S: Happy 60th Birthday Bruce!!!
FC: family | Happy th Birthday son : brother : husband : daddy booty : bruiser : bricen : BWN : BFR
1: Happy 60th Birthday | A Family Is A Gift That Lasts Forever
3: "To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world."
5: "A father's love warms the heart of his children forever."
6: bruce is: dependable hardworking dedicated
7: relaxed, family man, endearing, funny, generous
8: dog | man
10: A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.
12: Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.
14: Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.
16: When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. -Joyce Brothers
20: family... what a crazy bunch we are!
22: Bruce Walter Norvell and Kay Sue Muncie married on October 30, 1976 | "The family is one of nature's masterpieces."
23: 36 years of marriage 3 adult children 2 wonderful son-in-laws 2 little grandchildren (so far) a great life of memories
24: Where to begin and how did we get here so quickly??? It seems I have known you or about you most of my life! There are so many stories beginning in junior high when you were too cool for me to even talk to and high school when I was too caught up in rebellion against establishment to talk to you. I was always aware of you even though our paths did not cross until college days. In high school you seemed to be a really nice guy who dated the cool girls. The Norvell clan of boys seemed to be in the spotlight and involved in most school activities. I seemed to be more interested in changing everything about the school that you seemed to enjoy! In college we began to share the same friends and hang out together at your brother Gary's farm house. There were dances in the barn but I cannot remember where that barn was! Late nights just sitting around talking with friends. You were always so good at editing my papers for class. That is probably why I passed! And as they say.the rest is history! We had a lot of fun dating for two years and then decided to leave Kansas and start a new life in Atlanta and marrying in 1976. We have made so many great memories in Atlanta. Nancy helped us get settled and was there when we needed someone to help us navigate living in a big city. I am so glad the Fruetels were there for us during that time of transition. Doris moved in with us for a time and then your friend, Murrey Forbes III, lived with us while the two of you tried to put a new transmission in my little red Capri. I think it sat on blocks for a year really adding class to the neighborhood! I think he also moved with us when we bought our second home.
25: Fun stories to remember going to Door county with my parents after a rather late night with their neighbors in Chicago drinking a little too much. My Dad wanted to stop and tour the local brewery as you lay prone in the backseat of the car just trying to not throw up! Moving to South Carolina only to discover you really hated your new job so moving back to Atlanta after just a year. Trips to Kiawah that started our journey to owning property there. We could hardly afford to rent for a week in those days and now we own a lovely home to make forever memories with our family. All the days spent at Wills Park and other horse shows supporting your two sweet daughters showing their horses. And putting a smile on your face when we would come home from an out of town horse show with an additional pony in the trailer or a dog! Too many stories to list but we made it through without having to sell the farm! Our three children have so richly blessed our lives. And now we have two fantastic son-in-laws and two amazing grandchildren. What a blessed life we have lived together and continue to enjoy. There are too many stories to mention but through the years you have been a great provider and wonderful father and husband. We have learned many things about one another and have changed and adapted to make it through 35 almost 36, years of marriage. Thank you for all you have done for me through your consistent support even when I am sure you were wondering why you were offering it! I know it has not been easy but you have been a rock I can count on through good and difficult times. Happy 60th Birthday !!! I will be joining you soon enough! Love always, Kay
26: Daddy, Happy 60th birthday to you! How wonderful to have reached this milestone in your life and accomplished so much and have so many wonderful people that not only recognize it but deeply love and care for you! You have touched the lives of so many people and one of them is me! I have compiled a list of the things that I have learned from my daddy: How to love : You have taught me that loving your family is most important, above all else. You taught me how to forgive and how to reconcile. To Love God for He is the one that gave us life and ultimately taught us how to love and forgive. Responsibility : that working hard and setting your mind on things that you want to attain, means that you can achieve nearly anything in your life. Whether it was a horse show, school, milestones, achieving success I learned it from you. I also learned to care for things in my life; family, friends, tools, my house, and my animals. Because in most cases, it was solely my responsibility and if I took the extra time to put something away or care for it, it would last a looong time. Example: house shoes can be duct taped (after 15 years) because it will add years more life! Which leads me to How to be cheap : when it counts and when to splurge on other things. Coupons. Lawn mowers. Weed eaters. Cars. Tires. Houses. Respect others : you taught me that when you treat others with respect you most often get it back but even when you don’t, it is still how you should treat people because it is the right way to be. Not to suffer fools : does this one need any explanation? I have found myself in so many situations not having patience for the simplest things that others should also be able to simply do. This is only a learned behavior.
27: But mostly I think I love you because you are the one and only you and you are my daddy. You are amazing. Patient. Endearing. Loving. Confident. SO generous. Thoughtful. Encouraging. Wise. You give without taking back. You love without holding back. You don’t have many expectations of people but you have BIG dreams for those you love dearly. You want people to achieve the best they can and love what they do in their lives. You are the proudest of your family and it shows. I have been so touched putting this book together. Hearing how many lives you have touched deeply and how much you really, really love us. They all seem to know us even some without ever meeting us and that means the world to me to know. My heart overflowed reading some of these letters to my one and only dad. I love you. I am proud of you! You are important to me. You are the world to me. You are my daddy!!! Thank you for all you have done in my life. You have given so much to me over the years. Not just materialist things. Not just love. But you have generously given of your time. You allowed me to fulfill and enjoy a deep passion of horse back riding. You wanted to make sure that I loved and was committed to it and then we got Sonny, the one that started it all. What a blessing he is in my life; building determination, confidence and endurance. Things that I could have only learned through doing... and what a perfect pair we are. Thank you for allowing me to achieve my dreams of riding, breeding and showing ponies. It is one of the cornerstones in my life and you and mom are to thank for that. I deeply and will be forever thankful for my childhood. I have been blessed immensely by my memories, experiences and everything from my childhood. So much so, that I often find myself drifting back to that time. Times at Wexford in the backyard and playing on the swing set. Running in the pastures at Meadowglen, learning how to mow the grass and running into a tree with the mower. Learning how to drive Ol Yeller. Having kittens, numerous dogs, breeding and birthing the ponies. Getting ready for my wedding. Such a rich rich life I had growing up and continue to have currently. This wonderful life is a result of the blessed foundation that I was given. I cannot remember back to a time when you weren't there at an event, in my life or whenever I needed you. Happy birthday! I hope you have been blessed today and always, as you deserve it more than almost anyone I know in the entire world. Happy 60th. I hope when I achieve 60, I will have as many people line up to write down words of thanks, adoration and love. That is a HUGE accomplishment. I love you daddyo! Your best daughter from forsyth.
28: Dad, Where do I start, there is no way to summarize or enough space for me to talk about how much I love you and respect you. So I think I will make a little list of all the things I love and admire about you my wonderful dad! 1. You are an awesome dad. You were and are always there for me to talk to about anything and everything 2. You are very supportive to me and your whole family. When I wanted to take photo classes in college you let you and didn't complain, you let me achieve my dreams of becoming a photographer. Thank you for that. 3. You are a hard worker, always have been and always will be. You Keep the yard always looking perfect. And you are a hard worker at your job, but never worked too hard so that your family suffered. You were home for dinner almost every night. And I loved that about our family that we ate dinner all together. 4. You are a wonderful poppi. Elliot and Olivia love you. And I love seeing you with each of them. I love how you pridefully talk about each of them to your family and co workers. I love love how excited Elliot gets when he sees you. He jumps his little legs and put a huge smile on his face and sometimes squeals with excitement to see you and it warms my heart. 5. You are very willing to do anything for your family! Like helping us with our first home, and helping me with new tires, or taking care of Lucy loo, babysitting, driving us places, really anything we ask with in reason you are willing to help us do. And sometimes not within reason you still help :). And I am forever thankful for all you have done and sacrificed for me. 6. I love how you get the coffee ready each night before you go to bed. Clean the filter, empty the old coffee, grind the beans, water in the coffee maker... I love it
29: 7. You always take the trash out every week, without being ask, you just do it, never complain or gripe :) 8. I love how much you love the Lucy loo. It warms my heart when you get excited about her coming over :) 9. I love that you have you red chair that you read in, even thou we tease you about it. I like that the arms are worn from you sitting it in and reading and drinking your morning coffee. 10. I love how growing up you let us go after our dreams. We wanted to ride horses so you worked hard so we could achieve that dream. We rode, and showed and you made every effort to come to our shows even if they were out of state. You got us 2 houses where we could keep the ponies. Dad I could go on, but i think I'll stop at 10. Thanks for being the best dad for me. Thanks for letting me go after my dreams, and for being next to me guiding me during the happy times and rough times. Here's to the next 60 years ;) Love you so much daddy, Adrienne
30: Dear Dad, Ol' Bruce, Bruiser, Brice, Brigham Young, Charlotte, and all the other names I've come up with over the years for you some how don't have quite the impact of 'Dad'. I think I can appreciate 'Dad' now as opposed to when I was younger. Not that I didn't care for 'Dad', I think it's just that I now realize how encompassing that word is; a set of ears to listen, advice to be given, a joke to be told, an experience to be shared, a friend. I can't thank you enough for all of the experiences we've had together: -Mint gum in your coffee cup ( I still laugh about that and tell that story!) -Rain in San Diego -Mud slides closing HWY 1 every five miles (Hell driving that Jeep alone was a memory!) -One room cabins -Rafting the Snake River, and Ocoee River back in the day! -Playing hide and seek at Fellowship's old playground -Father-Son camping trips -All the family reunions I'm sorry I can't be there today to share in the celebration, but know that I'm doing what I've learned to love because of you! I'm looking forward to getting back and telling you all about it over lunch sometime! Love you Dad and Happy Birthday! Sincerely, Peter
31: Bruce, I remember the first time I saw you, Jess and I had driven up from Toccoa, the house was over-run with youth group folks, and I had no idea who Jess was related to and who was just visiting. I think you finally made an appearance in your undershirt and boxers after most of the stragglers had left. I wasn’t sure what to make of you or anyone else in Jessica’s family. I spent the weekend getting to know you, Kay, Adrienne and Peter, and I’m glad I stuck around. It wasn’t too long after that first weekend that we went out to lunch, and I asked if I could marry Jess. I remember that the Shuttle Columbia disaster happened the same day (Feb 1, 2003), and it didn’t do much to set the mood. You were pretty rough with me, and though you later apologized, I’m not sure I won’t follow your example when some punk asks me if he can marry Livi. Marriage requests aside, I’ve learned a lot from you in the eight-ish years I’ve been your son-in-law: the proper way to wash a car, how to take care of the yard, proper grilling technique, and so on. On a more serious note, you are a great man. Jess would not have turned out the way she is if you hadn’t done a lot of things right. She’s an amazing girl, and I’m glad—though you took a while getting it out all those years ago at Champion’s Bar & Grill—you said, “Yes” and let me be a part of your great family. Congratulations on turning sixty years old. From my point of view, they’ve been a great sixty, and I’m glad I’ve been able to share a few of them with you. Happy Birthday! Matt
32: Dear Bruce, There was an article I recently read about the top verses in the Bible that teach what it is to be a good father. As I read the verses spelled out in the article, I thought of you. Each verse tells an aspect of who you are and I had to include these in this letter. I hope they are an encouragement to you. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 - "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Over the past 3+ years (seems longer doesn’t it?) that I have gotten to know you, this verse clearly stands out. I see it in the family you raised. Jessica, Adrienne and Peter are the direct result of your commitment to living a life for God. You can see this through them. Malachi 4:6 - "He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents..." It is evident that your heart is for your children. From taking care of Adrienne’s car to putting mulch in Jessica’s front yard, Your servant heart can be seen by the way your children love you. Psalms 127:3-5 - "Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court."
