Ookie - You remain in my heart and are a part of my soul. You are missed. You are loved ... xo
Susi Gilmartin
April 28, 2014
My Wife and I
I went to St Francis with Norm. I had seen him play in the Pa State HS championship game when Steelton had Dennis Stuart Within minutes I knew Steelton was going to get blown out by Midland . I was a sophomore at St Francis and just knew when I saw Norm was coming that little St Francis had a great basketball future. I became friends with the whole team probably because I was a little crazy and they liked me. The whole college knew me not by my real name but by the nickname "Miner" . I got the name Minor from playing tackle football (was supposed to be flag football) on the lawn next to the dorm and Norm and others would call me that crazy Miner. Spent a lot of fun times with Norm, Billy Coyle, Jim Kuten, Fitz, Lenny Murray (what a nice guy hope he is doing well, Sam Harris, Larry Hanchin, Curry, (one of my best friends) etc etc.). That whole team was a great bunch of guys and nobody was more determined to get to a loose ball than Norm. Johnny Clarke taught them the mastery of falling down taking the charge and led by Norm they did it well. Norm had told me if some opposing player had a shoelase hanging he could step on it to gain a defensive advantage. Lots of Johnny Clarke jokes and lots of ribbing as to who could insult the other the most. They had more weapons to fire at me as a small town Eastern Pa coal cracker with a distinct accent from the region (the butt of many jokes) but I held my own. Years after graduation I went down to Philadelphia to see the Bills vs Sixers and after the game Norm spotted me in the stands with my friend (and then Pottsville Pa Winter Carnival Queen Lauren Gulas) and came over to the stands asking me where we were going to eat that night. I told him he would not have stopped but for his amazement that I actually was with a pretty girl. He laughed and we had a short talk before he retreated to the locker room. Unfortunately we could not get together because of conflicts but Norm was always the type of guy to not forget his friends even in the midst of a road trip with the Bulls. Well Norm I am married now to an even more beautiful girl so I hope you are taking that in in heaven.
Robert Savitsky
March 3, 2014
Graduated from High School with him in 1965!! He was a great basketball player and everyone loved him!! He will be greatly missed by all!! Anna Hamilton
January 9, 2014
Our deepest sympathy to the Van Lier family. Loved to watch him play for the bulls. May the god of all comfort gives the family hope and the comfort that they need at this time.
December 22, 2013
Dear Sweet Ookie -

It is almost Christmas, and I am thinking about how life would have been had you remained with us. Needless to say, there would have been so many more moments to share. I miss you as do countless others. You are loved.

Susi
Susi Gilmartin
September 28, 2013
Ookie -

Just reminiscing a bit today about our times together ... your smile and your inimitable attitude that was so charming. I miss you and think of you often. Love - Susi
Susi Gilmartin
August 2, 2013
Great player and broadcaster will be greatly missed rip stormin norman there won't ever be another like you
rodney linder
August 2, 2013
Great player and great broadcaster he will be missed the bulls lost one of their greats rip stormin norman
rodney linder
May 13, 2013
Ookie - Just thinking of you and wishing you were here! I miss your aura!
Susi Gilmartin
February 6, 2013
I went to school with Norman. I got to guard him in gym class. I never had a chance. I will miss him because he treated me with respect.Called me General & Dutch Boy. Rest in Peace, my friend.
Tom Patton
August 16, 2012
Ookie -

It helps me to write to you this way. Yes, you remain in my thoughts ever so frequently recalling moments that make me smile and memories that I cherish.

You are forever in my heart, dear sweet Ookie ... You are so loved and tremendously missed. I loved your attitude ... your strut of confidence ... and that award-winning smile of yours. My one in a million Stormin' Norman.

Love -
Susi Gilmartin
June 9, 2012
Ookie -

How does one replace someone who is irreplaceable? And you are irreplaceable. Just reflecting upon priceless moments and the decades of friendship and love. Oh, how you are missed by so many!

