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David E. NorrisMay 14, 1944 ~ August 27, 2018 (age 74)
NORRIS, DAVID E. David passed away August 27, 2018, at the too-young age of 74. One of his favorite quotes was “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!’” He was that dependable friend whose life was a “ride,” eager to lend a copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” serve you a glass of scotch, or squeeze fresh limes for your margarita.
David was born on May 14, 1944, and lived most of his life in Wichita. He attended North High School, where he played football and wrestled, and the University of Kansas, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and earned his undergraduate degree in education and his Masters in Business Administration.
After graduation, he taught school and coached in Central Kansas and worked in banking in Chicago. As his father’s business, Dean E. Norris Plumbing, grew, David was asked to return to Wichita from Chicago to help manage and expand the firm. In 1971, David and his father co-founded DEN Management Company, Inc., which is the parent company for Dean E. Norris, Inc. and Professional Mechanical Contractors, Inc, and which collectively employ more than 150 in the Wichita area.
David was active in his industry on a national level, serving as president of the industry’s trade association, SMACNA. He also co-chaired the International Training Institute, the National Energy Management Institute and the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute as well as chairing the Local Work Force Investment Board.
David was preceded in death by his parents, Dean and Betty Norris. He is survived by his beloved “Precious,” Clowie McLaughlin, his wife of 29 years, and by daughters Jill Norris, Greeley, CO; Kelly Norris, Ft. Collins, CO; Laurie Haddorff (Chris), Greeley, CO; Machin Norris, Greeley,CO; and stepdaughter, Danielle Schweikert (Jeff), Charlotte, NC. Also surviving are 4 grandchildren Marnie, Gracie, Sadie and Parker, his brother Michael (Kory), Olathe, KS, and his sister, Stephanie Norris, Murfreesboro, TN.
David’s leadership roles and relationships in Wichita are legendary. He was an original organizer of Old Town and the Wichita River Festival, serving on the board in its early years and as Admiral Windwagon Smith V in 1978. David was a charter member of Wichita Wagonmasters, where he served as Captain; a member of Grumpy Old Men; on the boards of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA; a member of the Kansas Young Presidents Organization and the Kansas Senior Organization of Presidents (where he will always be remembered for his annual moving toast to YPO and SOP members who were deceased). He was a loyal KU alumnus and fan, whose many superstitions about jinxing his Hawks in basketball kept him rigidly in front of the tv set when not attending games.
He was a passionate, patriotic American and was emotional about all things military. He loved to listen to Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” and had been known to lead an entire restaurant in his own rendition of that song. With author Ayn Rand as his hero, he was a voracious reader of novels, news and current events. A strong advocate of principled government, he supported and helped lead many candidates through their elections.
David was a spiritual soul who believed that it was better to be hunting and thinking about God than sitting in church thinking about hunting. He would tell his friends not to mourn him because he has gone to that heavenly place, but to please celebrate your own unique memories of “the Captain” and continue to live the life that he lived – believing in honesty, loyalty, hard work, unbending principle, compassion, many good laughs and strong hugs.
A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. His family asks that his friends salute the Captain’s memory in their own way. If you are so moved, a memorial has been established with the KU Endowment Association, Attn: David E. Norris Athletic Fund, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044. Or, just enjoy a drink of your favorite beverage and perform a random act of kindness for some less fortunate soul, in memory of David’s full and rewarding life.
Share condolences at www.CozineMemorial.com. Broadway Mortuary.
KU Endowment Association, Attn: David E. Norris Athletic Fund
PO Box 928, Lawrence KS 66044