Norman Lee Harper, age 92 years, a resident of Vienna and a former resident of Paducah, Kentucky, passed away Friday afternoon, March 1, 2019, at 4:50 PM at his home.
Norman was born July 21, 1926 in the Harpertown community in Johnson County Illinois. He was the youngest of nine children born to Joe G. and Minnie (Casey) Harper.
On July 27, 1949, Norman was united in marriage to Carmen Elizabeth Campbell. She preceded him in death February 13, 2002. Norman was later united in marriage to Helen Ruth (nee Fitzgerald) on November 21, 2004. She preceded him in death on July 2, 2014.
Norman is survived by: his son and daughter-in-law – Paul & Melinda Harper of Boaz, Kentucky; 2 grandchildren – Grant (Lindsay) Gamster and Audrey Harper; 4 great grandsons – Grantland Gage Gamster, Broderick Scott Gamster, Anthony Titan Nemecek, and Harper Sky Gamster; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, many friends, his church family and lodge brothers.
In addition to his parents and wives, Norman was preceded in death by: a daughter and son-in-law – Suzanne and Scott Gamster; a grandson – Zachary Harper; 4 sisters – Opal Noonan, Jewell Cook, Ruby Reynolds, and Mary Lois Emery; and 4 brothers – Fred, Joe W., Loree, and Cecil Harper.
Norman was an honorably discharged U.S. Navy veteran. He served in the Pacific theater of operation during World War II.
Norman was employed by Union Carbide (later Martin Marietta) as manager of general maintenance at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant from it’s opening in 1952 until his retirement on December 31, 1987.
Norman was an active and faithful member of the Masonic fraternity. He petitioned Reynoldsburg Masonic Lodge # 419 A.F. & A.M. and was elected to receive the ancient degrees of the Masonic fraternity. He was initiated an entered apprentice on March 17, 1948, passed to the degree of fellowcraft on April 2, 1948 and raised to the sublime degree of master mason on April 8, 1948. Norman served Reynoldsburg Lodge as worshipful master during the year 1958. On February 2, 1977, he affiliated with New Burnside Masonic Lodge # 772 A.F. & A.M. where he served in a number a lodge offices including secretary from 2003-2016. On October 3, 2016, New Burnside Masonic Lodge merged with Vienna Masonic Lodge # 150 A.F. & A.M. Norman served as chaplain of Vienna Masonic Lodge from 2016-2018. He has also been an honorary member of Eddyville Masonic Lodge # 672 A.F. & A.M. since July 24, 2017. Norman was a 60 year member of the Paducah York Rite and past presiding officer of the Paducah Chapter # 30, Royal Arch Mason; Paducah Council # 32 Royal and Select Masters and Paducah Commandery # 11 Knights Templar. He served as Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Kentucky Royal Arch Masons in 1973-1974. Later, Norman served as Deputy General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. At the time of his death, Norman was the most senior past Grand High Priest of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Norman was also Past Prior of the Knights of the York Cross of Honour, Kentucky Priory # 25. Norman’s exemplary life and character epitomized the true meaning of being a Master Mason.
Norman was a devoted Christian. He was a stalwart member of the Reynoldsburg Church near Tunnel Hill, where he had taught Sunday School. Norman seldom missed church and had attended the Sunday prior to his passing. He is well remembered for his saying “Love More, Judge Less” which characterized his Christian service and attitude toward life in general.
Norman loved working. He was a passionate gardener and was widely known for his excellent canned pickles.
A funeral service honoring the life of Norman Lee Harper will be conducted Wednesday afternoon, March 6, 2019, at 1 PM at the Reynoldsburg Church, 1065 Reynoldsburg Road, Tunnel Hill, Illinois. Pastor Jerry Schell and Pastor Pete Vinson will officiate.
Burial will follow in the Reynoldsburg Cemetery. Military graveside rites will be accorded by the U.S. Navy Burial Honors Detail and the Beggs-Gurley VFW Post # 5222.
Visitation will be conducted Tuesday, March 5, 2019, from 5 PM – 8 PM at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna and on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, from 12 Noon – 1 PM at the Reynoldsburg Church.
Masonic rites will be accorded Tuesday evening at 8 PM at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the Reynoldsburg Cemetery, c/o Bob Harper, 30 Harpertown Lane, Tunnel Hill, Illinois 62972.
To share a memory of Norman or to leave an online message of condolence for his family, please visitwww.baileyfh.com
Arrangements have been entrusted to Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.