33: My oh my is your quiver full! Not necessarily in quantity (even though you may argue otherwise) but sure is because of quality. But they didn’t become the fine people they are all by themselves. Your guidance in their life is great and how they turned out is certainly worth being proud of. Proverbs 10:9 - "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out." I don’t know another man so full of integrity than you, Bruce. The stories I hear about you from your family and even the ones you’ve shared with me over a bowl of salsa and chips, tell of your integrity as a man and a father. Joshua 24:15 - "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Now as a father, one of the verses I cling to as a goal and value statement is this one made by Joshua in the Old Testament. When I look at your life, what you’ve done, and what you continue to do, I see you successfully living out this verse. You continually choose to serve God through family, BSF, and through your life. I know it may seem as if this is more meant for Father’s day instead of your birthday. But I stress this because I grew up with an absent father. Before Elliot was born, my fear was that I wouldn’t know how to raise him well. I’m thankful that God had orchestrated my life to marry Adrienne and have you as an influence in my life. I look to you as an earthly example of what a great father looks like. You have treated me more like a son than my own father and I’m truly honored to be able to be a part of your family. Happy Birthday, Bruce. May God continue to bless you. Much Love – Your Son-in-Law, Ric
35: And you know grandpas are really something grand! They never yell, they always understand. And they can fix just about any old thing From a broken heart to a broken swing
36: Your sweet Family & long time dear Friends
38: it all started because two people fell in love and married on May 29, 1943 Lawrence and Joy Norvell
39: Then came the wonderful kids Nancy, Mark, Bruce and Gary
42: Bruce through theYears....
43: socolofsky reunions
47: Recent trip to the Midwest to visit family and relive from memories from childhood
51: Dear Bruce, Happy to you!!!!...as you celebrate the life that you have been given and have lived in such an important way. Happy to us!!!...as we celebrate your life that has touched and enriched all of us in such an important way. It has truly been a privilege for me to have been a part of your journey and to watch and share the events and opportunities that have made you the man that you are. You are: > An exemplary son you have always loved, honored and cared for Mother and Dad. You have made them proud!!! > An amazing brother you are more than a brother; you are one that we/I are/am so grateful to call “dear friend”. Thank you!!!! You are loved!!! > A special grandson/nephew/uncle you have cared for your extended family in special ways traveling visiting taking and keeping in touch!!! You are appreciated!!! > A faithful friend you have kept relationships over the years and given time and energy to keeping friendships. You have been blessed by these efforts, but more importantly your friends have been blessed by these efforts. You are an example!!!! > A strong family man you have loved, protected, and provided for a special family that is now honoring you in a wonderful way you are a husband, son-in-law, brother-in-law, father, father-in-law and now grandfather oh!!!the list goes on the people you bless. You are a gift!!! > A respected businessman your work ethics are at the highest level. You serve your clients, company and cohorts with leadership and integrity. You are success!!! > A humble child of God you have followed Jesus, your Lord and Savior by being in His word and living out His commands!!! His grace is amazing and you are blessed!!! Sooo. Happy to you!!!! Happy to us!!!! Happy 60th!!! Blessings and love, Nancy | Bruce, I am just honored to send you congratulations on this milestone birthday. Thank you for all you have done for me and my family. You always remember the small and large experiences of our lives. Your relationship with Nancy is dear to her and she feels a friendship in addition to the family tie. Thank you for your kindness to me. more than I deserve. You are loved and admired by many. Enjoy the light that the many will shine on you. The BIL DBF | After a girl is grown, her little brothers - now her protectors - seem like big brothers
52: Brothers | Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.
53: Bruce How can I cover the 60 years of Brother Bruce Norvell? Only Mom, Nancy and I have known him the full 60 years. It’s been an adventure. Baby Brother Gary at first couldn’t say “Bruce”. The best he could manage was “Boo-ey”. This got transformed to “Booty” or “The Boot”. I don’t think he uses that nickname anymore, but it was pretty common in Jr. and Sr.High. With his red hair and fast running, he was also “The Flame”. We had an old bathtub on legs. Somehow, all three of us brothers could play in that. We’d soap up the back of the tub and then slide down it. We had to have been pretty little, because the tub wasn’t that big. After awhile, Dad would burst through the door, and we’d be in trouble. Water would get everywhere, but we had a great time. Then there was the brass bed that Bruce and Gary shared. The headboard was our high dive. We’d jump off of it and bounce, bounce, bounce. Every once in awhile, one of us would fall off and hurt our heads. But it was great fun while it lasted. Dad would let us play for awhile, then he would come up the stairs. He would take off his slippers and slap them on the wooden steps, one at a time, when he came up. It sounded like a monster coming after us. That was our cue for me to go back to my bedroom and Bruce and Gary would hide under the covers and play possum. Don’t think we ever fooled Dad. Other times Dad would surprise us with a roar as he came into the bedroom. Dad was a big kid, so don’t think he minded our playing too much, but was afraid we would break the bed. We would get in Bruce and Gary’s closet sometimes and play with matches. Mom and Dad found them when they. It is surprising we didn’t burn the house down. The front porch roof was just outside our bedroom windows. On warm summer nights, we would crawl out the window onto the porch roof. Sometimes we would just sit there and listen to the crickets and watch the night life go by. Other times, we would crawl down the rose trellis and go to the park. I don’t think the folks ever knew we were going out. They would have freaked out if they had known we were gone. It was a safer time back then and kids could run around without fear of being kidnapped. The City Auditorium was just catty-corner to us. We spent hours playing football on the grass, till the janitor would run us off. Someone would get wild and kick the ball up on the roof. So we’d trek home, get the ladder out of the garage and climb up on the roof to get it. Sometimes, there were two levels of roof, and we’d go up to the first level, pull the ladder up and go clear to the top. Surprised we never got arrested. Other times, we’d wait till someone got up on the first roof, then pull down the ladder. Once, Mom heard some ladies talking about that “Houston Street Gang”. She just smiled. We didn’t know we were notorious. Mr. Budden was entertaining. He was really pretty nice, one-on-one. But he didn’t like anyone messing with his stuff. He’d wait for his apples to fall to the ground and rot, then he’d give them to mom for pies and stuff. We’d jump the fence and get them while they were still on the tree. We called him the General Contractor, because he would come down and help Dad with some of his projects. He had more tools than I ever thought imaginable. I remember once Dad was pouring cement for new back steps. Even though I was in grade school, my engineering eye didn’t think the
54: 1” boards were strong enough for forms. Sure enough, as the forms started to fill, they started to bow out. Mr. Budden grabbed some 2x4’s, stakes, mallets and braced the forms just before they failed. Mr Balderson lived behind us. He was nice. Halloween was one of the best holidays. There were no store bought costumes for us. We had an old gorilla mask that got passed around. I don’t remember where that came from; maybe Mom got it at a garage sale. We made our own costumes. There were many box-robots. As we got older, our costumes degenerated to hobos or beatniks, which meant they weren’t too original. We’d go all over town and usually came home and shuffled costume, then went back out again, armed with the knowledge of who had the best loot. I remember Bruce dressed as a girl, though, one year. The school got a string bass one time. Dad brought the wooden crate home, and we made an airplane out of it. Took one side of the crate, turned it sideways and put it on top for a wing, and then put some old tricycle wheels on it. We had great fun pushing it up and down the alley. The swimming pool was just across Poyntz., about two blocks from home. We lived at the pool during the summer. We had swimming lessons in the morning, a swim in the afternoon, then another swim after dinner. The hard part was crossing Poyntz, which was asphalt and we were barefoot. Ouch. I can’t believe we roamed all over Manhattan when we were little. Up at the KSU auditorium, they had these two big circular fire escapes. We’d climb up them, and then slide down them. If we could sneak out some waxed paper from Mom, we could slide down really fast. After the auditorium burned, they moved the “rockets” to the park. They were still fun, but not as fun as when we had to sneak into them on campus. They’re not there anymore. Probably not OSHA approve. We had a good childhood. Dad always loved a picnic and we’d go to the State Lake and fish and grill weenies or burgers. We had those old open-faced reels, which would get backlash if you just looked at them. Dad spent all his time untangling them. We learned some new words. Some times, when he’d get really mad, he’d say, “D-A-double-M”. That’s not how you spell it, but it was entertaining. Bruce always attracted the ladies. I had a paper route and a little red-headed girl, named Berlida Claggett, was one of my customers. If she was outside, she would come running up to me and say, “Tell Bruce tell Bruce, that I LOVE him.” Of course, I’d do my best imitation of Berlida and relay the news to Bruce when I got home. He did not like her and usually punched or chased me. Bruce ran for Stu-co president in ninth grade. He started his campaign speech with, “My speech is like a steer, one point here,” and he extended his left hand out, “another point there,” and he extended his right hand out, “and a bunch of bull in between.” A bunch of Junior High girls got together and campaigned for him. Needless to say, he won. (The mother of the boy that lost wouldn’t speak to Mom for years after that.) Bruce’s temper has mellowed significantly over the years. I can remember him saying, I’M NOT MAD!” with his teeth clenched and his juggler vein popping out on his neck. Once he hit the wall just outside his bedroom with his fist. Unfortunately, it was plaster over the brick chimney. That hurt for awhile.
55: We almost always spent a week in the summer at Cascade Cottages in Colorado. Dad, Gary and I loved to hike. Bruce didn’t. So we’d lie to him about how far a hike was. I think he ended up enjoying the hike, but sometimes would put on a good, pitiful show. Sometimes Bruce could be challenging. He’ll never live this one down. When I was dating Paula, she would join us for family dinners on Houston Street. Bruce that one particular evening was in a hurry to get out and about. Mom made him clear the table before he could leave. He reached over Paula’s shoulder, grabbed her plate, picked it up and said, “You done?” Paula wasn’t done, but wasn’t going to argue. Once when I was in Peoria working a semester of interning at Caterpillar, Paula had a Chi-O costume party. Since I wasn’t there to take her, Mom got it in her mind that Bruce should take Paula, so Mom made them costumes – Jack and the Bean Stalk. Paula was the Bean Stalk. Wasn’t that nice of Bruce? Photos exist somewhere, unless Bruce has burned them. I came home once and Bruce’s car had a big crack in the windshield. He and (I think it was) Dennis had a few too many. Bruce said to Dennis, “I bet I can’t hit my car with this rock.” Bruce and the car lost. I think it was Dennis again, who came to visit Paula and I when we were living in New Orleans. I was a new private pilot, so had to take them up for a flight around Lake Pontchartrain. I like to take new passengers up above the turbulence so they have a good, smooth ride, but Air Traffic Control kept us down lower than I would have liked. It was a rough day. Bruce wasn’t as ruddy as he normally was when we landed, but was a little green. He kissed the ground when we got out of the plane. Bruce has grown up into a fine man. Marrying a good woman was part of that, which we three boys and Dave did. Being a Daddy helps, too. I could go on longer, but it is time to get this in the email. Love you, Bruce. It’s been fun. Lots of laughs, a few tears and bruises, and lots of love. Your Brother Mark | Yo, Yo dude, Yo Bro, I think you are going to have one bad ass 60th birthday. So this is my greeting and wish for you: Nobody deserves this more than you. You are always there for so many people. You are always there for me, for Mom, for your family, for your friends, for your dog. I have always looked up to you and not just because you are taller than me. When we were kids you were always more mature than me, more than the 13 months and nine days difference in age. I was sort of the dopey little brother and you were cool. You were always cool. I teased you when you smoked cigarettes with Dennis when you were about 13, but you were cool. You smoked cigarettes at 13 and you looked cool. I was 12 and acted 10 and looked like I was 9. You always seemed to have this intuitive sense of what the right thing was and it came to you so easily. We were young but old enough to be in downtown Manhattan by ourselves. There was a young man who had been injured and disfigured, possibly in Vietnam. I pointed at him and you lowered my arm and told me I shouldn't point. It wasn't nice. I'm sure you don't remember this but I have always remembered it.
