Hazel Norman says her Martinez home will be a lot quieter since her energetic husband, who loved to whistle, recently passed away.
The Rev. William Pierce Norman, 66, died Dec. 29 at Doctors Hospital after suffering a heart attack.
"He was a lot of fun to live with," Mrs. Norman said, adding that her husband often whistled along as she played hymns on the piano and enjoyed riding around their Stevens Creek Road property on four-wheelers.
The Rev. Norman retired from Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church in 2002 and became pastor of Riverview United Methodist Church on Furys Ferry Road in July 2005.
"He was a very loved man, a very loving man," said Danny Street, the chairman of Riverview United Methodist's Administrative Council and Pastor Parish Relations Council.
Street said Riverview United Methodist, established in the mid-1940s, had dwindled to fewer than 10 members not too many years ago. The Rev. Norman, whom Street described as very dynamic and animated, came out of retirement in July 2005 to minister at the struggling church.
"We're back up to over 100 members," Street said.
After only six months at Riverview United Methodist, Street said, the Rev. Norman was already talking about church expansion.
"He said if you don't have a goal, you can never reach it," Street said, adding that the Rev. Norman's final sermon was the candlelight Christmas Eve service, when he told Street how excited he was about the church's future.
The Rev. Norman's survivors include his wife; his children Brigham T. Norman, of Statham, Ga., Belinda Norman Epps, of Colbert, Ga., William Titus Norman, of Watkinsville, Ga., David L. Rainwater Jr., of North Augusta, Craig A. Rainwater, of Thomson, and Nicole R. Johnson, of Appling; brothers Dewey Norman, of Pecos, Texas, and Robert Norman, of Lilburn, Ga.; and 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
The Rev. Norman began his ministry in Henry County in 1966 and served several Georgia churches until 1981, when he became the first full-time evangelist to be paid by the Annual North Georgia Conference. During that eight-year appointment, he led hundreds of revivals and camp meetings around North Georgia.
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