Michael Turner Norman

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Michael Turner Norman

October 30, 1943 - February 25, 2019

Michael Turner Norman He won more golf tournaments than he ever lost - but in his lifetime, he won more friends than anyone could count. He never scored either.
Michael Turner Norman, District Judge of the 15th District of Oklahoma, died this past Monday morning in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he had gone for speech therapy after suffering a stroke in the language center of his brain October 19. His sole purpose of leaving Muskogee was so he could receive 5 hours a day of intensive rehabilitation to retrieve lost words and nouns in his brain so he could more readily return to the bench in Eastern Oklahoma. Norman was 75 and presided over 5 counties. 
A lifelong Muskogean, Mike was born there on October 30, 1943, to Chester Claude and Rene Marnell Turner Norman. Except for attending Tulsa University for both his undergraduate and law degrees, he never left. He considered Muskogee "the Mecca of the World." To him, it was. 
Mike attended Longfellow, Alice Robertson and Central High, graduating with the class of 1961 - a tight-knit group that remains so even today. As a youth, he traveled to all 50 states with his Mother and beloved "Granny B," as well as his friend Jim Hackler who accompanied them.
Born into a strong political family, all staunch Democrats, Norman grew up observing firsthand "How you do business ... How you treat people ... and Your Part in all this." Some of the lessons were spoken - most were not. But all were absorbed and learned well. He never forgot them.
Norman was a natural at golf and took to it "like a duck-out-of-water." He collected so many trophies and silver punch bowls and trays that his parents' home began to look like a shrine. His mother kept count of them all. Mike just kept on playing with his beloved golf team of Bob Dickson, Jim Buchanan and Max Jackson. They won the State High School Golf Championship in 1961 under the tutelage of their revered World War II veteran Coach Jack Hopkins; Norman went on to TU on a golf scholarship. He often told people, " We weren't very good then ... "
While in law school, Mike clerked for Judge Robert Simms. There the lessons continued - more examples were set - other friendships cemented - and lifelong contacts extended. Mike never forgot any of them. Later he returned to Muskogee where he went into private practice with his father, and Janey Cagle Boydston was their secretary and their staunchest ally! While in law school, Mike married and became the proud father of two fine children: Stacy Leigh Addington Mader and John Michael Norman. As the years went by, Muskogee began to feel Norman's influence. He served as the Red Cross Blood Drive chairman for years; the Port of Muskogee attorney for 25 years, where he was instrumental in Municipal Bonds that raised millions to insure the future success of the Port. He was also the attorney for the newly formed organization under Ken Meyer's guidance that saved the World War II Batfish that was languishing in the middle of the Arkansas River. He was five times elected president of the Muskogee Country Club and was instrumental in Junior Golf at Muskogee High School.
Norman was appointed Municipal Judge for the City in 1979, where he served with incredible distinction for 20 years. Then, in 1998, he ran for the District Court Judge's position and won in a clean but close race. He went on to serve with unparalleled success for 20 years. Thus, the work began - and he embraced it. The lessons continued - the influence widened and the hard decisions kept coming. He did not flinch. He brought to the bench a quiet dignity and a compassion that endeared him to both sides: the general public and those he sentenced. One young man was seen entering the Courthouse a few years ago and a police officer stopped him and asked where he was going. "I gotta go see my friend." "Who's your friend? "I gotta go see Mike Norman ... he put me in jail four times and he's my friend."
A renowned fact of Mike's years at the Courthouse was that EVERY jury session for 20 years, he would bring "Dr. Ong's secret donut recipe" to 600 jurors a year. The Courthouse is in a jury docket right now and jurors are still asking for them! The Courthouse became Mike's Second Home because he loved seeing our American judicial system work as it should. And it wouldn't unless he was there and doing his job. But - he also loved to go to lunch with his "Cronies," a Forever Lunch Bunch group of Ben Robinson, Charlie Randolph, Bill Inhofe, Robin Adair, Jerry Rains, Bill Settle, Dick Morris, Gabe Mosteller and countless others who were tightly interwoven into the fabric of one another's lives. Such is the added Blessing and Fruit of Friendship. Food.
In 1975, as Mike was just hitting his stride, he chanced to call a certain young lady who would forever change his life. The biggest problem was that she was a central Oklahoma conservative Republican, and at that time, "there were only four Repubs in the City." And he named them. In May, they would have been married 44 years. Oddly, to the man whose Friendships were both legendary and unending, she became "My Best Friend." Don't ever tell anyone that. "Mike ... they would never believe you!" That is exactly why there will be no pallbearers at his funeral. How does one pick and choose out of the multitudes who loved him and thought they "were his best bestest friend?"
Trude Steele Norman brought another two fine children, Robert Ellis Conley II and Guyanne Conley Nichols, into Mike's life in 1975 and somehow, with the combining of families - which with divorce is never easy! - they built a life of "The Good News and The Bad News." In the long run, The Good News won out. It was just Not a Long Enough Run. It never is ...
Trude and Mike have been members of First Baptist Church of Muskogee for years, where Mike was a treasured member of Dr. George Ladd's Sunday School Class, the Misfits. Currently they are attending Fellowship Bible Church in Fort Gibson with their friend Pastor Billy Parker.
An Honoring and Memorial Service will be held at St. Paul United Methodist Church where Mike's Mother's services were held. Services are to be at 4 o'clock this coming Thursday afternoon, March 7. The Church is located between West Okmulgee and Broadway at 23rd Street in Muskogee. The family has asked that memorials be made to the St. Paul Sanctuary Fund; Junior Golf at Muskogee High School or the Whittier Elementary School Summer "Food for Children" fund.
Published on March 3, 2019
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26 posts