With much love ...
Susi Gilmartin
May 26, 2012
I went to Midland High School 1961-62. I was in the same gym class as Norman & I had to guard him. Yeah Right!! He called me Little Dutch Boy. He was always nice to me. I will always remember those school days with Norman, Simmi Hill & George Green. Rest in Peace my friend.
Tom Patton
April 20, 2012
Ookie -

Needless to say, I think of you often and miss you ever so much. Basketball season overwhelms me. Likewise, Marvin Gaye, Simply Red, Boz Scaggs, Buddy Guy, Rolling Stones, Chicago ... so many songs ... so many moments frozen in time. Oh to turn back the clock ...

Much love -
April 20, 2012
Ookie -

Needless to say, I think of you often and miss you ever so much. Basketball season overwhelms me. Likewise, Marvin Gaye, Simply Red, Boz Scaggs, Buddy Guy, Rolling Stones, Chicago ... so many songs ... so many moments frozen in time. Oh to turn back the clock ...

Much love -
Susi Gilmartin
April 9, 2011
Ookie -

I am here reminiscing about moments that will forever define our friendship and everlasting love. I miss you.
Susi Gilmartin
January 29, 2011
Ookie -

Another year has come and gone, but your spirit remains with me. I love and miss you. I have so many regrets. I know you are smiling down upon me with that infectious grin of yours. Oh, the memories that I so cherish! So sweet and so gentle you were with a touch of attitude. I so loved that strut of yours. You left a footprint that will never be filled.
Susi Gilmartin
January 7, 2011
in honner of his death i light a candle
Matt mardiks
June 27, 2010
He lived by the adage of the Hall of Fame coach Ralph Miller. "Show up (be there on time), Suit up (be ready to play) and Play Defense. He did all three. Rest in peace.
May 2, 2010
I just found out my all-time favorite player is gone. I was 16 and would drive from Dayton to see the Royals. A $2 ticket in the rafters would get you to the floor by tip-off, because no one came to the games at the Gardens. A shame, too, because this rookie #23 was so inspiring to watch. Fearless, he would take it to the hole on Wilt. Dived for loose balls on defense, would take a charge on a freight train. Very unselfish player, and so srappy. Royals previously had Oscar and Jerry Lucas. This guy was 10 times more exciting. Gave everything he had every second he was out there. An honor to watch him play. My pal Tom was from the Midland, PA area and we couldn't get enough of Norm Van Lier.
Bobby Heidkamp
April 16, 2010
Norm, I Enjoyed our times together when I was the Bulls mascot - "Benny The Bull" and had a locker next to you in the old Chicago Stadium. Miss you, Rest in Peace, Stomin'
Harvey Johnson
December 12, 2009
Mom Vanlier and Family - Just sitting here thinking about Ookie and all those memories ... all those years. Remembering how he used to walk in my office at WKRC-TV, close the door with that mischievous grin of his, and say "I came to see my girl." Little did I know that he would always think of me as "[his] girl." I miss him, Mom. When certain songs play, I am right back there with him and all those priceless memories. He always said, "I know you love me. One day you'll see. You love me." And I do, Mom, I do. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today. I miss you, Ookie. I missed you in February. And I miss you now. I miss the voice, the smile, the humor, the gentle soul, the attitude, the genius ... I will NEVER forget you. All my love to your family -
Susi Gilmartin
July 15, 2009
i was told i was related to norman vanlier im part of the tidwell family my great grand mother told me she went to see him play against the 76ers when my mother was a kid so being that im a basketball fanatic i went to go look up his stats and what have you and saw he past my warmest wishest go out to his family and closest friends wish i could have met him

