Norm Jenner (1934 – 2015)

Norman William Jenner OAM

(BORN: June 21, 1934 – DIED: May 1, 2015)

Norm was a communicator, businessman, facilitator, family man and a devoted community servant. He was a man’s man. a cobber, a mate. He knew and believed that committed people working together can make a huge difference.

After humble beginnings on the family farm on Phillip Island, Victoria, fossicking for mutton birds, Norman William Jenner OAM’s family moved to Queensland where he began his training to be a wool classer at Newstead Wool Store. The family later moved to Dalby.

When he was 19, he was called up for national service. This comprised six months training in the RAAF Station at Amberley. Aircraftsman Jenner was very proud of his ‘Nasho’ experience and in recent years marched on Anzac day with fellow national servicemen. Following his national service, he began his career as a stock and station agent in Dalby. He remained an agent until retirement 42 years later. During his career, he rose to the ranks of stock salesman, auctioneer, branch manager and finally to regional manager for southern and western Queensland and northern and western New South Wales.

Norm loved cricket, although he acknowledged that his cricketing skills were mediocre. He served with Souths’ Junior Cricket Association with 35 years as a cricket umpire, becoming a life member of the umpires’ association. Last year, his 80th year, he spoke of umpiring 50-over games and due to the speed of the game, his diminishing ability to keep himself from being hit by a driven ball.

He also spoke, with a glimmer of unease in his eyes, about the times he had to umpire the shorter and even faster Twenty20 matches where he thought his life was in constant danger. Norm related an incident about a batsman who smashed a ball to square leg, low and hard, where it was miraculously caught. The batsman started to walk off but soon realised it was Norm, the square leg umpire, with reflexes that belied his years, who had taken the catch, in his defence, to protect himself. He presided over these games because he loved watching cricket and because, of course, according to the late Richie Benaud, an umpire has the best view. After twice receiving umpire achievement awards, he was honoured with representing Queensland umpires, as Queensland Umpire of the Year, at an Allan Border Medal ceremony for his voluntary contribution to the sport.

Norm’s voluntary community service achievements showed his true worth. In 2003, he received the Queensland Premier’s Award for Queensland Seniors, in 2005 the Toowoomba Chronicle Volunteer of the Year Award and in 2006 the Queensland Ambulance Service Australia Day Achievement Medallion. In 2007, he received the Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Norm was elected to the Elders’ Council of St Stephen’s Church in Toowoomba where he served in this role with distinction and enthusiasm right up until his passing. His leadership qualities were quickly recognised and he became the social conscience of the Outreach and Service Committee. His motivational skills inspired the congregation to organise garage sales to raise funds for the church and the wider community. His auctions became a highlight of these sales. Although he had a high profile within the congregation, he fulfilled many roles behind the scenes. He could find time to lend a hand to anyone in need.

Norm will always be remembered by his many friends at the Toowoomba Hospice for his support and dedication, not only for his outstanding efforts with fundraising, but also for his contribution while a member of the management committee. He joined Graham Barron, Sister Frances and the team in assisting with the initial fundraising campaign to build the hospice. The shopping centre collections, carpark sales and ongoing stamp collection were Norm’s initiatives and these continue to play an important role in its fundraising activities today.

He supported his wife Isabelle in every way with her humanitarian work in India over 25 years. He travelled with Isabelle, assisting with educational aids, food and clothing for orphanages and schools. He loved accompanying Isabelle on her spiritual adventures to ashrams all over India and Germany to meet the holy leaders who all welcomed them. His influence on his family was pronounced and enduring. He firmly believed in homework, and enjoyed assisting his children with assignments, sometimes completing them for them. Although they wouldn’t admit it at the time, his community service inspired his daughter and son-in-law Maree and Jeff to be teachers, other daughter Yvette to be a social worker and son Michael to be a mental health nurse and more recently, his grandson Trent to be a Rotarian. His family were in awe and immensely proud of his ability to be continually managing, coordinating or facilitating some valuable new community project, and the humility he showed.

Norm was not just a Rotarian, he was an exceptional Rotarian. He was inducted into the Rotary Club of Toowoomba South in 1987. During those years of membership, even in his later years, he did not lose his energy and vision for what could be achieved with a little thought and effort. He became a mentor to many of the members and a reliable Rotarian. The Rotary motto – “Service Above Self” – became Norm’s personal motto. He gave so much of himself inside and outside of Rotary that his friends and family wonder where he found the time. He led by example. He was an icon in the club. He was a quiet man but he was strong in character and determination. Anyone who knew him admired and respected him.

Norm got involved in each of the club’s major projects. One of the outstanding successful projects is the Water Project in Lonand, India, started in 1993. His objective was to transform a barren wasteland into a productive agricultural area which is self-sustaining today. He knew that all that was needed was to provide water. He partnered Poona Downtown Rotary Club in 1992 to create an international project as a joint club venture. Norm served on many club committees, including the Hobby and Craft Spectacular from 1976-2005, the establishment of Life Education program in schools which was pioneered in Toowoomba by past president Karl Hertle, the Rotary Western Drought Relief Fund, the Flood Appeal in 1993, Dream Home projects, the Grantham Butter Factory and the Kokoda Challenge in 2014. Norm held most directorship positions within the club and was president in 1991-92. Additionally he served at district level and also as assistant district governor. His family said they were all so proud of him when he received his OAM, which was so well deserved. Norm received recognition for his achievements with Rotary with presentations of a Rotary International Presidents ‘Avenues of Service Citation’, a Paul Harris Fellowship Award in1994 and in 2014 a Sapphire Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

If you have more to add to Norm’s history please post it to the Primac Gurus Group.

Source: Rotary International & The Chronicle – Press Reader – 3 Aug 2015

“”final edit & published Richard Street 12/05/2021″

* Last updated 30/05/2021 RSS

Posted in : Primac Gurus