Norman E. Moxley Sr., a contractor, shopping center developer and former Howard County commissioner who helped preside over the county during its postwar transformation, died Wednesday of complications of a stroke at Bon Secours Nursing Center in Ellicott City. He was 90.
Mr. Moxley spent his entire life on an 800-acre farm that had been in his family since the 1800s. He later developed part of the farm, now known as Normandy, with his son and nephew.
Dropping out of school to help his father with farm work, Mr. Moxley worked as a blacksmith and later began a successful plastering business in the late 1920s.
"He used to walk across the fields to shoot fox, which he'd take to a furrier," said a son, Robert Moxley of Ellicott City. "That's how he got his first suit, trading pelts for a pair of pants and a jacket."
Development was to become Mr. Moxley's forte. In the late 1930s, he opened an Acme Market and variety store, and in 1945 developed Arbutus Shopping Center, followed by a shopping center in Glen Burnie with an Acme Market as the main tenant.
His most ambitious project was his development of Normandy Shopping Center on U.S. 40 in Ellicott City in 1961. It was Howard County's first shopping center.
Mr. Moxley, a Democrat, entered politics in 1950 when he successfully ran for a seat on the Board of Howard County Commissioners. He remained on the board until 1962, serving as chairman for seven of those years.
Services are scheduled at 11 a.m. today at Rockland United Methodist Church, 8971 Chapel Ave., Ellicott City.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, the former Evelyn Richarts; another son, Norman Moxley Jr. of Columbia; two daughters, Eleanor Breeden, of West Friendship and Marilyn Embrey of Ellicott City; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.