GOOD BLESS
Robert Tidwell
June 2, 2009
I was the kid in Chicago who took care of his dog Bandit while he was traveling with the Bulls. My mother was very good friends with him and we lived in the same apartment building. We once drove a motor home to Midland with him to visit his family. I'll never forget how his family embraced me, this little white girl from Chicago. I wish I could give them my condolences. I had been trying to contact him in recent years as he was a great positive father figure to me. From taking me to concerts to taking me to home games to babysit his girlfriends, to hanging out at the apartment playing music and various musical instruments. I grew up around the team and knew what a treasure of a man he truly was. My only regret is that he never got to see the adult I have become. I miss him dearly.
Allissa Stephens
March 15, 2009
This was truly sad news for all of us who knew him.. and many of us who had memories of Midland High School in Midland, PA. I did not have the opportunity to see many of our classmates over the years, but I was fortunate to see Ookie this past July. You will always be with us. God Bless and keep you.
Mary Ellen Ladd (Boyle)
March 13, 2009
Ook, my heart is heavy feeling you are gone. We shared a special bond at SFC - waiting for news of the pro's for you and med school for me. We both made it. My med school friends never knew anyone the likes of you and you treated all of them to the games. You brought your friends to our parties in the crazy 70's and Big O and others laughed at the likes of us. Miss you, love you always. Doc
debbie heverly
March 12, 2009
I was so saddened after hearing about the passing of Ookie/Norman. He remains strong and vivid in my memories from our Midland High School years. I can still see him flying across the court. May God Bless him and those he loved.
Karen Murphy/Jones
March 10, 2009
My deepest sympathy goes out to the Van Lier Family. He was a wonderful, kind man. I first met Norm on my 13th Birthday. He had just began his career with the Chicago Bulls and I was a huge fan. My best friends had contacted him to ask him to call me to wish me a Happy Birthday, but instead he surprised me by coming to my house. He has been a huge inspiration throughout my life. He will be greatly missed.
Julie Leifer-Gerber
March 7, 2009
A legend - yes, who exemplified nothing less than the very best. He was a joy to watch no matter the sport he played and an inspiration to all of us who were raised in Midland.

My hearthfelt sympathies to Helen, Toog, Chinco and Rhonda. Know that his light still shines on.
Nancy Suznevich Huber
March 6, 2009
I met Norm in Rockford, Illinois. He hired me on the spot to help him with the C.B.A. team the Rockford Lightning. He always had positive things to say to me. I remember a time when Bennie Anders played for the Lightning. Norm told him to hold to ball at the top of the key to force the other team in a illegal defence. Bennie shoots the ball at about 28 feet from the rim and missed everything. Norm used him for an example in the looker room. Norm told Bennie
"The reason you are not in the N.B.A is because you can not follow orders" The two went at it and had to be separated. I was in awe at what I witnessed. I will truly miss my friend Normski.
Joseph Collins
March 6, 2009
WE ARE SENDING OUR LOVE, PRAYERS, & CONDOLENCES TO THE VAN LIER FAMILY & ALL WHO KNEW MR. VAN LIER.
KEN & MARY O'DANIEL
March 5, 2009
Norm was a constant conversation around our home from Bennie (Smothers). He was so proud of Norm and his accomplishments. Watching him play gave him great joy! Norm Van Lier, Simmy Hill and George Green (Bennie's cousin) names were flying around my house all the time. I learned from conversations that Norm was a Great Man and touched people's lives in a way no one can explain. Mrs. Helen, Chinco (I love you!), Rhonda and entire family, our hearts are broken for you. Charles (Peewee) and I send you all our deep condolences. May God be with you all in this time of sorrow. Norm may you RIP.
Sue (formerly Midland)
March 5, 2009
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Gloria Taylor
March 5, 2009
I would like to express my deepest and most sincere condolences in the recent passing of your loved one. Although I did not know them personally, I am sure many will sorely miss him, including family and numerous friends. It seems so unfair that death should have the power to take away someone you love. And when it happens, the thought of never again being able to talk to, laugh with, or hold your loved one can be most difficult to bear. Please find comfort in the following scripture located at Psalms 147:3 "He is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots."



