August 14, 1923 – November 1, 2018
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
– John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Norman Severide passed away at the age of 95 in Langley, B.C. Norman’s wife, Iris, predeceased him in 2003. Norman is survived by his sons: Geoff and his wife Susan, David and his wife Deirdre; Grandchildren: Andrea and husband Brendan, Megan and husband William, Aynsley, Patrick, Jennifer and Benjamin; Great-grandchildren: Clara and Theodore; as well as his companion Margot.
Norman was born in Vancouver to parents Gunnar Severide and Fanny Mae Severide (Dakin) and raised at the family home in North Langley. He was proud of his rural roots and always enjoyed activities out-of-doors but was also curious to explore the bigger world.
In 1942 Norman joined the armed forces and served in the air force as a pilot. At the end of the war in Europe he was stationed in England flying Lancaster bombers. Norman then volunteered to serve in the Pacific and was on a ship bound for Halifax when the war ended.
As a veteran he was offered a choice between ownership of a piece of land or post-secondary education. He chose to attend the University of British Columbia and he often reminisced that, that opportunity changed his life. Norman completed a degree in law and started practicing in
Vancouver with some of his classmates. They soon opened a branch office in Langley. Norman took over responsibility for the office in Langley, which he considered his home town and was joined by Maurice Mulligan.
While attending law school, Norman worked during the summer breaks as a bell hop at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. There he met the love of his life, Iris Birchall. Norman and Iris were married in 1953 and set up home in Langley where they raised their two sons, Geoff and David. Norman enjoyed teaching his boys to ski and there were many weekend trips to Mount Baker and holidays to the interior mountains. Geoff and David also have fond memories of their Dad taking them to see the Lions home football games and of camping trips exploring the wilds of British Columbia.
Norman always took an active interest in his community, politics and the legal profession. He served as an alderman in the City of Langley and volunteered for organizations involved in the arts and preserving the heritage of the community. He served the legal profession as a Bencher of the Law Society of B.C. and President of the Federation of Law Societies for Canada. In 1983 he was honored with an appointment as Queens Counsel by the Lieutenant-Governor of B.C.
Norman loved sailing and he and Iris spent many happy summers exploring the coastal waters of B.C. He also enjoyed golf, travel and reading. Those who knew Norman often described him as engaging, charming and thoughtful. He was very proud of his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren and was enjoying his new role of great-grandfather. His grandchildren always looked forward to seeing Granddad who would entertain them with stories from his past that displayed his adventurous spirit and willingness to take anything on.
Norman lived a very full and rewarding life. He was much loved and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
A celebration of life will be held at St. Oswald’s Anglican Church, 9566 – 190th St., Surrey on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 2:30 – 4:30.