Norman Allen Weiss, 79, passed away peacefully on June 2, 2015, in Courtenay, B.C., after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia and throat cancer.
Born in Edmonton, the youngest of five children of Alfred and Matilda Weiss into the austere 1930s, Norm learned early on that self-reliance, a positive attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit were the key to success. His first job, at age 10, was selling newspapers outside the liquor store on the east side. When he earned enough money to buy a bicycle, he delivered groceries and telegrams to Edmonton residents until he graduated from Victoria Composite High School. Norm soon upgraded to a motorcycle and was known to race the then- unpaved Groat Road. A born salesman, Norm became the youngest blockman for International Harvester and vice-president of the Edmonton Junior Chamber of Commerce.
While travelling the long roads of Alberta, he developed a lifetime love of cars. Always in search of a better deal, Norm’s persuasive tongue convinced dealerships to loan him cars if he agreed to sell the cars on their behalf. This ensured he had the newest and fanciest car with little cost. It was during his frequent trips on the Prairies that Norm met his future wife Carol, while at a dance in Camrose. She knew that life with Norm would never be dull and they married in 1962.
His career took him to Shell Canada, where he was transferred to Vancouver as the Western Marketing Manager. Growing tired of the corporate world, Norm took the family to Fort McMurray to operate a Shell bulk plant and a Ski-Doo dealership. Immersing himself into the town, Norm became vice-chair of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, member of the Kinsmen Club, Rotary Club and Muffalloose Trailblazers.
In 1979, Norm was elected to the Alberta Legislature to represent Fort McMurray – Lac La Biche. He was a successful, four-term member of the Alberta government serving as Minister of Recreation and Parks, Minister of Career Development and Employment, and Assistant Minister to Social Services and Community Health. Norm chaired the Northern Alberta Development Council and was a member of the AOSTRA and Syncrude Boards.
Norm was a strong and passionate voice for the North, representing his constituents with energy, honesty and a genuine concern for all. He was proud to have contributed to the 1988 Calgary Olympics, the Fort McMurray Oil Sands Interpretive Centre, the Keyano College Foundation, and was deeply honoured by the naming of the Norm Weiss Centre for the Visual and Performing Arts. In 1993, after 14 years and three Premiers, Norm retired from politics. Norm was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, in 2012, for his service to the community.
In 1996, Norm and Carol moved to beautiful Courtenay, B.C., where Norm enjoyed his view of the ocean, many rounds of golf at the Sunnydale Club, fishing trips to the Queen Charlotte Islands, breakfast with A&W buddies, bargain hunting at swap meets, keeping tabs on his neighbours at Bates Beach and advising the local B.C. Conservatives. While wintering in Arizona, Norm returned to his salesman roots, buying and selling golf clubs, organizing golf games and meeting up with old friends.
Norm is remembered with love by his wife Carol, daughter Jill Weiss (Louise) and grandson “buckshot” Graham, daughter Wendy Manchak (Wally) and granddaughter Katelyn.
Norm’s family would like to thank the staff at the St. Joseph’s Hospital Transitional Care Unit and Glacier View Lodge for their wonderful care and compassion in his last year. Norm’s ready smile and clever wit will be missed, but wherever he is now, you can guarantee he will be drinking a diet Coke, eating a Teen- Burger and negotiating the best deal on a trailer, boat or car.
In keeping with Norm’s wishes, no funeral service will be held. Online condolences are welcome at memorialwebsite.legacy.com/NormWeiss. Memorial donations can be made to KidSport Canada (www.kidsportcanada.ca) – a national organization helping children experience the benefits of organized sport.