56: When we were kids, the family went to Colorado for vacations. We stayed in cabins, Mom and Dad cooked and we went on hikes. You found this rather boring. There are photos in our family slides of you looking really miserable: Sitting on a log or bench with your face in your hands. You had short red hair because it was before the Beatles had invaded America. You wanted to go into town and do something cool, like look at turquoise jewelry in the stores. You ran for student council President in ninth grade. It's kind of a popularity contest. You had to give a speech to the whole school as part of your campaign. You came out to start your speech and you had borrower a starter's pistol from someone. You pulled it out, raised it above your head and fired it."I thought I would start this off with a bang". The gun wouldn't go over so well in school these days, but it worked wonderfully in 1967. I won't mention the name of your opponent but you and I know his name. He was smart, straight arrow; he would have made a wonderful Student Council President. All of the popular girls in eighth grade volunteered to work on your campaign. You had posters all over school and "Booty" buttons that everyone wore on their shirts. Of course, you won the election. The rest of the story is this: This is Manhattan and everyone knew everyone. The mother of the losing candidate called the school to find out if there had been a miscount. She couldn't understand how her son had lost. School officials assured her that everything was above board. Someone at the school later told our dad that it wasn't even close. The favorite story of our family about you is often told but is always worth retelling. You were 16 and you worked at one of the Men's stores downtown. Woody's or another one. You wore a coat and tie to work and the guys you worked with were older than you. You would go out after work with these guys for a beer. You looked so good and so cool that no one would think you were 16. At the time, Dave Fruetel was dating our sister Nancy. Dave is 21at the time and he runs into you at the bar and he says "Bruce, what are you doing here?" You said, "having a beer!". Dave is like "OK." In college, you changed with the times, having graduated from high school in 1970. You grew your hair out; long, bushy and red. Our dad had been cutting our hair in junior high and beyond except for you. You were the first of us to start going to a barber. The cool barber in Aggieville, Ray's I think. With a real red, white and blue barber's pole on each side of the door outside. They had Sport's Illustrated magazines to read while you waited. You managed a clothing store in Aggieville during college. It was a real hippy-dippy place that sold a lot of bell bottom jeans and t-shirts. You were the manager and you were a full time student. You hired and fired. I remember that you kept track of the cash register to the penny. But if some body else was working, meaning some girl that you hired, it would never come out right. They weren't stealing, they just couldn't make correct transactions. You could do it every time. Mom remembers that a K-State football player came into the store and left without paying for something. At the time, it wasn't hard to know the football players or even to know their names. You followed him out of the store and asked him if he was going to pay for that shirt or you would call Vince Gibson, the coach. You got the shirt back. In high school and then especially college, you and I were lucky to have and share the same friends. You lived with Bruce Crook and I lived with Jon Parry. You went out with Bryan Keys for
57: for awhile in college on Fridays. You had a standard date one semester to meet up with Bryan at noon or sometime in the afternoon. I know you had a really good time. I can't say what you did but perhaps you were doing volunteer work. You and I went on a memorable road trip in the summer of 1973 with my best friend from the neighborhood, Ernie Beaudet. You will find some pictures from that trip in this book. Ernie had a 2-door red Mustang. We filled that car with sleeping bags and clothes and went to Atlanta, Georgia. Our sister Nancy lived there with Dave who you had been drinking beer with in Manhattan at 16 years of age. We stopped at the Arch in St. Louis on the way and went up to the top of it. We also toured the Budweiser brewery and visited the zoo. Ernie was destined to be a banker which he still is to this day. Numbers meant a lot to Ernie. Ernie kept a book in the glove compartment to write down mileage, when he bought gas, how much he paid for it, etc. The first time we stopped to fill up Ernie grabbed his book. You said, "what is this?" Ernie explained his book and you said, "no, we're not doing that." And we didn't. I like to think that we were pretty bad ass, but the photos from the trip will show that we went on a road trip and camped and we also took coats and ties. There we are in photos with Nancy and Dave wearing coats and ties on our way out to dinner. We camped up at Lake Scott or something above Atlanta. When we got there it was closed, but we camped anyway, so we had the whole place to ourselves. Ernie has 5 sisters and he will never forget this trip. You managed to turn joining the National Guard into a very positive experience. You went to Fort Polk, LA. for basic training with your best friend Dennis Hedke. The Army allowed you to join with your friend so you could get killed together. It was your first time living away from home. You encountered guys who really didn't have many options. The Army might be as good as it got for them. They needed help figuring things out and you and Dennis helped them. Those guys would take their paycheck and go on leave and blow it in a weekend and you learned something from that. After basic training, you still had a commitment to the National Guard, meaning meetings every other weekend and summer camp. You could grow your hair back out after basic, but you bought a short hair wig to tuck your long red hair under for the meetings. Mom helped you bobby pin it in place the first time. After college is when the years move fast. We've never lived in the same city since. You got married, you had 3 kids and you started buying horses. That could be a typo but it's not because you have bought a lot of horses and you've also bought a lot of houses. You have a beach house. You're on your second one already. You've been quite successful. You could say you work for Warren Buffet and it would be true. That guy in Junior High who would have made a wonderful Student Council president; I bet he doesn't have horses or even one beach house. Some of your friends didn't fare as well as you but you never left them behind. You were a good friend until the end. You have always stayed in touch with your good friends like Joel, Dennis and Curt. And you stay in touch with your family and cousins too. You stayed in touch before it was so easy to do by email or text. I remember a while ago when your office had an 800 number and it was such a big deal because calling long distance was expensive. The whole family would call you because it was free. You
58: because it was free. You became news central for the family. The office had a receptionist who would answer the phone and direct the calls. Most of your family wouldn't leave their name because we didn't want to say "Call your mom, or call your little brother". I bet we really fooled the receptionist. She probably said, "Your Mom called". I love calling in on your work line now to hear your outgoing voicemail if you're unavailable. You do it every day and you have a deep voice anyway like our Dad did, and when you do it so damn early your voice is even deeper. Those are probably your first spoken words of the day...."this is Bruce Norvell. Today is July 19th and it's my 60th birthday. I could care less about anything today. I don't want to take your calls and I don't care if you get redirected or not." It sounds trite and trivial to say you are one of the nicest people I know, but it's true. You know what the right thing to do is. You live your life by actions and less so by words. You know that actions speak louder than words. People who know you love you. You don't make enemies, you make friends and then you keep them for a long time. I think you are a genius when it comes to common sense. I have nothing but admiration for you. I have a man crush on George Clooney and I have a man crush on you. Happy 60th birthday to the coolest guy I know. Your little brother, Gary | When I think of my Uncle Bruce, there are many different guys that come to mind. There's the kid who would give my dad a major dead leg in the middle of church, and watch little Gary wince in pain silently—while protecting himself from a retaliatory punch. There's the Bruce that "eats his cheetos with a fork," which Grammy would remind us of every time we had sandwiches at her house on Vista Lane. There's the Bruce who sold suits to men twice his age when he was in high school--and there's the Bruce that Uncle Dave saw having a beer at a bar in Kansas when he was only 16. Then there's "the voice" who existed only on the answering machine and always began messages with "Yo dude, its your brother." I was there when Uncle Bruce was the father of two beautiful brides, and I've seen him as a new Grandpa. He's played many roles, and has been loved in each and every one of them by everyone he's touched along the way. My Bruce is also an amazing Uncle and the best brother to my dad that a daughter could hope for. So, in the words of Bruce: "Yo. Happy Birthday, Man!" Love you, Zoe Norvell
59: Dear Cousin Bruce, A big birthday for you this year – that is good, you are catching up with the rest of us! We are so pleased you are joining the very wise crowd of 60 and older (actually hard to believe!?!?). I can remember you when you were quite small and our family would visit your family frequently (and vice versa). Trips to Manhattan (Marion and Derby) to see our first cousins were always fun. At that time, we traveled through Fort Riley and that route always slowed us down before we finally made it to your home on Houston Street. During these visits, the Kansas sisters/aunts/moms (Jean, Joy and Janice) would always fill the candy dishes for us to enjoy and each would bring a dish to share for the family dinner. Usually the visits lasted for an afternoon; but during the summer months, the kids might visit for several days or a week (without parents) and that is when we could really have fun! I remember swimming, visiting the zoo and playing all sorts of games while staying in Manhattan. Our first cousins were very special extended family and we were fortunate to have each other. Of course, you being a redhead created even more special memories. Something about the color of your hair added quite a flair that brunettes and blonde's didn't have. Not sure you always thought it was special, but I know I did. We went through our childhood, teen and college years and continued to visit and see each other as adults. The every three year Socolofsky reunion was a very special time for the sisters, first cousins and spouses and also for our children as they got to know their extended family from all over the country. The reunion hasn't happened for awhile but, in its place, we are getting together by attending our children's weddings. So..the tradition continues! Happy Birthday dear cousin Bruce – enjoy every moment. With love, Tammy (and J.L.) | Bruce was a darling and ornery little red-haired boy! We loved to have him come visit, usually with his little brother Gary. Bruce loved our attic and still “checks it out” when he comes to Marion to visit as an adult. We called him “Bootie” when he was little. We loved him then AND we still do!! Aunt Janice & Uncle Rosse
60: Dear Bruce, Here is my favorite Bruce story... Back in the olden days, when I was dating your big brother Mark, I was having dinner with you all in your big house on Houston Street. This was probably my first dinner with the Norvell family, so I was excited and nervous and, of course, wanted to make a good impression. The meal was over and I think you were in a hurry to go somewhere. You began to clear the dishes off the table and as you came to me, you said “You done?” and grabbed my plate. Your mother was mortified and said “Bruce!” but I just had to smile...because you made me feel like I was part of your family! So... I’m proud to be your sister-in-law. I love you lots and wish you continued blessings in your life! Paula Norvell P.S. I’ll also never forget the time you dressed up as Jack to my beanstalk and took me to my Chi O party because Mark was in Peoria. I wish I could find the pictures!