As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comfort by the love and support of family and friends.
March 5, 2009
My deepest sympathy to the Van Lier family. I had the privilege of knowing Norm briefly -- what a wonderful man. The world will truly miss him. Thank you, Norm. 13
Donna Marren
March 5, 2009
Norm was a funny sweet guy and my husband played a pick up game with him at our local park, he loved to play and would play with anyone, we also spent time with him at a friends house, he will be missed by many.
Tricia Owen
March 5, 2009
Norm Van Lier was a class act, watch him on T.V. Great Player, my condolences go out to his family and friends.
Tony Riojas
March 4, 2009
My condolences to Ms Helen and family.You must be so proud of the way Norm(Ookie) lived his life.I've read 13 pages in this guest book that attest to the great joy and inspiration he brought to men,women,and kids of all ages,color,and ethnicities.May God bless you and ease your pain in this sorrowful time.
Joseph Drakulich & family
March 4, 2009
My deepest sympathy to the Van Lier family. I have many good memories with Mr. Van Lier. May God Bless his Family
Anthony Ramirez
March 4, 2009
My deepest sympathy to the Van Lear family. I have many good memories with Mr. Van Lear. May God Bless his Family
Anthony Ramirez
March 4, 2009
My deepest sympathy to the Van Lear family for your loss. Norm and I have been friends since first grade, we shared life and laughter together and my heart has an empty place because of his passing. I will miss not seeing him this July 4 when I go home to Midland. I loved him like a brother.
John Tozana
March 3, 2009
To Mrs. Vanlier and family, my deepest heartfelt sympathy to all of you. May God's grace sustain you through this difficult time. To Heide and Hilary....your dad loved you so much. I feel like I know you because of everything he has told me about you both. You have my deepest sympathy. I'll miss you Norm. Now who can I tease when our birthdays come around! Rest is peace my friend. I love you.
Janice Castelli Neal
March 3, 2009
Stormin Normin van Lier was one of the great defensive guards ever, during the early 70's he gave my Milwaukee Bucks all that they could handle. I tried to copy his game as teen on the playgrounds of Milwaukee.May he rest in peace.
Lee Greenly
March 3, 2009
Ookie,
As a young man at St. Francis you taught me how to be a better basketball player; but more importantly, you taught me how to be a better man.
When we spoke just a few weeks ago, your last words to me were, "I love you Monker!" Well I love you too Ookie.....and I always will. I will never forget you!
Monk
March 3, 2009
May God hold Norm in His memory forever. Psalms 83:13
Juanita
March 3, 2009
to the family of norm van lier
i just wanted to take time out and to send my deepest condonlences to you and your family. i know that norm is in a better place. i always use to watch him on cltv every time they had a bulls game or the pre show . and i know he was a great player.. although i was young when he played but i do remember him. he is a basketball legend. i know that i was sad but i know that he will not be forgotten. i love yall....... please keep ya head up.....
angelique karis
March 3, 2009
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away. - Thoreau

R. I. P. Ookie
Mitlen
March 2, 2009
To The Entire Van Lier Family:
I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Van Lier back in the late 90's for about 6 months when he was with SportsChannel. While I was only a 3 day a week secretary in sales, he always called me by name and complimented me everytime he saw me. He was so dapper and such a gentlemen. I was in my 92 year old mother's hospital room when I heard it on TV and I couldn't help but think how sad it was that the Lord saw to take someone so young and full of life. I can tell you he was loved and respected by everyone there. I thought it was very sweet that he even acknowledged the lowest employees on the totem pole and treated us with humor and humility. Your loss is felt the world wide. Prayer and time will heal this very sudden loss.
Marilyn M. Sarlo
March 2, 2009
God bless you, Norm. Whenyou first came to Chicago from the Cincinnati Royals it was I who met you at the airport. You didn't know anybody then. We talked in the car about your wanting to wear #2 because Oscar had #1 in Milwaukee.

