Few ‘very touched’ by community turnout for his 90th birthday celebration Sunday

EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLECRESWELL – Rev. Norm Few celebrates on Sunday during his 90th birthday party.

If the City of Creswell were to nominate one person for sainthood, the whole town could just about agree that Norm Few should get the nod for that nomination. 

So it made perfect sense that on Sunday, Nov. 1, a seemingly endless centipede of cars encircled the Creswell Presbyterian Church, where he is pastor emeritus, for a drive-by parade to celebrate Norm’s 90th’s birthday.

Oh, by the way, Sunday, Nov. 1 also just happened to be All Saints’ Day, which is a national holiday in France, Germany and many other countries, just not in America.  

Many who have known Norm would say he was born on the perfect day, but he’s quick to quibble.

“I had nothing to do with it, that was my mother, and my sister thought with a face like this I should have been born on Halloween,” Norm said.

Seeing Norm and wife Barbara was a treat for everyone in attendance – including their son Mark Few and his wife Marcy.

“I wouldn’t miss this,” the successful Gonzaga basketball coach said. “We rearranged practice, and the guys knew all about this. 

“It’s a pretty special day. He’s built such an amazing legacy … He’s connected with so many people in this community. You see so many people outside the church coming by because they respect the heck out of him.” 

Norm said he felt “very touched” by the outpouring of community love and support. Of course, one touches a lot of hearts when one performs more than 1,800 funeral/memorial services and 900 weddings, as Norm has done — all in Creswell. 

EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLEWell-wishers decorated cars with signs, with purple a prominent color.

He’s been retired now for nine years, but Norm and Barb both sometimes long for the days of yesteryear.

“We were always such a close community back then,” Barbara said. “We knew each other’s business, but it was OK. There was a woman who lived across from the school who would tell the principal when somebody did something wrong.

“That’s just an example of how things used to be in those days, but things have changed now.”

Mark did a little reminiscing, too, and said he was actually better at baseball than basketball as a Creswell High School athlete. He gave college baseball a shot at Linfield, then ultimately wound up transferring to the University of Oregon. 

“I had never coached before, but it was actually Doug Orton, my former high school coach, who got me into it,” Mark said. “I was finishing my senior year in college — I guess it was 1985 — and Doug said he needed a freshman coach at Creswell. That’s how it all got started.”

If all goes as planned, the Zags will tip off the season in less than three weeks, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, against Kansas in the Fort Myers Tip-Off tourney. Two days later, Gonzaga takes on Auburn in the same event.



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