61: Happy 60th Birthday Uncle Bruce! You deserve the best on your birthday. When I think of Uncle Bruce I think of you always taking care of everyone else. You're the Uncle who always had interest in me and would take me to lunch when I lived in Atlanta or drive cross-country with to see us with Peter in the old suburban. You're a great example for us younger Uncles. You taught us how to care for our nieces and nephews and send birthday cards, how to accept and financially support stray animals and horses that our children will bring home, how to go bald gracefully and keep in shape (I bet you can still do more push-ups than me). I’m very excited that you're being celebrated on your big day. Know that Anne, Jack and Virginia and I wish you the happiest of Birthdays! Sincerely, Jon Fruetel | Uncle Bruce, Happiest Happy Birthday for you as you turn 60! My hope is that you will look around at your beautiful family and friends, and realize what a rich life you lead. You are surrounded by great people, because you are a great person. Thank you for always being that Uncle that was genuinely interested in us while growing up. You always sent cards for birthdays and spent time with us. Thank you. Thanks for the example you are. Celebrate! You have a lot to celebrate. All the best, Polly Borasino
62: Dick and Crockett Muncie
64: Dear Bruce, Congratulations on making it to the big 60 B-Day! Personally, I found this one particular birthday a great reason to celebrate. First, I would like to thank you for being a valuable part of my family. I am still amazed that you took a day off from work to paint my parents condo. Not just a day but you stuck it out until it was finished...the painting, moving furniture and then storing it in your house (not to mention the stress of the whole experience). And I am sure there are other selfless acts of concern and caring (like taking my parents to the emergency room) that I don't know about. And I know Kay will second this, thank you for supporting her during that turbulent period. Through the years you have had to deal with all the sister drama (and that has been going on for 30+ years). Not that this is a news flash to you but I just want you to know that is a significant accomplishment (with the wow factor). And I have to be honest I made my personal contribution to that problem. So thanks for still speaking to me. There are times during holidays that I would be aware of your quiet background contributions to the success of the family get together. Tolerating the dominant sister bantering and accommodating the unpredictable but inevitable family conflicts is award winning on your part. However, the fact that your family has always been a priority to you is the most admirable quality. For me words always fail to illustrate that relationship. So Bruce thank you for being an A+ brother-in-law. I realize a little too late that you have not been recognized for the family member you are. I am more than pleased to get to share in your 60th birthday celebration. And remember I am aware of ALL your affairs.... ;-) love ya, Shirley Muncie | Happy 60th birthday ol' Bruce! Doris and Ray Smith
65: “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” | dear
66: You Are Only Young Once By: Joel Goldberger June 5, 2012 I met Bruce in the summer of 1962 when I moved into the home I grew up in at 1017 Poyntz, which was about a little over two blocks from Bruce's house on Houston Street. Jim Bolton had also moved about a block away on Pierre the same summer. Dennis Hedke also moved about half block from Jim also on Pierre Street but I'm not sure of the moving sequence for Dennis. Somehow that summer I met Jim, Dennis and Bruce. Bruce was cool with a burr haircut and his nickname was Booty. I am not sure where that came from. I was a little bit of geek because all the other kids had been playing actively at basketball, baseball and football and about anything else you can think of. Me, on the other hand, at 10 years old my dad was 62 and I never had a baseball, football, or basketball in my hand before. Since kids can be so nice at that age, I got a lot of kidding for being big and uncoordinated from the kids my age and even some of the younger boys. The term lummox comes to mind! I seemed to make friends with everybody though, possibly by buying candy for all at Johnnie’s neighborhood store! That was a bit of a tough time, but Bruce never joined in the kidding. Although Bruce and I were not best buds or anything, Bruce always accepted me for who I was even when school started and I found out the styles at the school I came from (Woodrow Wilson) was not near as cool as the new school (Roosevelt), he was still my friend. I remember the first day; one of the toughest guys in school, Tim G hollered something at me asking if I could pull my pants any higher. Kids are great. One of our most notable elementary school memories comes from the time that Bruce and probably Jim supported me to be elected "Patrol Lieutenant". At the same time, Bruce was Capt. I think, and Jim was the other Lieutenant. It was really an event when we were caught all riding on one bicycle. The principal talked to us over an hour about spanking us but decided to call an assembly and talk about it. We also got caught throwing snowballs at a girl. We had another assembly. What role models we were! Bruce, Jim, Dennis and I spent a lot of quality time together doing such things as riding bicycles while smoking cigarettes, hanging out in pool halls and playing pinball machines or hanging at the Student Union at K-State. (Bruce had the least freedom for hanging out followed by Dennis. I am not sure if Jim or my parents ever knew where we were!) Apparently all of us had decided that smoking was a good thing to try at a very young age, if you want to be cool! It became evident quickly that Bruce had the unfortunate circumstances of having parents who cared where he was. When Mr. Norvell whistled, the kids came running quickly. Bruce was also unfortunate that his parents were the only ones that didn't smoke of our group. So, being the nice boys we were, naturally we had to blow smoke on Bruce so he would get in trouble. I know that because of my own insecurity, I followed the crowd and participated. I can still picture 4 boys in the bathroom at the Conoco station (might've been Sinclair at the time) hot-boxing one cigarette and filling the room with smoke. To this day, I'm not sure how Bruce was ever allowed to hang out with us. We were real jerks. I'm just glad we all stopped smoking a very long time ago. The standards Bruce has lived by since I met him the summer before 5th grade are what I believe has made him so successful in life. Bruce has always been his own man. He was a style setter, not a follower. He has never joined a crowd against any person that I know of and has treated all his friends and girlfriends better than anybody else I know.
67: I remember how difficult it was for Bruce to tell me I needed to start wearing deodorant! I must've been at least 12 years old and nobody in my family told me I stink! Bruce's mom told him and he told me and I started sharing my parents "Yodora deodorant “ which cost me some more kidding until I broke down and bought my own! In spite of the smoking and hanging out and playing pool, we were really not bad boys. We had some memorable times just sneaking out when spending the night with others and roaming the neighborhoods. I don't remember ever doing anything particularly bad, but it did really seem like we are getting away with something. This was especially true when we climbed up the trellis at my house and sat out on the porch roof watching the police cars go by! Once we were walking as a group about 4 AM and the police challenged us. We told them we were going to mass at the Catholic Church with Dennis. They let us go but they watched to make sure we went to church. We had one of our finest moments when Bruce, Jim, and I sat in the pews at the Catholic mass (which none of us had ever seen before) while Dennis participated in the service which was a lot in Latin. Jim was making Bruce and I laugh so hard by mimicking the Latin words that we got serious attention from a large group of nuns sitting on the other side of the pews. I remember Bruce kept somewhat under control but I just about lost it laughing so hard and trying to fake like I was coughing. I'm not sure if we were invited to leave or we just left, but I was glad to get out in one piece. We had some memorable nights at the various dances that were held around Manhattan but we managed to survive our early teens and at least get to high school. Now, back to "good Bruce". I have been to almost all the reunions from high school which are held every five years since we graduated in 1970. I don't think that I've ever spoken to anyone that did not like Bruce. That is probably why he won the position of Student Council President in 9th grade with his famous "Dear A students, B students, C students, D students and friends” speech. Bruce was not a bad student at all but was running against a 3 sport letterman and straight A student. By kidding about the differences in their "qualifications" Bruce showed that he can relate to the rest of the students better than his opponent. I thought about it many times, wondering what his charisma secret might be but, I think it is just that he is respectful, fair and honest in his dealings with everybody. We would kid Bruce for complaining sometimes when he didn't like what we were doing but, if Bruce didn't like it, he said it! Again, as long as I've known him, he's always been his own man. In high school, we didn't really hang out because Bruce always had dates but I did spend a small fortune in clothing that he sold in his jobs during high school and college. He has always been my clothing advisor for business, casual or whatever clothing I needed. While I was visiting Bruce at his store, we always had some time to talk and even as adults after college, I've always appreciated his insight as well as advice on clothes, business and personal relationships, business etiquette, finances and other difficult decisions. Bruce always seemed to have dates with some of the nicest girls and I am happy that he was fortunate enough to marry one of my favorite women that I knew in high school, Kay. Bruce was different than all the other guys that I knew. Most guys brag about their manly exploits but in all the years I've known Bruce, that subject was never discussed because Bruce treated his dates with respect just like he treated his other friends. And, I can say, in 50 years of friendship and curiosity on my part, high school dates remain personal. During college for Bruce, I was living in Memphis meeting my wife Debbie when he was getting ready to graduate. During the college years for me
68: I was living in Memphis meeting my wife Debbie when he was getting ready to graduate. During the college years for me starting in 1981 when I returned to K-State, and for Bruce through 1976, we only visited each other when we were home visiting our parents. Bruce was with me when I was married in October 1976 and I was with him when he was married later that same month. Bruce's daughter Jessica is still the first baby that I can remember holding even including my own family. As grown-ups, Bruce and Kay have raised three awesome kids. At the same time, they worked diligently on each house that they have lived in such that they have improved their position every time they have sold because of their sweat equity. Bruce and Kay have been our role models for taking care of their family in the American way, by hard work, living right and making good decisions. I think Bruce's professional success is a result of those same traits as well as the respectful, fair and honest way he has treated people as long as I can remember. I rarely discuss religion with Bruce but I think he is a wonderful witness to his family, my family and all the other people he touches because of how he lives his life. One other special thing about Bruce is he knows how to be a good friend. He has always tried to keep Dennis and me in touch so we can get together over the years even though Dennis lives a lot farther away. He has also tried to keep in touch with Kurt Romans over the years. Every year, since we both were married, I believe that we have got together at least one time. Bruce has a client in Knoxville so at least once a year he goes to a football game with him, stays with us, and always brings kid(s) with him. As result, our two children are very close to Bruce's children. Because of this family friendship, our kids and I have been able to enjoy watching his children graduate from high school and a couple weddings and Bruce has seen both of my kids graduate from high school and Jamie from college also. I don't know how some people describe what a best friend is but, I believe that true friends make the effort to keep the friendship alive. I know that I have done a lot because I love Bruce and his family, but Bruce has led the way in keeping our friendship together for so many years. It's hard to say that you love another guy but, I love and respect Bruce more than any other person (except Debbie) that I have met in my life and I feel the same about his entire family including Joy who is having the time of her life at almost age 90 in Nashville! I want to close by saying that Bruce has always been a role model for me and I feel very blessed to have a friend like Bruce. You are the man! Thank you Bruce for your friendship and sharing your family with mine. I wish I looked as good as you! Joel