I had already made up #23. I'm proud to have called you my friend.
Jim Schmidt
March 2, 2009
Heidi, I am so sorry you lost your Dad. Please give my sincere sympathy to your whole family. love Henriette
henriette mantel
March 2, 2009
i always respected you as a player but got to know you as a friend...thanks for taking the time to chat with me and i'll always remember you...god bless and welcome to paradise...
edward lavoie
March 2, 2009
MY FAVORITE TIMES AT THE OLD BARN ON MADISON WERE NORM,BOB,JERRY CHET, AND TOM. JORDAN ERA WAS GREAT, BUT THESE GUYS MADE BULLS BASKETBALL. IT WAS ALWAYS GREAT WALKING INTO THE BARN TO SEE HIM PLAY. THANKS FOR THE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!!!!!!!!
CHRIS PRONDZINSKI
March 2, 2009
rest in the armrs of the LORD you are free now your family and loves ones have my deepest sympathy a allstar fan
Dwight clayton
March 2, 2009
My condolences to the VanLier Family. No one needs to tell you what a truly wonderful individual Norm was. I came to St. Francis a shy girl from a small PA town, but he was also from a small PA town, so he made me feel welcome. He even took me to Midland once!
I followed his career with pride and always told my family about him.
I will be praying that you find God's strength to get through. Remember that huge smile of his and his huge heart.
"Darby" Pennington
March 2, 2009
May God give you peace & strength to bear your grief. May He comfort you during your time of sorrow by continuing to remind you that you will smile again, one day soon.
J. T. Vanlier & Family
March 2, 2009
HOW COULD ONE EVER FORGET NORM VAN LIER?IT SEEMED THAT HE WAS ALWAYS THERE,ALWAYS DEFENDING THE CHICAGO BULLS. REST IN PEACE NORM AND GOD BLESS.
LOUIS CARWELL
March 2, 2009
Jeffery Williams & Family
March 1, 2009
We loved Stormin' Norman, and we now commend him to the Mercy and Generosity of the God he served so well!
Bill Gaudry
March 1, 2009
I had the pleasure of meeting Norm Van Lier one night when I was sitting with my boyfriend at the bar at Cafe Luciano in Chicago. He sat down at the bar. I spoke to him, and told him how much I admired him for his great basketball career and for his commentary for the Bulls. He was so very nice, and friendly, My boyfriend and I sat and chatted with him for about an hour. During that time he asked if he could buy us a drink. That's the kind of person, Norm Van Lier was; someone who would strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, and share stories and laughter. I will always remember that night. Thank you Norm. God speed to you. My prayers are with his friends and family.
Shelley Mason
March 1, 2009
I WAS A GREAT ADMIRER OF NORM,THOUGH I NEVER GOT TO SHAKE HIS HAND,I ALWAYS LIKED HIS ATTITUDE.
WILL LAWRENCE
March 1, 2009
I offer heart felt condolences to the family of Norm Van Lier. May God shower you with peace and strength at this time of sorrow.
I never had the privilege of watching Mr. Van Lier play basketball, but as a Chicago Bulls fan, I thoroughly enjoyed his honest commentary...thank you Norm.
Kathy Farmer
March 1, 2009
Our prayers are with you and your family Mrs. V. during this difficult time. We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Ookie's passing. It seems like yesterday we were marching down Midland Avenue after we took state's in '65. None of us had voices left. Can even remember where Ookie sat in the sixth grade. Last saw Ookie on the 4th a couple of years ago. Was great to finally cross paths with him again. He looked very happy, and glad to be home. Please know we will cherish the memories forever.
Love,
Kathy and Bobbie
Kathy and Bobbie
March 1, 2009
TO THE VANLIER FAMILY,

I WAS IN SIXTH GRADE WHEN MY MOTHER, MARJORIE CARTER, STARTED TEACHING IN MIDLAND. AT WHICH TIME, MY SISTERS AND I WERE INTRODUCED TO YOUR FAMILY. I NEVER MISSED A HOME GAME BECAUSE NORMAN WAS MY HERO. AT THIS TIME, LET ME EXPRESS MY FAMILY'S DEEPEST SYMPATHY FOR YOUR FAMILY'S LOSS. NORMAN(OOKIE) WAS A GREAT PERSON ON AND OFF THE COURT. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL
STEPHANIE CARTER
March 1, 2009
LORD, I pray that you give MS Helen,Bobby,Dave,Greg,and Rhonda strength and comfort through these sorrowful times.
Family, I also pray that GOD will remove from your heart, the feeling of hopelessness and hurt and replace it with PEACE, JOY,and HAPPINESS.