Charolette Underwood (Muskogee Public Library)
Mar 11, 2019
May God be with the Family at this time. Heaven gained another Angel.
Roberta scholl
Mar 08, 2019
I know mike , since 2007 when i moved to muskogee. He was a wonderful man, judge ,a person you could talk to and friend.
Gail Rafter Aldridge
Mar 08, 2019
Dear Trude...so sorry to hear Mike has passed away. I first met Mike over 50 years ago and loved his dry sense of humor. Although many years have gone by, I remember you two were so good for each other. I will remember you in my prayers.
Gail Rafter Aldridge
John henry Hensley
Mar 07, 2019
I knew Mike since the 4th grade. As the years passed I could see him grow towards being one of the most respected members of our community..You couldn't help but love him for his witt, his kindness and his charm. His choice of Trude was really the highlight of his being. Trudy always cherish what a gift you were blessed with.
Tony Loney
Mar 07, 2019
Mike was a father figure to me...A wonderful man that I strived to be like....He was also my Mother's Attorney...My Mother loved him and Trude so much....His wife Trude is a mother figure to me...She tutored me through High School....His daughter Guyanne is my classmate and longtime friend that I consider my sister....Robert is a longtime friend that I consider my brother....Thoughts and prayers to the Norman Family....
larry young
Mar 07, 2019
mike was my lawyer thru 3 of my divorces he told me I wasn't cut out to be married, I kind of believed him , you well truly be missed and we love you Trudy norman
Mike Young
Mar 06, 2019
Early in life Mr. Norman was my attorney while I was on city council in a small town, when he became judge I asked him what was I going to do for a lawyer, he looked at me, without a smile and asked, which one would you rather have on your side, the lawyer or the judge, I didn't have to answer, you will be truly missed my friend, and thank you for all times you brought 11 donuts to the shop for the guys, don't know why he never bought a dozen,
Wayde Holsey
Mar 06, 2019
He always treated me right, although I was only before him once! For a speeding ticket I couldn’t afford to pay at the time, he was a good man, and a fine judge! Muskogee will miss him!
Cheryl McGrath
Mar 06, 2019
Sending my Condolences to his family and friends..You will be missed but not forgotten..You was a great Judge..From the McGrath Applegate family
Cheryl McGrath
Mar 06, 2019
Sending my Condolences to his family and friends..
Mar 06, 2019
God met Judge Norman at the Pearly Gates and said three (3) things.
1. Well hello "Young fellow."
2. What a great job you have done.
3. Did you bring your toothbrush?
Thank you Judge, you'll be missed.
Ron Pitman
Mar 06, 2019
Mike and I have been friends since preschool age, attended college together at Tulsa University and stayed in touch over the years. I will miss him and his emails. My most trusted friend.
Paul & Anita Kilgore
Mar 06, 2019
Prayers for Trude ~ 🙏🏼 We attended Crescent Valley Baptist church with Mike & also knew him from court . Great man !
Michelle Green
Mar 05, 2019
Words can not express how much I feel for your loss, and how greatly I pray for you to find some heavenly peace in this hard time.
Joe Schmidgall
Mar 05, 2019
Mike was just a special guy. Will always remember him fondly.
Barbara Johnson
Mar 05, 2019
No greater man has ever walked the face of this Earth nor will there ever be .Walk with God now until the rest of us get home.
Juliet Netcher Brennan
Mar 05, 2019
Comfort and peace, courage and strength is my prayer for Judge Norman's loved ones. Along with a multitude of others, I will miss him dearly.
Carlos Williams
Mar 05, 2019
Judge Norman was one of the first judges I appeared in front of as a new attorney in Muskogee. He never looked down at me because I was new to town or the court and made me feel at ease. I saw him last summer for the last time and he treated me the same as he did 19 years ago , with a welcoming spirit and respect.
Karen Diehl Kennedy
Mar 05, 2019
So sorry to hear of the loss of such a sweet and gentle man. He was kind, entertaining and fun to be around. My ex-husband, Jay, told many funny stories about Mike. Rest peacefully dear Mike!!
Walter Davis
Mar 05, 2019
Bless you Trude
George Ladd
Mar 04, 2019
I’m one of those best friends and do really miss him and his friendship.
Charles “Butch” Small
Mar 04, 2019
Mike is one of the finest friends and men that I have ever known. May God prepare a seat close by him
Marko Kustudia LV
Mar 04, 2019
Your friendship and thoughtfulness will be truly missed along with so many. With deepest sympathy to Trudy, Stacey , John and family
Therresa Hammonds Jones
Mar 04, 2019
Vivian Briggs
Mar 04, 2019
Judge Norman you will be dearly missed!