69: Dear Bruce: Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!! Where have the years gone! Your sweet daughter has asked us to write a note to include in your birthday book so here goes: It has been so wonderful getting to know you and your family over the years. I feel like you are a brother-in-law instead of just a friend. You and Joel have such a wonderfully unique friendship, and me and the kids have gotten to benefit from that. The kids consider you Uncle Bruce; Peter, Jessica, and Adrienne cousins, and Kay is Aunt Kay. We have so many incredibly happy memories including visits in Manhattan, the birth of each child, the trips to the mountains. Remember when we would all meet for a weekend in a chalet, especially the time Joel woke everybody up early to watch the stunning sunrise? I still remember watching the kids play in the river....especially Adrienne with her baby dolls. You have been such a loyal friend, and we are all thankful that you and your family are a part of our lives. No doubt there will be many many more wonderful times to come. Once again, Happy Birthday!!!! All the best, Debbie
70: Happy 60th Booty! At this moment I’m listening to a CD of “Blind Faith”, which should upon reading this note, elicit a smile and warm feelings all over. We would listen to this and so much other spiritually significant music while ‘musing’ around the hills surrounding Manhattan. Indeed, we solved many deeply vexing philosophical problems whilst on those journeys in one of a number of VW bugs. Bruce had the Cadillac of Bugs (’67 vintage), while I just had the modernized ’69 version. Ultimately, mine got ‘souped up’, painted a special metallic blue by Phil Morgan in one of the shop garages at Walters Construction Company. He did a masterful job, and I got a lot of favorable comments on that little buggy. No doubt, Manhattan High was never quite the same after the Class of ’70 left for the multiple greener pastures across America. I don’t know the total headcount of ’70 grads ho went on to K-State for undergrad work, but it was significant. Of course we did our part to reconstruct parts of Ft. Riley and Junction City during one of those summers, I’m thinking just after high school. Days with guys like Don Mills, Bruce and the others on that crew are very distant memories, mostly because of what we did after work, on the way home. There we found the true meaning of the Blind Faith song titled “I Can’t Find My Way Home”. Now, this story has a heavy amount of editorializing, so not all ‘facts’ may turn out to be facts, but I only get one chance to do this deal, so there. This hasn’t even touched the many nights we had to ‘sneak out’ to carouse around City Park, or wherever else Joel forced to go. Joel was a lot bigger than me, so I pretty much had to do what he and Bruce told me to do. That’s probably enough said about that. Gary really started, along with Bruce Crook, to play a larger role on our lives as we spanned out to Keats and really started farming, you know contributing to America’s bread basket. We were not about to allow food shortages to occur, and so we had to plant tomatoes and other crops. Some of those crops made their way into brownies, as sweet Kay can attest to, given that she became a Nutritionist and all. She had to do the quality control, and I must say she turned into quite a cook, and of course one of the best mothers on the face of the earth. Once she got a hold of Bruce’s heart, I could see the writing on the wall, and so my days as a long range companion were certainly numbered. As I look back, merging up to the present, I can only say that I am very happy that such a match was found and developed to the incredible extent it has... Mark, what an incredible older brother. Very straight and narrow, a model for us to attempt to live up to. To this day, a great Christian influence on all those around him, we could use a whole lot more men in America like him today. Way to go Mark. Nancy- one could not have hoped for a better older sister. So pretty, even to this day. Larry and Joy had some incredible genes. She was one of those older sisters that I could feel very comfortable around, though we probably spent a total of about 45 minutes in each others presence from 1961-1967, which I’m guessing is when she graduated MHS. One of the classiest people I’ve ever met, and no doubt a very favorable influence on your life, even to this day. We have had some significant losses. (Now I’m hearing “Sea of Joy”). Absolutely bringing tears to my eyes to think of Rick, Jim Norton, John Skaggs, Jimbo, to mention but a few. Gotta go a different direction, so just remember them when we can. We all had the best parents money could buy. Incredible freedoms were granted, and we all lived to tell about it, miraculously. Norvell’s, Bolton’s, Walter’s, Goldberger’s; how blessed we all were, and are. Larry, Betty, Ethel, Alex and Mrs. G. are all in a better place now and it is impossible to calculate how much we truly owe each of them for the favorable influences each made on our lives. Nonetheless, Arnold, Joy and Vaughn remain to remind us of those days gone by.
71: So Bruce, I say way to go, you are absolutely leading the pack with fresh grandkids and a beautifully blossoming family with sweet Kay. Jessica and Adrienne are just beautiful young women and Mr. Peter is likely to fall into the loveline soon, as I seem to recall that he may be moving down the track following his sisters at the altar. If not now, it won’t likely be long. Lots of girls to choose from in Georgia, so I hear. Days like these don’t come around too often, and I say hear, hear, and raise a bountiful toast to one of the most sincere, faithful and gracious friends a man could ever have. Certainly, you deserve to be held in high regard by friends and family alike, and may you feel almost this good when we hit 100! God Bless, Dennis
72: Colleagues & Mentors
73: Genesis and GenRe | throughout the years...
74: various work functions, celebrations and parties over the years with clients, colleagues and friends
78: Dear Bruce, Jessica asked your friends and coworkers for letters in recognition of your sixtieth birthday. I have no interest in serving up tired old bromides about old age, mainly because sixty sounds pretty darn young to me. More importantly, I have absolutely no talent for being witty or entertaining. But I would like to offer a few serious thoughts that I would like to think Jessica, Adrienne, and Peter would share with their children who would, in turn, pass this along to subsequent generations of your family. I want your great, great grandchildren to know what a terrific patriarch of the Norvell clan you were way back in the decades bracketing the turn of the century. So for the benefit of future generations reading this fifty years from now, here are ten specific things I think they should understand and appreciate about you: 1.Papa Bruiser was first and foremost the most honest man in America. He was literally Abraham Lincoln-like in his inability to misrepresent the truth. He could not bring himself to tell even a “white lie” regardless of the circumstances or potential repercussions. For example, while on National Guard duty as a college student, he was brought before the CO on a disciplinary infraction that conceivably could have resulted in his discharge. His CO said that all Bruiser had to do was say it was a misunderstanding and that he was innocent. Bruiser said, no, he was, in fact, guilty. The CO was so impressed with his integrity that he let him off anyway. This is how Bruiser lived his life: He conducted himself according to the highest ethical standards and encouraged others to meet his benchmark. 2.Papa Bruiser excelled at his work. He held a number of important underwriting positions with General Reinsurance Corp, generally acknowledged to be the premier company in its industry. As a Vice President of the firm, he was diligent, conscientious, tough, and pragmatic. He was always the first underwriter in the office in the morning and, if he didn’t have a client lunch, often ate at his desk. He earned the reputation as the hardest working underwriter in the office. Giving “a hundred and ten percent” was not a cliché with Bruiser but simply a measure of the extent of his effort each day. 3.Papa Bruiser loved his family. He loved his family more than anybody else I know. He enjoyed spending time with his children, not because he was “supposed to” but because he sincerely enjoyed their company. He counseled them, helped them, supported them, consoled them. He relished in their successes and helped them through their set-backs. I don’t know that Bruiser was the perfect father but he sure was close. Most importantly, Bruiser’s family loved him as much as he loved them. 4.It’s fair to say that Papa Bruiser was not a very patient man. He suffered fools poorly and was easily frustrated when others didn’t demonstrate the same level of professionalism that he demanded of himself. But this wasn’t actually a flaw; in fact, it served to set a standard that others attempted to meet. 5.Papa Bruiser could be blunt in his interpersonal dealings with office colleagues, clients, and friends. I would regularly advise people not to ask for Bruiser’s opinion if they didn’t want his honest, unvarnished response. Here’s an example (perhaps apocryphal but still representative): Overweight boss to Bruce: “I think I’m gaining weight -- Can you tell I’m gaining weight?” Bruce: “Yes, I can. In fact, that’s how you got your nickname.” Overweight Boss: “Really? I didn’t know I had a nickname. What is it?” Bruce: “Lumpy!”
79: To my friend Bruce Norvell on the occasion of his 60th birthday! Dear Bruiser, Welcome to the other side! I beat you to 60 by nearly a year. It's not that bad if you like: 1)Fading vision 2)Loss of hearing 3)Creaking bones 4) Colonoscopies 5)Other bad things but due to my 60 year old memory loss, I can't remember them. You are not only a great friend, great person but also a great professional man. If only you didn't gloat so much over Kansas State kicking my Longhorns on a regular basis. I could picture you down at the horse barn with a beer and a “Backwoods Smoke”, giggling, telling your horses how the ‘Cats whipped Texas. But you covered yourself masterfully by trying to be humble! What a disguise artist you are! I will always remember my extreme enthusiasm for a given account and my silver tongued plea for you to write it. After my beautiful email, reminiscent of Gary “Rooster” Mehr himself, only to get a two letter reply from you..”OK”. I would think what in the hell is this? Come on Bruce, jump up and down, rah-rah-rah.but I got “OK”!! Bruiser, come on man, get excited about this account! Seriously, Bruiser, you saved my butt on many occasions. I will never forget you going to bat for all of us in Longview when times got really, really tough. You are true blue and I genuinely appreciate your friendship, then and now. You are a good Christian man, with a warm heart and good sense of humor. Your word is your bond and that doesn't happen too often these days. I am privileged to be your friend. Happy birthday! I hope this year and the upcoming years are the very best of your life. You certainly deserve it! “Love ya man”, (remember this???) Tommy Lloyd | Overweight Boss: “Lumpy!? That’s not my nickname!” Bruce: “Oh, yes it is -- Everybody calls you ‘Lumpy’!” So the point is, don’t ask for Bruiser’s opinion if you don’t want the truth. 6.Papa Bruiser was a voracious eater. In fact, he could devour food faster than anybody I ever saw. At a formal luncheon, I once personally witnessed Bruiser clean his entire plate of every last morsel of food before the rest of the guests at his table had even been served. (I noticed this only because I heard a sucking sound and realized it was Bruce inhaling his lunch.) But Bruiser never gained weight and kept himself in good physical condition. Still, the man could eat! 7.Papa Bruiser was always an exceptionally dapper dresser. When suits were the uniform of the day at the office, he was always immaculately attired: Three-button suit, starched button-down collar shirt, regimental stripped tie, cordovan tassel loafers, everything just right. He could very well have been a mannequin in the store window at Brooks Brothers. Although he adopted the “business casual” look of golf shirts and khakis when this became standard, he never seemed to be entirely comfortable without a suit. 8.Papa Bruiser loved to laugh. I have seen Bruiser laugh so long and so hard that his face would turn as red as an over-ripe tomato and he would literally have tears pouring down his cheeks. He loved life and loved to tell stories. And others loved to be around him. 9.Papa Bruiser never forgot his friends. He kept in touch with friends and coworkers wherever they moved and regardless of how many years had passed between face-to-face visits. And since Bruiser was so well liked and well respected, others made a similar effort to keep in touch with him. 10.Papa Bruiser had the heart of a musician. As a young adult, he played the saxophone with gusto. As a college student, he was a member of the Kansas State Marching Band while his father was the Band Director. This must have made Papa Bruiser’s father the happiest and proudest band director in the world. So this is my summary of Papa Bruiser’s character. As a coworker for well over twenty years, I can attest that he was certainly no saint (none of us are). But he was certainly among the very best of us. Future generations of the Norvell clan have lots to be proud of. And, lots to live up to. Sincerely Gary Mehr