"Weeping May Endure For A Night, But Joy Cometh In The Morning"
JOHN L. WILLIAMS
March 1, 2009
A true Western Pennsylvania Guy and an outstanding Athelete. God bless you and your family
frank caso
March 1, 2009
I met Norm at a metra station while a cab driver in the western suburbs. we talked for a bit. What a great guy. He will be missed.
joe peterson
March 1, 2009
My heart goes out to you all at this most difficult time. Stormin Norman was an outstanding player in the NBA and because of that he leave behind many great memories for loved oned to reflect on. May it comfort you to know that God cares deeply for all those we have lost. He promises a resurrection of all those in the memorial tombs at John 5:28. His words bring us comfort and give us hope. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Constance
March 1, 2009
I graduated from Beaver Falls, Pa. in 1965. My senior year my buddies and I would go every Tuesday and Friday nights to watch Ookie and Simmy, and Ron run the other team off the floor. We went to the Civic Arena for the playoffs where they put Mt. Lebo in their place. I attended Geneva College who played St. Francis twice a year. Ookie was the best point guard ever. Although I never had the privilege of meeting him, I'm sure his character matched his play making ability. Rest in peace my brother.
Eric Park
March 1, 2009
It was an honor to know Ookie. Watching him play basketball on the court in front of the high school, being able to watch the 1965 state championship in Harrisburg and follow him through his NBA years.
You will be missed but you can never be forgotten and you will always have a place with us on the 4th of July in Midland.
Deborah Roszler
March 1, 2009
Rest in peace.
Henryk Zaleski
February 28, 2009
My deepest sympathy to the Van Lier family. Ookie gave us many wonderful memories growing up in Midland. God Bless you Ookie and the Van Lier family.
Karen Trainer-Valentine
February 28, 2009
Attended Midland Hi (Pa.) with Ookie....the Stormin Norman came Later. In 1972 while visiting Phoenix, Norm was doing a pregame show, I yelled out his nickname, he left the show, climbed up into the seats and gave me a big hug as we spoke of our home town. He treated me as if I just given him a million dollars. He knew as well as I, coming from a blue collar town and the High School coaches he had, that he would be a success. The rest of the world was about to find out this out. You are Midland and Chicago's loss and Heaven's gain.
Jim McGeehan
February 28, 2009
My thoughts & prayers go out to the Van Lier family. May his legacy live on through all of you. Norm, was a great friend and touched my life, my son Joshua's life and all of my family. We went to a few concerts together and he was loved by many.....he was even the star of the show and at some of the concerts. Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago and Jazz concerts at the Chicago Theatre. The best memory I have of Norm was when he went to our family 4th of July picnic. He stayed all day talking about the Rolling Stones with my brothers, he even walked in the back yard dancing like Mick Jagger and singing, we ate and had the best time taking pictures and he felt right at home. That night when he had to go to work he even wore a Rolling Stones t-shirt in honor of my family...he said to the guys he was on t.v with that he had a great time with the Spies family and he wore the t-shirt for us. That was a great moment-he always knew how to make people feel good and put a smile on their face.

But on a sad note, the night before Norm passed away my 14 year old son Joshua asked how Norm was and begged me to call him. It was 9:00pm and I didn't want to bother him that late. So, Josh and I talked and laughed about all the good times we shared with Norm especially at the Bulls games. I promised Josh I would call Norm the next day but the only call that would come through was from my brother telling me that he had passed. I was in shock and still am. WHY? Why didn't I call him? I could have made him laugh that night, put a smile on his face and for Josh and I to tell him how much we missed him and how much fun we had with him through out the years.

I want him to know that he will be truly missed by all of us and how much we all loved him.

To his family....you are truly blessed to have him in your lives and may his legacy live on through all of you.

My prayers go out to you and I am sorry for your loss!!

With love and sympathy,
Kelly Spies-Miles
Kelly Miles
February 28, 2009
rosie Williams
February 28, 2009
The main reason I attended Saint Francis U. to play basketball was because of Norm. We roomed together for 3 years. He's been a life long friend and inspiration to me. I love him and will miss him deeply. God bless you and rest in peace.

