I just learned from Dan Nolan, a freelance reporter with the Hamilton Spectator, that an old friend of ours, Jack Norris, has passed away at 88 years old.
Jack Norris was well known to many Creekers and Ward 9 residents as a charismatic, kind soul who was willing to give the shirt off his back if you needed one. The Stoney Creek News once referred to him as Mr. Stoney Creek. It was a moniker that effectively and affectionately described him.
I first met Jack when serving on the board of directors at Stoney Creek Not for Profit Housing. He struck me from the get-go as a compassionate, caring, diplomatic and thoughtful man.
I had the honour of sponsoring Jack when he converted to Catholicism and joined Our Lady of Assumption parish. He would occasionally joke when introducing me to his friends that I was his Godfather which would bring some odd looks. At Assumption Parish, he was elected to the Pastoral Council even serving as Chair. He was quickly organizing picnics and spaghetti suppers for the Knights of Columbus. He was involved in numerous other charities and service groups. He was even honoured as Stoney Creek Citizen of the year.
He was a former city Councillor in Stoney Creek who served for 16 years. He was an avid supporter of local democracy. He was a member of Stoney Creek Residents Against Pollution, SCRAP, where he fought to protect the environment from a landfill. He also helped lead the opposition to amalgamation and lead the citizen run referendum wherein he enlisted me to serve as polling staff and scrutineer.
He was a lifelong liberal and as you would expect, we had some interesting discussions over the years. I found Jack to be the political force in Stoney Creek. There was a time in Stoney Creek that if anyone was considering a public run, Jack Norris was called first. In fact, I once compared him to Senator Keith Davey as “our very own local Rainmaker”.
Jack truly had his finger on the pulse of the community. He hated confrontation and always looked for a pragmatic compromise.
I was always pleased to hear from Jack when he would call me to proffer some unsolicited advice on the issue at hand or give me some suggestions on how best to approach a discussion a local or provincial controversey. In the last few years, I have missed those conversations
Jack leaves his lovely wife, Beverley Galassi, his daughter Jennifer Krueger and her husband Peter, and his son John Norris and his wife Sharon, his brother and sister, grandchildren, neices and nephews and two great grandchildren.
I pray that Jack Norris be granted eternal rest and that perpetual light will shine upon him. May he rest in peace