80: Bruiser: Turning 60? Happy Birthday to you! Do you realize that this means we’ve been working together at GenRe for over half your life span and pushing two thirds of mine! It’s pretty incredible these days to have worked for one organization for such a long period. Yet change has been all around us, and moving into your 60’s means even more change to come. Let’s take a look back. When you joined GenRe in May of ’79, we had just moved into Piedmont Center. The office complex was still under construction. Our suite had burgundy carpet, padded gray fabric walls, and we had real desks instead of workstations. You had hair and a bushy mustache (I have proof). Some of our coworkers smoked and drank in the office, and our lunches and dinners were lively and lengthy. We’ve moved the office a number of times since, the people have all settled down over the years, and our culture has changed, but I have wonderful memories of times you and I got to spend with Bob McDonough, Gary Mehr, Olivia Hurst and Lonnie VanHouten, to name a few from years past. These days, we enjoy spending more time with friends and family than coworkers, and thankfully, working on weekends is a thing of the past rather than a norm! Many of those we worked with have moved on, though a few of the original crew are still with us. I got to see your three kids grow up; two got married and now have transported you to proud grand fatherhood. We’ve seen GenRe reorganize on numerous occasions, one of which provided you and me an opportunity to move into the newly formed Genesis. Remember when you were my manager? Processes have been centralized and decentralized, management, philosophies and products have changed, Genesis and General Star merged, and now Bob Jones has just taken the helm of G2. You and I have managed to survive it all. Darlene Trembulak once wisely said to me in the early 80’s that if any particular reorganization wasn’t to my liking, just wait around a bit because it would change again. How true that was; I have quoted her often to newer coworkers. I think we should update the adage about death and taxes because change is another certainty in life, and we’ve witnessed plenty of it. And speaking of other types of changes, remember when we did everything on paper? I recall all too well the sea of file folders all over the office and what a challenge it was to find that one file someone was urgently seeking. It was quite a change when we got the Confer system and those dumb terminals in the mid 80’s and then morphed to desktop computers in the early 90’s. Thankfully, work now is transportable to wherever we are via electronic files, laptops, remote connections, and many of us benefit from the opportunity to work outside the traditional office. All in all, these are pretty remarkable changes to have witnessed over the years. The best is yet to come in your 60’s. Your family will continue to grow, retirement will come someday soon, and you’ll start a brand new chapter in life. As for me, I’m sticking with last name number three, Frank number two, and will hang around G2 a little bit longer before I join Frank in retirement. He recommends it highly, by the way. So Happy Birthday, Bruiser. I wish you all the best in your 60’s! Sylvia Brewer
81: Yo! I first met Bruce, when I interviewed with Genesis (GenRe) back in 1988. I liked him immediately as 1) he was a fellow midwesterner 2) he was clearly a likable guy, and 3) he enjoyed a beer or two prior to dinner when I interviewed. I spent about four (mostly enjoyable) years working with Genesis and got to travel and spend time with Bruce during our many business trips, boondoggles, etc. I remember most how soft-spoken he was (is) in front of clients and co-workers, yet how volatile he could get when the nostrils flared, the phone slammed down, and he gave whole new meaning to how fiery redhead tempers can be (yes, back then he had thick auburn-red hair, at least on the sides of his head). I talked with Bruce often and he helped me through some tough times in my career. I also learned a lot from Bruce professionally, as he was great with both clients, and with other Genesis folks. He largely spent time trying to fix things that one of us 'rookies' had screwed up, or working on 'damage control' when our boss (who shall remain nameless) had pissed off somebody in Stamford. Always the diplomat, he was usually successful with both. I always admired (and still do) Bruce's love for family. He speaks so very proudly of his parents, his siblings, but especially his kids and now his grandbabies! He was always a softie, but I have a feeling that the new grandkids are pulling out this trait even more than in the past. You always get the sense of pride when he talks about Jess, Adrienne, and Peter. And rightly so! What's so cool, is that Bruce and Kay have so many more years to look forward to with family at the holidays, over at Kiawah, etc. A quick story about the softie he can be - I was with Bruce in Houston years ago on a business trip and we had a nice enjoyable three hour dinner (with drinks) before we parted ways with the client and headed back to our hotel, which was in downtown Houston. I was driving the rental car, and he was settled into the passenger seat and getting very quiet. In fact, I thought he had dozed off. Then, softly and somewhat drunkenly, he commented "That skyline is sooo beautiful". Now, the Houston skyline is pretty nice, all the buildings lit up and everything, but he seemed to be downright overwhelmed and breathless. Like he was looking at a great work of art for the first time. I thought he was going to want to hold my hand or something. I immediately burst into laughter. He tried to gather himself and laughed off his comment too, albeit with some mild embarrassment. I still think of that when I'm in Houston. I'm really glad to have called Bruce a friend since I met him 25 or so years ago. He's always quick to ask how our kids are doing, sports, school, activities, etc. and truly interested, not just doing it to be nice. Bruiser - If I can't be there for your 60th, consider me there in spirit. Happy Birthday my man, and I owe you a couple of cold ones next time we're together! Lonnie
82: Bruce, So did Jessica surprise you? Ha-Ha! I know she did! What a wonderful idea she had and how thoughtful she and your family were putting all of this together! But it is not a surprise you have such a wonderful family because you are a wonderful person! I can’t believe we know each other almost 7 years! Yikes.. time has flown by! I will never forget how welcoming and friendly you were when I moved to Atlanta. You were and are always still there to help me and have always included me in meetings and meeting new people. You always look out for me. I will never forget that. I truly enjoy sitting next to you at work talking about our families, old Gen Re stories, and of course sports! I think you, me and Fumo make a great team! You are so much fun to work with and to be around. And more importantly I am proud to call you friend! Have a great birthday Bruce! Enjoy your day! Love Regina | Bruce, When Jessica suggested sending you a greeting on the occasion of this significant birthday, I thought about things I have come to admire about you over the 20 years that I have known you and I realized that the list was at least 10 items long. So, in the interest of brevity and with apologies to David Letterman, here is my list of the "Top Ten Things I Admire About Bruce W. Norvell": 10. Bruce is punctual. If he says he will be somewhere at 5:30AM on a Monday morning, you can be sure he will be there by 5:28. 9. Bruce is dependable. If Bruce says he will have donuts with him when he shows up at 5:30AM (or 5:28), you don't have to worry about going hungry. 8. Bruce is knowledgeable. Like the Middle Aged Man from Saturday Night Live, Bruce knows how things in life work. If your car battery is dead and you want to know how to jump start it without blowing yourself up, call Bruce. 7. Bruce is capable. Not only can he tell you how to jump start that car (or put in a new faucet), he can actually do those things, and more. 6. Bruce is a good judge of character. If he tells you someone is an #&*$@*+!!! There's a good chance that person probably is. 5. Bruce is diligent. He will work tirelessly for his family, friends and clients. 4. Bruce is loyal. Once you are a friend of Bruce's, (no #&*$@*+s need apply) he is probably your friend for life. 3. Bruce is honest. Bruce is one of the few humans who may be genetically incapable of lying. If Bruce's mom had asked a young Bruce, "Who trampled my flower garden?!" I imagine he would have said, "It was I", even when everyone knows that "Not me!" is what you're supposed to say. 2. Bruce is a good husband. Bruce and Kay have been married for more than thirty years and together they have raised a wonderful, loving and close knit family. And, the number one reason I admire Bruce, is that he is the type of dad (and grandfather) that all dad's should aspire to be. Bruce, Happy 60th. I hope it's a great year and I wish you many more years of happiness and good health. -John Fumo
83: Dear Bruce: It does not seem possible that we first met more than 20 years ago. It was a particularly difficult time for me professionally as I had just taken over responsibility for our workers’ compensation program, and found out within a few short months that the program was ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS in the hole! Our reinsurer had abandoned us and we were looking for someone to step in. Many underwriters came, looked at our financials, and quickly ran the other way. Then you showed up. You sat with us. You listened. And you believed. You put your pen and your professional reputation on the line for our program because you believed in us. And twenty years later, that $100 million deficit has turned into more than $190 million in surplus. Who could have imagined? I have repeated the above story many times in private conversations and in public forums. I have talked about how profoundly grateful I am for your confidence in us, at a time when no one else would even consider working with us. I have talked about how that initial meeting turned into a wonderful win-win professional partnership. I often cite our relationship with you and your Genesis colleagues as an example of what a professional relationship should be. I want to take this opportunity to once again say THANK YOU for your faith in us. But this isn’t a letter about our professional relationship, as wonderful as it has been. This is a letter about a friendship that grew out of that professional partnership. Somewhere along the way, you stopped being just our underwriter and became a dear friend. More than talking about exposures and losses and claims and all that insurance stuff, I came to look forward to discussing our lives, including spouses, children (both the two-legged and four-legged variety), childhoods, travel and everything else friends talk about. Even though I’ve never met your beautiful family, I feel as though I know them. I rejoiced in your life’s milestones—the new house, your daughters’ weddings, Peter’s graduation and professional start, the arrival of the first precious grandbaby and most recently, your soon-to-be TV debut! I can’t even begin to count the number of meals we have shared in so many different cities across the country. I look forward to each one of those evenings, not only because I know it will be a wonderful meal, but because it will be sharing an evening with a good friend. I am so sorry I can’t be with you and your wonderful family to celebrate your milestone birthday. (I am celebrating my own double-nickel birthday and my 10th wedding anniversary that day.) I hope the next decade is the very best one yet, and that our future holds many more opportunities for time together. At the end of my days, when I look back on the list of people who made a special impact in my life, you will surely be very near the top of that list. Happy birthday my dear friend! And many, many more! Dubravka Romano
84: Dear Handyman Bruce, I will forever be eternally grateful to you for traveling more than thirty five miles from your home in Roswell, GA to my newly acquired home in Stone Mountain, GA in 2002 to work tirelessly for hours clearing over grown bushes in the background. You were also handy with the saw, cutting off tree limbs as needed. Being the do-it-yourself type of person that you are; I was pleasantly surprised and happy when you spent time connecting the washer and dryer. After working those long hours, you took that 45 minutes ride back home and left my home looking all so different and special from when you arrived. Thanks a million for continuing to be my handyman go to guy for advice, after all these years. Bruce, Happy 60th Birthday..and blessings to you for many, many more to come. Love, Pauline Geter, co-worker and friend | Bruiser My very best Birthday wishes my friend!!! I hope you have many more years of great health and happiness surrounded by your family and friends. I meet you when I was just a “puppy” in the reinsurance business. Joining Genesis in Atlanta right after my graduate school was the best thing that could have happened to me since it gave me the opportunity to work alongside great people like you! Saying that I was impressed with how cool, calm and collected you dealt with some of the largest and most complex accounts in the office is an understatement by far. I admire your “steady in the boat” approach to life, your discipline and your self-confidence. I will always be looking forward to the next opportunity to catch-up. With regards, AMM