Bill Snodgrass
Greensburg Pa
Bill Snodgrass
February 28, 2009
Dear Mrs. Van Lier,
I was a friend of Norm for over twenty years. I have never met a more honest and caring person in all my life. I will miss you Norm, and I promise to get that #2 retired
vinny titone
February 28, 2009
We called him "Norm The Storm" when he played here in Cincinnati for the Royals. Norm and Nate "The Skate" Archibald were the best reasons to see the Royals. I met Norm on several occasions before he was traded to Chicago. He was a gentleman and a good guy. He was and will always be my favorite Royals player. "Rest in Peace my friend. Cincinnati misses you."
Curt Mitchell
February 28, 2009
My condolences to the Van Lier family. I am not one to idolize, but I can tell you as a short skinny white boy from the northern suburbs when I got to play basket ball as a kid through the 70's I turned into (at least in my eyes) stormin norm van lier when I hit the court. His determination, skill and passion were an inspiration to me and since I work downtown I ran across Mr. Van Lier a few times and both times I called out Hey Stormin! Chicago lost a little of its heart today, a hole that will never re-fill, God bless Norm Van Lier, my hero
John Gallagher Jr
February 28, 2009
I still can't believe that I will never
see or hear from him again. I don't
think Ookie ever had a watch or a
clock because he never seemed to
recognize what time it was when he
had something to say, I'll miss those
calls. For 40 years I've called him on
his birthday, he has one coming up and I will miss making that call.
Instead I'll do what he would want me to do-live my best and have some fun. Today that"s not possible
because my heart breaks for his
family, his friends, and all of his fans.
I will miss you my dear friend, we
all will miss you.
Michele Genegabus
February 28, 2009
MY CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS TO THE FAMILY. I ONLY GOT A CHANCE TO PLAY WITH VAN A COUPLE TIMES BUT THEY WERE PROBABLY ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY CAREER AT SFC. HE RAN THE SHOW PLAYING INTENSELY AND EXPECTED YOU TO DO THE SAME. HE MADE YOU WANT TO PLAY BETTER AND GOT THAT FROM ME. I WOULD HAVE RUN THROUGH THE WALL WITH HIM IF HE CALLED THAT PLAY. TRULY ONE OF THE ALL TIME GREATS BOTH IN COLLEGE AND THE NBA.
BAL
RICH BALEZENTIS
February 28, 2009
Stormin Norman, you will be missed. You were never afraid to speak your mind. You always added flavor to the broadcast.
Nestor Sanchez
February 28, 2009
Our condolences go out to the family.

The grandchildren of Beatrice McCurdy Yates, your cousins
Rev. Sylvia R. Wilkerson
February 28, 2009
We are sorry to hear of your loss.

Your cousins, the grandchildren of Beatrice McCurdy Yates
Rev. Sylvia R. Wilkerson
February 28, 2009
I was a real little kid back when he played for the Bulls during the 70's. But I watched him on Bulls pre and post game live on Comcast Sportsnet and really loved his "tell it like it is" commentary. He will be missed.
Paul Hostetter
February 28, 2009
Dear Susan and family,
Much too young was my first thought.I have always cherished the time spent with Norm and you at the Grand Lido Resort in 1997.His "Job" was to teach attitude to us and he did just that.Anyone who had ever watched him play knew that this was no joke to him but a way of life.His attitude rubbed off and helped me to heal.
With all the others who were touched by this wonderful man I share your loss.Missed greatly but never forgotten.
Alex Miller
February 28, 2009
For seven years, Ben Bentley would announce(yell) "at guard, no.2, Storrrmann Norrrmann Van Lier" ...the Stadium crowd would go crazy. If you were there you'll never forget it. And then the real fun would begin. NEVER has there been a tougher guard tandem than Van Lier and Sloan. They would just knock your head off to get the W. Bulls fans should never forget Norm Van Lier.
Bell
February 28, 2009
Mrs. Van Lier, please accept my deepest condolences. I was a year ahead of Norm at St Francis, but most folks were on a first name basis at such a small school. The thing I remember most about your son was how he transcended everything from race to celebrity. He always stood out because he had the biggest smile, stood the straightest, had the most spring in his step, took second place to no one and loved life as much as anyone I've ever met. We all know about his basketball accomplishments and how he love to compete, but my fondest memories are of Norm waking me at dawn to join him running on the road from Loretto to Ebensburg, where he would sprint between every other telephone pole for miles, or joining our Theta socials, or just hanging out in a dorm room listening to music and hambonin' everything from the Stones to the Impressions...and most of all the laughing. Years later when I lived in LA, we would get together when the Bulls were in town to play. He was the same person in the NBA that he was in Loretto. The world wasn't a perfect place in the 1960's, nor is it now, but it is a much better place in many ways because of your son and I'm sure the love you showed him.
Al
February 28, 2009
My condolences to the Van Lier Family as I know you feel a void in your life today. I am sure you are also proud of the legacy that this man left. He was loved by so many.

