This Blog is Dedicated to Norm Self

Norm Self
Norm Self, courtesy Imperial Printers

Norman L. Self, 80, formerly of El Centro, CA, passed away in Tucson, AZ, on Sunday, April 19, 2015, from complications of cancer.

Norm was born in Salinas, CA, on October 23, 1934. He moved to El Centro with his mother, Laura, at the age of three. He attended Harding and McKinley Elementary Schools, Wilson Junior High and Central Union High. He continued to live in El Centro until he and his wife, Linda, moved to Tucson in 2011 to enjoy their retirement years together.

He was a printer by trade. Beginning in 1953 he advanced from apprentice to journeyman printer with the Imperial Valley Press eventually becoming composing room foreman of the Brawley News, also owned by the IV Press, and later, foreman of the El Centro plant.

Norm Self at 18
Norm at 18

In 1963, Norm took a position as typesetter operating a Linotype machine at Imperial Printers in El Centro. In 1977 the owner, long-time Valley master printer Marvin (Barney) Wieben, Sr., retired and the company’s ownership was reorganized with Norm assuming the presidency of the corporation.

Norm was a member of the El Centro Rotary Club and an avid supporter of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce. He served about 13 years on the Chamber board of directors and was instrumental in computerizing the chamber office.

In addition to his love of music, he enjoyed sharing his knowledge of the night sky whenever he camped out under the stars. He was passionate about the marvels of the southwest desert areas and loved nothing more than introducing others to the history and natural wonders of that environment.

Norm on the trail
Norm on the trail

Through his interest in photography combined with his appreciation of beautiful natural areas, he became an avid hiker and joined the Natural Arch and Bridge Society (NABS). Soon thereafter he volunteered to publish SPAN, the newsletter of NABS. Norm cherished the many friends he made through NABS and encouraged others to learn about and join this group.

His first wife Patsy preceded Norman in death. He is survived by his loving wife Linda of Tucson, AZ; son John of San Diego, CA; stepdaughter, Jennifer and her husband, Kevin Murphy, of Amsterdam, NL.

Should anyone wish to honor Norm’s memory, the family suggests the following: Peppi’s House, TMC Hospice, Tucson, AZ; Pioneers’ Park Museum, Imperial, CA; Imperial Valley Desert Museum, Ocotillo, CA.

Norm used professional publishing software to transform NABS’ original xeroxed newsletter into a thing of beauty for 54 issues over a period of 13.5 years.

To honor and express appreciation to Norm, NABS made a three-foot-wide tribute photo/plaque, shown below, featuring Craig Shelley’s panoramic photo of Stevens Arch, which was Norm’s favorite arch hike.

Award for Norm Self

3 thoughts on “This Blog is Dedicated to Norm Self”

  1. Norm was one of my favorite people on the planet. One of the highlights of my 25 years with the Natural Arch and Bridge Society was working with Norm on colorizing the back issues of our newsletter SPAN, where I did the Photoshop work and Norm did the layout using QuarkXpress. We consulted frequently on this over a period of several months and he was always a pure pleasure to work with. His work inspired me to learn Adobe InDesign from scratch (no easy task) to enable me to copy his layout style and keep his legacy going.

    A chronology:

    Norm was a very healthy 80 years old until he started getting some neurological symptoms in March of this year, including a difficulty in operating the complex publishing software he used to make SPAN. On April 1 he was diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer, and on April 5 (Easter Sunday) he had a tumor the size of a ping pong ball removed from his frontal lobes. He seemed to be recovering extremely well after this surgery, with no discernible neural deficit.

    Meanwhile, the parts were on order for the photo/plaque that NABS wanted to award to Norm to honor him for the long and excellent volunteer service that he had provided to all of our members. When they finally all arrived, I called Norm on April 15 to ask when would be a good time to deliver the surprise that we had for him, and he requested Saturday at 10 AM. He sounded fine and in good spirits.

    But alas, it was not to be. That very night he took a turn for the worse and by the next day was in the hospital and unable to communicate, and soon after was moved to an in-patient hospice. It was somehow fitting that, by chance, his hospice room had a large painting on the wall of Window Rock, the beautiful arch at Window Rock, Arizona, but it is unlikely that he ever saw the painting.

    I really miss this guy.

  2. Norm was my good friend for 25 years and over that time we went on many hikes, camping trips and river rafting trips with Norm and Linda. I loved his attitude on life. Norm and his long winded stories will be missed. Norm could not tell a short story. Every time I see a natural bridge or an arch I think of Norm.
    I miss you Norm.
    Bud Johnson

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