85: Dear Bruiser, As sixty is the new forty, I do not know what all the fuss is about for a guy who will live to be at least one-hundred. But Jessica asked me to write a letter to one of my good buds so how could I say no? Happy 60th dude. It is said, the older one gets, the faster time goes by - so it is hard to believe our relationship started fifteen years ago! I recall my initial exposure to BFR (i.e., Bruiser From Roswell) as if it was yesterday. I thought you were one of the toughest human beings I ever met. During my first week of employment you demonstrated, for example, that the phone had two unique purposes: 1) An underwriter’s most important tool; 2) A wonderful stress reliever. The way you made sure we answered after the second ring was a testament to client service – “ARE YOU GOING TO ANSWER YOUR PHONE?!!!” I am still haunted by this. And the fact that your phone never shattered into a gazillion pieces when you slammed it still boggles everyone’s mind. We had the strongest phones at GENESIS, didn’t we? Years went by allowing us to loosen up a bit, becoming close friends. Remember the drive back from Hendersonville, TN with you, Barry and Fumo? We were coming down the south end of Mount Eagle in a Lincoln Town Car. It was a sunny, crisp day. One could see for miles, and then it happened. At 55 mph I complained of “loose steering” and intentionally cut the wheel a quarter of a turn. We all thought Barry had pooped his pants. And then there was the time in Texas when we returned our rental car. I was driving and you were silently thinking...; “Just a few more hundred feet with this crazy man and I will have exited from this car uninjured.” And then it happened. A quick yank of the emergency brake, a hard turning of the steering wheel and there we were, ninety degrees from where we were just a second ago, driving into the rental car facility. Everyone who saw that maneuver just stared with disgust or amazement, or both. Time went by and I watched your family grow as you watched my family start. Along the way you lost your Dad and I lost both my parents. Still, we never let up on our monthly lunches, phone calls or goof-ball emails. I look forward to those lunches! Bruce, thank you for the wonderful times, the fatherly advice and the work-in-progress memories still unfolding. Your bud, Steve Pacholick
86: Dear Bruce, I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays on your very special day! You've earned another chance to act like a kid again, regardless of the year on the calendar! And what a perfect occasion for me to tell you what a wonderful friend you have been for so many years. Though we started as colleagues more than 24 years ago (has it really been that long?!), I will always consider our relationship one of life long friendship, filled with fond memories and adventures, as well as lots of hard work! You were always available and willing to assist me in my TASB endeavors, which helped to make my career there an incredible, positive experience. But what I will cherish most are the acts of kindness you have always shown me, including coming to my mom's funeral, listening to my never-ending pup stories, attending my dad's movie, and of course the many, many meals we shared when our travels coincided. Though I retired from TASB and gave up the “corporate” life, I will never give up our friendship and the laughter that comes with it. I am honored to call you a friend! So I wish for you many more years of love and happiness with your amazing family, good health to enjoy life, and the knowledge that you will always have a friend in me! Big birthday hugs from Texas and remember, everything is bigger in Texas!! Happy Birthday, Bruce! Love, Doralee Thrasher
87: July 21, 2012 Dear Bruce, When your daughter Jessica asked me to contribute to this book of pictures, letters and remembrances the attached picture immediately came to mind. I can vividly recall how excited Warren Buffett was to have his picture taken with the two of us. He may be the third richest men in the world and the greatest investor of all time but to Warren, this brief moment with the two of us was, well, priceless! For the record, a copy of this picture adorns my desk here in Stamford and you should take no offense at the fact that in my copy, you have been airbrushed out. Only room for one of us with the big guy, sorry. Now, it’s on to acknowledging and celebrating one of life’s mile markers and for you to accept the fact that there are more days behind you then there are ahead of you. Best not to think about that too much. Before I go any further I want to commend your daughter Jessica for taking on this labor of love. Aren’t daughters just the best? From my own personal experience when I turned 60 (1 year, 11mos, 3 days ago-but who’s counting?) male offspring, of which I have two, simply view this momentous event as an endless source for humor and an opportunity to ridicule the aging. Be thankful you have girls in the mix, even if you don’t have hair (sorry, I had to sneak in the required hair reference). Well done Jessica! Attention male offspring Peter! Be kind to your father today. Isn’t it just amazing that we have known each other now for some 33 years? Wow! Looking back on those early days in Atlanta (I, as you will recall, was “asked” to leave the south a short time before you joined us from the CNA), what’s really amazing is that either of us actually made it past 30 let alone make it to 60. Oh, what stories I could tell of my time in Atlanta and yours (relax, I’ll share no secrets here) and what a cast of characters we were: Uncle Bob, Charlie, God bless them both, John, Gerry, Mark, Jim, Cherie, Gary, Olivia, Sylvia, Brendan, Bill, Ron, Ed, Steve, Dale and a half a dozen others whose names I can’t recall. Don’t worry about forgetting people’s names. It’s expected. You are now a member of that proud fraternity of old people and folks readily forgive you for not remembering their names, or for that matter, what you had for breakfast. On a slightly more serious note, while we missed working together in Atlanta by months, our relationship has endured, albeit remotely, these last three decades. We, of course, have had our “moments” which comes with the job but throughout the passing of the years I have always considered you a trusted friend and confidante. However, while I have stayed at the 5 Star “Flip Flop Inn”, sadly I have never met Jessica, Adrienne, Peter or your lovely wife Kay, though I feel as if I know them all the same. Yes, we have talked about business matters often, yet at the end of our many conversations the discussion invariably turned to family. I know you’ve heard me say “remember, it’s only insurance” more than once when someone in the office loses perspective. While you are rightfully prideful of your work, you have always known what is really important in life; the family and friends that celebrate with you today. So, Happy 60th Birthday Bruce! Enjoy the day; you’ve earned it, even if you won’t remember who was there or what was on the menu. Warmest Regards, Chris Fallon
88: thoughtful friends
89: Dear Bruce, Happy 60th Birthday! This is as good a time as any to reflect on how much I have enjoyed working and doing business travel with you over the years—and as our ages suggest, there are quite a few of them. You probably recall me saying (more than once) that I have been on more trips with you than anyone—excepting my wife Marilyn! And I remember these trips and your company fondly. Specific memories that come to mind: * BBQ in Longview * Surviving that drive from Nashville to Atlanta with Steve P at the wheel * Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway with you and John Fumo on the way to Richmond from * Roanoke (too bad it was foggy that day) * Etouffee in Longview * Driving to Austin from Longview and stopping at Dairy Queen * Eating catfish in Longview (by the lake) I know we met with clients during these trips but I don’t recall much about this Fortunately, I don't do nearly as much business travel now, but I do hope to have another trip with you before our respective retirements, “for old time's sake”. Any ideas? I’m sure we can gin something up. Even more than these travel memories, I value your friendship over the years, Bruce. I admire your steadiness, reliability, and integrity and have continually observed these aspects of your character in your dealings with others. On July 21 Marilyn and I plan to be in Uganda on a church mission trip, and so I will be far away from the celebration of your birthday. But I will be thinking of you then. Best regards, Barry
90: Who is Bruce Norvell? I first met Bruce so long ago that I cannot even remember the exact year. Bruce has always welcomed me into his family with no questions asked. In 2004, I knew I had officially become part of the Norvell family when I went with the rest of the family to the (original) Flip Flop Inn in Kiawah. It remains one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. Bruce, Kay & their children treated me as one of their own. There are not many families like that, and I am privileged to be part of such a great clan. I can remember back in high school that Bruce was always so considerate to allow our entire high school to have our events at his house. No questions asked-Bruce was generous enough to have hundreds of teenagers running around his home. It’s things like that which best describe the attitude of Bruce Norvell. Bruce is also a forgiving man. I have a humorous story to help describe this. One time, I was with Adrienne at the Flip Flop Inn for a weekend getaway from the stresses of Georgia Perimeter College. I had a tiny bit too much to drink after dinner & ended up breaking one of the drawers in the entertainment system at the beach house. When Bruce found out, he was never angry or upset-instead, he laughed it off. What a guy! He never even asked me to pay for it, although I probably should have offered. Bruce has also helped me along in my career. Everyone knows Bruce is literally a god in the insurance industry. He helped get me an interview with the home office of GenRe back in 2008, I even got to fly to New York to do the interviews. That would never have happened were it not for Bruce. He gave me a great reference and put his reputation on the line in order to secure me an interview. Not many people would be willing to do that. In 2009, when my department in Phoenix was having issues & we were worried that our office might close-Bruce put me in touch with a head hunter that helped me get my resume out to several companies across America. Again-not many folks would be so willing to stick their neck out like that, but Bruce never even blinked. Above all else, Bruce is a devoted family man & has always worked remarkably hard to secure a good life for his wife & children. He is a Godly man & a great spiritual leader for his family. Anyone at his church & work knows that to be a fact & can attest to that. Bruce is a man of great wisdom & humility. Perhaps the best description of a man like Bruce is found in Proverbs 17, “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” Bruce, have a very happy 60th birthday & may this be the best year ever for you! Josh Steele
91: Dear Bruce, Even though most of my time spent has been with the Norvell women, YOU are a HUGE part of making them who they are. But as I was preparing to write this, I thought about my relationship with you. In my span of knowing you, it has always been in the context of you serving, giving, fixing, or supporting through acts of service. What a giver you are! THIS I know about you. Today we celebrate YOU, your life, and the blessing you are to many around you! Even though I do not know all of the intricate aspects of your personality and what makes you uniquely you, as I prayed about it, God kept showing me how GENEROUS you are! And so, Bruce, I BLESS YOU! I bless your giving heart. I pray that He fills you with goodness. That “good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” (Psalm 112:5) That you are able to experience His Love in a deep way - so deep that “out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 6) THANK YOU for being such a loving giver! And... HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Laura Taylor (& Danny, Elena, Reid, and Hope) | Happy 60th Birthday, Bruce!!! We are so happy to be among your friends and to help you celebrate this milestone! Although we have known each other for years, it has only been during the past 6 or 7 years that we have REALLY gotten to know you, and it has been so much fun. Dinners together, dominoes, cards, wine, laughing, sharing our lives.you are such a good man and you have given your family a wonderful life. We know that you are well loved by all the people in your life, and that includes us. Here's to at least 40 more good years for you! And you probably will make that, with your gene pool! With lots of love, Art & Polly
92: Dear Bruce: It is so great to celebrate with you and wish you happy birthday! Mark and I have counted your friendship special– even though we do not see you as much as we would like. You have been such a great example to us and to Luke --- and we feel Luke’s growth as a man through knowing you through the years and your walk with Christ has had a big influence. You were there at Luke’s 13h birthday celebration when we all prayed over him. You invited Luke with open arms to go to NYC with you and stay with your family. You have been there for us as a family as well and we have seen your influence as a man in your family to Peter, Jessica, Adrienne, and now with your new sons-in-law and grandchildren. Of course you and Kay...... I remember all the time chatting with you about the home projects, tile projects, Kiawah, West Virginia mission trip, etc., life, stages of our children’s lives. You have been the rock for your family and that is a great example to all. I could not find a lot of pictures with you in it but this one from a NY trip that Luke was invited to go on with you and the boys when younger. I wish you the best (Mark is doing a separate note) and pray God bless you and continue to use you in all the ways He has purposed for you in relationships, family, business, friends, and the community. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Dana Schlup “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” II Peter 1:2 | Dear Bruce, Congratulations on reaching your sixtieth birthday. Today it is no small achievement to reach this milestone with your marriage intact, a wonderful family, two grandchildren, and good health. I have so many memories, most are like snap shots, and I am not sure of the chronology or even what we were doing at the time. Of course most of them revolve around Peter and Luke, like do you remember when we went camping with them. I am not even sure what grade they were in, but I can still remember that we slept (?) in tents, and then did a number of team building activities the following day. Or the time, we went mountain biking up in the North Georgia Mountains, and what I thought would be an easy ride turned into a peddling marathon. Or when we went downtown to the car show with the boys and you were very patient as we wondered all over. You have always been a man to hold your things with a very “open hand”, willing to share your chain saw or the pick up truck when a friend needed them. Even your wonderful place at Kiawah, you shared like a man who has a good grasp on what is truly important. Despite what is mentioned above, what I have appreciated more than anything else is the time that you have invested in Luke. There is no question in my mind that you have been a good role model for him, and definitely a person he would turn too for counsel. I toast you on this day, thanks for your friendship, and your impact on my family's lives, and pray for many more birthdays to come. Mark Schlup
