The Senate committee on which Sen. Wayne Norman served routinely handles some of the General Assembly’s weightiest issues — rape, murder, prisons.
That made Norman’s presence on the Judicial Proceedings Committee all the more valuable, his colleagues said Monday night.
“You couldn’t find a more jovial person when things got tough and the air was thick during a voting session that was really full of turmoil,” said Sen. Delores Kelley, a Baltimore County Democrat.
Senators mourned Norman in their first gathering since he died Sunday morning.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said that, according to Norman’s wife, the senator had spent Saturday night having dinner at home. The Bel Air attorney who represented parts of Harford and Cecil counties was 62.
“He went to sleep and never woke up,” Miller said. “We’re going to miss him.”
Senators shared memories of Norman’s frequent greetings of, “Hey buddy,” and of the sight of him filling his favorite car — a small green MG. Norman had recently become a grandfather, said Sen. J.B. Jennings, a fellow Harford County Republican.
“He really was on top of his world,” Jennings said.
Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, praised Norman for his fairness.
“He always knew, on every public policy issue, where the center was,” Brochin said. “There’s a hole in our committee. All of us are wondering how we’re going to even walk in there tomorrow.”
Sen. Bobby Zirkin recalled that, when he assumed the chairmanship of the judiciary committee, he begged Miller to assign Norman to the panel.
“It was the best decision I ever made as chairman of that committee,” Zirkin said. “Wayne always brought light to our committee.”
Colleagues and supporters held a candlelight vigil in Norman’s honor before Monday evening’s legislative sessions. Jeff Hulbert, founder of pro-Second Amendment group Patriot Picket, organized the vigil.
“We’ve lost probably the happiest soldier that I’ve ever met in Annapolis,” Hulbert said. “It’s hard to imagine that he’s not here.”
Officials said Norman’s family will receive visitors from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa. Lawmakers will meet early Friday to give members time to attend Norman’s funeral, which will be held at the church Friday at 11 a.m.
Norman’s family asks that instead of flowers, donations be made in the senator’s memory to the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region.