Died on Wednesday, November 20, 2002. Norman was born in White Rock, B.C. in 1952 to Jean and Russell Wicks. Life for Norman was as large as his heart and filled with people and adventures around the globe. From a rich childhood on the family hobby farm with pet skunks and horses and raids on the neighbouring strawberry fields, Norman’s work and studies took him and his partner, Joyce, to Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, along the coast of British Columbia and into the northern regions of the province. Norman was a long-time resident of Vanderhoof, B.C. and principal of two schools in the Nechako Lakes School District. He is remembered for his compassion and integrity. Norman was known as a person who inspired those around him and was always there for them. He was one of the top educators in northern B.C., a highly educated, articulate, sensitive teacher. Norman received his PhD in Education from the University of Tasmania, Australia, where his research contributed to theories of educative leadership in indigenous schools in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He received his Masters degree from the University of Victoria for a study on approaches to teaching and learning in intercultural contexts. Graduating from Simon Fraser University with a degree in English and Sociology, Norman’s early career centered on working with youth at risk.
Norman was a person who loved life. One could find him in the backwoods, honing his flyfishing skills or standing in front of an international audience presenting theories on leadership. His connection to people and with the natural world that he loved so much came from a great passion for life and learning. Family was important to Norman. The tragedies of losing both his parents and his two brothers, Wade and Stephen, in recent years, brought great sadness, but also moved him to value every moment and all the richness that life can offer. The words that Norman spoke at his brother’s memorial are words that Norman lived by: “Remember that life is short. Don’t waste it. Don’t take small bites. Swallow life whole. Devour Life. Be all you can be. Be larger than life.”
Norman will be greatly missed by his partner, Joyce Upex; his sister Susan Stitt; his brother-in-law, Robert Stitt; his sisters-in-law, Patricia Wicks and Marion Upex; his nephews, Stephen and Patrick Wicks, Tom and Scott Lougheed; his niece Emily Lougheed; his great-nephews, Taylor and Ryland Wicks; his many loving friends and extended family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Norm Wicks Bursary, being established to celebrate Norman’s life and his giving a helping hand. The award will recognize excellence in life and education. Donations can be sent to Norm Wicks Bursary, c/o Royal Bank, Vanderhoof Branch, 2517 Burrard Ave., Vanderhoof, B.C. V0J 3A0. In addition to the memorial service held in Vanderhoof a celebration of Norman’s life will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2002 at 1:00 p.m. at Kensington Prairie School, 16824 – 32 Avenue, Surrey, B.C. For information about this event call Lorne at 604-594-3373.