93: Mr. Norvell, First of all, HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY! I do not even know where to begin. When Jessica asked people to write a little something for a book she was putting together for you, a lot of memories flooded my mind. It feels like just yesterday that Peter and I were 8 years old riding with you in the old Volvo to Burger King at 9 O’clock at night for a late dinner after we had been playing all day. Then you would drive us to Blockbuster to rent a movie that we would take forever to decide on renting. I do not know how you put up with us all the time, because the memories above must have taken place hundreds of times. Then there are also the memories of riding in Ol’ Yeller on trips to get feed and hay for the horses. Every year of my life since I was 7 years old has memories that include you. It is really crazy to think about that timeline. Even though it is impossible to highlight certain memories, the ones that come to the forefront of my mind include the trip up the east coast to New York, horrible camp experiences, beach trips, cabin trips, multiple Peach Bowls, car shows, jokes about how much food I ate compared to Peter, driving home from my brother’s wedding, seeking advice for my career path, bon-fires, fireworks, yard work, building the barn, marriage advice, grand canyon dilemmas and the list could go on for a very long time. When I look back on the hundreds of simple little memories like those, I realize that Peter and I just loved hanging out with you. You always looked out for us and pretended to enjoy our company haha, even though we were just little turds. We looked up to you. We loved hanging out with BRUCE! I also remember you letting us watch Braveheart when we were like 10 years old haha. That is probably why Peter and I always had such detailed and graphic G.I. Joe play sessions. I can still say that is my favorite movie to this day. There are just so many memories! It is so hard to isolate just a few memories to share with you on paper because there are so many and they are all so important to me. For as long as I have known Peter, I have known you, which is the majority of my life. Though you may not realize it, you have played a large role in my life as a man I look up to aside from my dad and brother. I still do and will continue to look up to you. Thank you for raising a son that I look up to so much, and is pretty much like my second brother. I cannot emphasize just how thankful I am for you and your role in helping Peter and my friendship grow into a brotherhood I will carry till death. You played and continue to play a big part in that. He carries a lot of you in him and portrays many of your character traits, which says a lot because he offers so much to the world and the people he comes in contact with. Seeing that alone speaks volumes to the type of man you are. You are a great man and I know I am not the only one that thinks that. Happy 60th Birthday.I meant 30th. Luke Schlup
94: B is for brilliant because you are inspiring father, husband, and friend R is for ready because you are always ready and willing in every way U is for upbeat because we never see you without a positive outlook on life C is for cheerful because your smile never fades E is for elated because you are always overjoyed when you hear good news or see your wonderful family and friends Have a wonderful birthday! Thank you so much for letting us share this special day with you. May this year bring you all of the wonderful smiles, laughter, and memories that you have given to others throughout the years. Here's to many more!!! ~Heather and Troy Bogan | Bruce, What a blessing it has been to grow up with the love and support of the Norvell Family!! You have "lent" me your wife and daughters countless times---and what an impact it has made on me! I have always loved getting to spend time with you and feel so very fortunate to have you as a mentor and Christian leader in my life! Thank you for always being so incredibly generous with me and opening your home and family to me! God has used it in a mighty way in my life!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Love, Dana (Worley) McCall
95: Dear Bruce – On the occasion of the completion of your sixtieth year, a number of noteworthy things occur to me. Several of them can actually be put in print! First, you are a unique and cherished friend. You are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. In short, Mr. Norvell, you are a Boy Scout! Of all the people I know, you are one of them. You are the only person I’ve ever met from Kansas. In fact, until I met you I thought that Kansas was a hoax. Okay, enough of the low grade humor (although most of the character traits above do apply to you!). On to serious matters. When I think of what a good friend should be, you immediately come to mind. I so value the friendship we share and trust that the Lord will give us many more years together. As a friend I know that you are consistently reliable and always willing to listen. You are a man of integrity and honorable actions. I know that you work hard to honor God, care for your family and lead an upright life. Your gentle, peaceful demeanor is such an attractive part of who you are, however, you are not afraid to speak your mind and challenge another person to do better. You are an outstanding example of a man devoted to his family; a person who is ready to quietly sacrifice and give wholeheartedly to benefit your wife, children, grandchildren and friends. Well, now you are the Big 6-0 and ready to move on into new life adventures. I am confident that your faith and trust in the Lord, coupled with your devotion and love for your family will continue to be the foundational traits that define Bruce Norvell. Please know that you are loved and appreciated by so many people. Your example to others and your unflinching friendship are trademarks that will follow you all the days of your life. Blessings and love, Phil Turner | Bruce ~ You are an amazing husband, father, grandfather and friend. I love to watch you interact with your family always so caring, kind, and willing to do whatever you can to help – “Where’s the coffee?????” You are a great listener, and I know that when you speak, it is something important (or funny).and that I need to listen. I always look forward to our SG dinners together. Wishing you a WONDERFUL big BD..and I look forward to celebrating YOU!!!!!! Love ya, Debi Turner
96: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Mat 7:9-12 Bruce, this is the verse that came to mind as I prayed about what I wanted to write to you...you are one of the most generous people I know, with both your family and your friends. You and your family have been a tremendous blessing in our lives, and we are so grateful for knowing you all. We celebrate your birthday, and pray it will be a special and blessed day for you. Included are some of our favorite family photos, taken at one of our most memorable vacation spots, all thanks to YOU :) Much love, David, Lori, Caleb, Jeremy, Daniel, and Josh | Bruce, I want to wish you a Happy 60th Birthday today. I consider it a privilege to be a part of your life and I place high value on our friendship. The Lord has knitted our lives together through our time at Fellowship, and for that I am very grateful. I have always enjoyed spending time with you, and appreciate your maturity and calm spirit when we are together. Your contributions and insight to our men's group have and continue to be of much benefit to me and the other guys. Bruce, God has blessed you with an amazing family. You have done an outstanding job of leading and nurturing your kids into adulthood. I believe God is well pleased with your heart and your commitment to helping them build a solid biblical foundation of faith in their lives. It is evident that you have had tremendous influence in molding and shaping their character over the years. You have much to be proud of. It is my hope that we can continue to “walk together” in life as we try to keep in step with Gods will. Thanks for kind friendship and your continued commitment to our men's group. I will be praying for God's peace and blessing on you and your family. In His Grip, Dave Emrich
97: Dear Bruce, It's hard to believe that you are turning 60 and that I have known you for 20 years. You are the father of one of my very favorite families, a family full of unique, artistic, wonderful people. You are the calm center. How they all love you, as do we! I hope this will be your best year yet. Happy Birthday to you! With love from Robin, Jennie, Miller, Morgan, and Leslie Chalk | Dear Bruce, Happy 60th Birthday! In the immortal words of Fernando Lamas made famous by Billy Crystal, “It's not how you feel, it's how you look and, Y o u l o o k m a r v e l o u s!” Good friend, trusted brother in Christ, fellow servant, communications director for our small group, grill master these adjectives spring to mind when I think of our relationship over the years. It seems that you are always there and available to help when the situation demands it. The event that comes to mind when I think of you is the camping trip to Gee Creek you were kind enough to join me on as an adult chaperone's at a moment's notice. You and Libby Stephens were there to help with a great group of guys and gals at Gee Creek. We packed about two weekends of activities into about 36 hours. Rappelling, whitewater rafting, relocating the campsite once to a new location halfway across the park, without a word of complaint.. all of these activities and more. As I remember, we started rappelling too late in the afternoon and we were bringing kids down off the mountain in the dark. There were lots of opportunities for the weekend to be memorable in a really negative way. But when I think back on it, I don't remember any negatives. It was a really fun, valuable, and memorable opportunity to spend quality time with the kids. That is because you were there, as usual, in the background serving, doing the things that needed to be done so that things would go smoothly. It is a privilege to call you a friend, brother and to serve alongside you. I hope and pray that the next 60 years are even better than the first! I am sure they will be because you won't be able to remember the first 60 (Hey 60 is the new 40). God bless, Jeff O'neill
102: A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
104: Notes from friends that could not make it to celebrate today... | July 21, 2012 : Surprise Birthday Bash!! | Tammy and I will miss the party but send our best to old Bruce! JL stone | So sorry, but just not able to swing it. Hope he and you all have a fantastic time, and I'm sure you will. Thanks, Dennis | We are SO sorry to miss this important event! We will be in Guatemala on our missions trip. :( Love to Bruce! Laura Taylor | I would love to be there, but that week is our only chance for our family vacation in Destin. I'm sure it will be a great time. Lonnie VanHoutens | Sorry - that's in our Estonia time. Give my regards to Bruce. You're a great daughter to be doing this. Can't wait to see the book Mark Norvell | sounds like this is going to be an AMAZING party, but I have pre-existing travel plans! So sad to miss this one :( Zoe Norvell | Sorry we won't be there...have a great celebration! Brad case
105: Dear Bruce: We are so disappointed that Mark’s company chose to do an award’s banquet in San Francisco the same day as your party! We so wanted to be there, but you know how that goes. We hope to come see you later and catch up. Please know we are there in spirit and are so thankful for your friendship, influence in Luke’s life, your dear Peter, Adrienne, Jessica, Kay and all they mean to us and have meant through the years. You are the anchor man and we still chuckle at many situations --- waiting, moments, camps, trips, standing around talking, venting, being there for Luke’s 13th birthday and reading words to him, and everything else. Love in Christ, Mark and Dana Schlup | I am so sorry I can't join you for this very special event! It is our 10th wedding anniversary and we will be celebrating in Austin. Enjoy! Dubravka Romano | Jessica, sadly, I'll be at my California abode the month of July so won't be able to make the big party. But Happy Birthday to the Bruiser! Gary Mehr | Unfortunately I won't be either :( However I will be traveling in and around what many claim to be the heart of any wild man... MOUNTAINS!!! Peter Reeve | Sorry, but I will be thinking of Bruce when I'm out of the country on a mission trip to Uganda during this period. Barry Anderson | i will be stuck in the dry heat, but of course i'll be there in spirit! Josh Steele | A note from Gary Mehr during email exchanges: Jessica, you need to know that there is no living human being I admire and respect more than your father. GM
106: July 21, 2012 : Surprise Birthday Bash!! leave a note...
108: write ol' brucie a note... on his birthday! or just sign your name to wish him a happy day!