I moved to Chicago in the late sixty's and went to my first ever pro basketball game at the Chicago Stadium in 1972. I went to see "The Chicago Bulls." I immediately fell in love with Stormin Norman and became a die hard fan who followed your career for many years. Norm, I will miss you, as will all the millions of people who loved you and followed your career.

Rest my friend you have finally gone home.
Hope Hall
February 28, 2009
My condolescences to Norm Van Lier's family and may God bless them.
As a New Yorker who grew up as a Knick fan in the late 60's early seventies, I remember well those Bull's teams coached by Dick Motta.
The starting five for those Bulls teams were, Bob Love and Chet Walker at the forwards, Tom Boerwinkle at center and Jerry Sloan and Norm Van Lier at the guard positions. Stormin' Norman as he was also known, was a tough, hard nosed player who gave his all on the court each game. I don't ever recall him takung it easy during during games and was as tough a defender as they come. He wasn't that great of an outside shooter but was able to penetrate and get to the basket for a score or an assist. He was one of my favorite players to watch back then as always gave it his all.
I remember the Western Conference finals between the Bulls and the Warriors back in 1975 where the Bulls lost the decisive game at home.
Those Bulls teams of the 70's were well coached and gave their all.
Norm will be missed, there's not many players in the league today like him. R.I.P Norm from a longtime fan.
Robert Campbell
February 28, 2009
We played H.S. football together in Midland. Grew up a block apart. He was a great athlete. He was my friend, God bless you. My heart goes out to his family. Bye Ookie.
Mike Kro
Mike Krivoshia
February 28, 2009
How I remember those games in the second balcony of the Chicago Stadium watching "Stormin' Norman" team with Jerry Sloan to form the Bulls' hard-nosed 70's backcourt. He gave everything he had on the court. Rest in peace old warrior!
gary wold
February 28, 2009
Norm, I have never seen such respect given on Chicago Radio & TV as was given to you the past few days. It is a testament to your Legacy. From all of us at WJJG Radio, We send our deepest Sympathies to the Van Lier Family. Joseph Gentile, Carol Gentile, Judy Baar Topinka, Kiki Vale, Scott Alan, Kevin Moore, Bill Jaconetti, Don Figarelli, John Divita, and the entire Staff at AM 1530. May your memory be eternal.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjqGZW6miOw

George Bliss Community Relations Director
George Bliss
February 27, 2009
REST IN PEACE NORM VAN LIER
D. ZIMMERMAN
February 27, 2009
I am deeply saddened by Ookie's death. I grew up in the same neighborhood and church with him, his brothers, Bobby, Toog and Chinco, and their baby sister who was spoiled rotten by her big brother's love on Ohio Ave. in Midland, Pennsylvania. Even though he was older than I, he always spent time with me, protected me, and treated me like I was one of his peers. May God receive you into His loving arms. See you on the other side Ookie.
Shirley Wyche
February 27, 2009
You will be missed but never forgotten.You will always live in our hearts and prayers forever.
Marcus Hall
February 27, 2009
I am proud to say that I played for the same small college in Pennsylvania as the great Norm Van Lier. He was truly an artist, and basketball was his medium. All former Red Flash players are mourning his loss today.
Tom Fox
Could not load more entries
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences