Norm was born in St. Helena, Napa County, California, August 30, 1938. His father (Wayne James Farlow) drove a 6-horse team for the silver mines near Middletown. His mother (Rachel Jane Webb Farlow) was a teacher. When he was five years old, they moved because his father went to work in the shipyards, which after the war were known as Kaiser Steel Mills.
As an only child, he always said living in the government housing project of Shipyard Acres in Napa was idyllic with a close-knit community, lots of ball games, good neighbors, safety, its own elementary school and even a firetruck. Of course, there was lots of rivalry between the "townies" and the "Acres kids". He was proud to have played on the team the year his father coached. Plus, Norm was super delighted that they took the title away from town.
When he was 15, his best friend borrowed his father's brand new Chevy. They picked up five friends. The accident rolled the car three times. They all had minor injuries. He said he imagined he was inside a clothes dryer - round and round. Long before seat belts! Norm became a strong advocate of vehicle safety right at that moment.
As a youngster, Norm was large for his age and was often considered to be older. He worked summers as a box boy for the Chinese grocer, saved his money and bought his first car when he was 13.
At Napa High School, he graduated as Valedictorian, was President of the California Scholastic Society and the High School Band, where he played clarinet. Plus, he began dating and fell in love with the girl next door. He and Beth were married August 31, 1958. He would say, "When I was 30, I had been married 1/3 of my life. At 40, it was Â½ my life. At 60, it was 2/3 of my life. Do you think I will eventually be married longer than I am alive?"
Norm graduated from Sacramento State College with a degree in Social Welfare. He began his nearly 30-year career with Sacramento County and became the youngest person to become a Bureau Chief. He became known as "Mr. MediCal" when other county administrators would contact him for advice. His staff liked and admired him. They presented him with a desk plaque stating, "Be reasonable. Do it my way."
When daughter, Kasey, arrived, Norm was "hooked". He loved the father role. He delighted in telling her, "We don't tell everyone you are our daughter - just the ones we want to impress!"
Norm became a stronger advocate of vehicle safety. Don't drive too fast. Be prepared for the other driver to do the unexpected. Buckle up! How are the tires? When was it serviced last? How is that insurance?
When Kasey started her family in Grants Pass, he and Beth retired to move here for great family times. Grand-girl times were super special to him. They were his 4Js! Jen, Jess, Jennifer and Jo. His interest in cars continued and he became the unofficial photographer for the Rogue Valley Classic Chevys Car Club. Driving his yellow 1955 Handyman Wagon or his turquoise 1957 Chevy was a fun time. Yes, he even installed 3-point seatbelts in those classics. PLUS, there were three great-grands to play with - Alex, Alaina and Bella (AKA: Izzy).
He passed away August 1, 2018. Our witty, patient, caring, gentle man was gone. He won't be forgotten - we will love and miss him every day. In the near future the family plans to remember and honor him with a day at the beach at his favorite Oregon State Park. They plan to scatter his ashes in the ocean.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Providence Hospice, P.O Box 4548, Medford, OR 97501.