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Norman Wilson Edmund

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Norman Wilson Edmund Obituary
Edmund, Norman Wilson, age 95, died January 16 following a short hospitalization in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was the founder of the optics company Edmund Scientific based in Barrington, NJ. Mr. Edmund was born in Massachusetts and raised in Camden, NJ. He delivered newspapers, earned Eagle Scout and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High. One week after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, he was sent to the Camden County sanatorium because he had contracted tuberculosis. Three formative things happened at the Lakeland Sanatorium. Norman began taking photos and tinkering with lenses. Searching for the lenses he needed led to an exploration of the mail order business. Also, he met his future wife, Pauline who was the night nursing supervisor. After his recovery he began selling surplus lenses from a card table in his Oaklyn apartment. By 1943 he was doing well enough to marry Pauline and move Edmund Salvage Company to Collingswood, NJ. The end of World War II resulted in a surplus of optics. Norman was able to increase his inventory and grow his customer base. In 1948 he changed the company's name to Edmund Scientific and moved it to a new building in Barrington, NJ. Although primarily a mail order business, Edmund Scientific did operate a retail store for many years. The store became a reflection of Norman's personality, mixing the scientifically serious with whimsical toys, books, kits and gadgets. It attracted generations of science enthusiasts. The store closed in 2001 when the consumer division of the business was sold. Norman's enthusiasm and generosity were appreciated by many organizations. The Boy Scouts awarded him the Silver Beaver, their highest honor for volunteer service. He served as President and Board member for the Camden County Lung Association. He was appointed a Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory in the Catholic Church. The Borough of Barrington named him Citizen of the year in 1961 and dedicated a playground in his honor. Norman spent over seventy summers enjoying Ocean City, NJ. He was an avid deep-sea fisherman with great respect for Mother Nature and a member of the Ocean City Marlin and Tuna Club. Norman retired to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1974. He devoted his later years to studying the scientific method and promoting its application in everyday life. He instilled in his family the importance of initiative, critical thinking skills and building some fun into every day. A daughter, Jane, and his wife of 67 years, Pauline, predeceased Norman. He is survived by a daughter, Joan Husted (James) and a son, Robert Edmund (A. Gwynne), grandchildren Nicole, Genvieve, Rachel, Marisa, Alex and Evan and thirteen great grandchildren. His sister-in-law Dorothy Barna also survives, as well as many loving nieces and nephews. The business he founded is still a family business. His son, Robert has returned the company's focus to optics. Edmund Optics, based in Barrington, operates facilities worldwide, circulates 2 million catalogs annually and employs over 700 staff members globally. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Sisters of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, P. O. Box 843, Bellmawr NJ 08099 or Boys & Girls Clubs of Camden County, 1709 Park Blvd., Camden, NJ 08103-3601. To learn more about Norman Edmund and the 70 year evolution of his company, please visit the EO 70th Anniversary Timeline at www.edmundoptics.com/70-years.

Published in Sun-Sentinel on Jan. 18, 2012
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