Norm Few turns 92

CRESWELL – Even at age 92, Norm Few has a knack for remembering people’s names. 

There’s a method to his madness, though. 

“I’ll see somebody and they’ll say, ‘I bet you don’t remember me,’ I’ve got this all figured out, I’ll say, ‘How much you wanna bet?’ and if that doesn’t deter them, then I ask them, ‘What’s your name?’ If they say, ‘I’m John,’ then I say, ‘I know your first name, what’s your last name?’” Few said Sunday after the first of two birthday celebrations. “Or if they tell me their last name, I’ll say, ‘I know your last name, what’s your first name?’ It works every time.”

Few was known for weaving a few jokes into his weekly sermons during his 54-year career (1957-2011) as pastor at the Creswell Presbyterian Church, and he’s still pretty quick with a quip.

“At 91, I never thought I would be this old,” he said while easing his way into his easy chair.  Tuesday, Nov. 1 – All Saints Day – was Few’s actual birthday, and the family decided to celebrate twice so more family members could attend. Sunday’s gathering was at home in Creswell, while Tuesday’s feast was at Texas Roadhouse in Eugene.  

The Few family gathers around Grandpa for his 92nd birthday. Top left: Shanitah, age 13, Kathy, Jeremy and Barbara. Front row: Tulee, 5, shows off her cute smile alongside Norm, while son David tries to sneak out the door while nobody’s looking.

Norm and Barbara Few have four children. David and Kathy were at Sunday’s birthday party, and Karen was expected to attend Tuesday’s gathering. The other son, Mark, the head coach of Gonzaga’s basketball team, was not expected to make the trip. 

Throughout his career, Few served his community in a fashion like few others can even dream of. There have been Creswell residents who were baptized, married and buried, with Few officiating at each ceremony. He did 1,400 funerals, and well over 1,000 weddings. 

“I never charged for a wedding or a funeral,” he said, “but most of them did reimburse me.”

For several decades, Few drove special education children back and forth from Springfield, Eugene and Cottage Grove, developing a lifelong “special” bond. 

“Most of them grew to love me,” he said. “There was one who wanted to get out of the car once and opened the door as we were going down the freeway.

“Another time a boy was giving me a tough time and had a gun in the car. We stopped at school in Springfield and, fortunately, a janitor there took care of the problem.”  

Few spent much of his free time visiting with church members and other friends who were sick or in poor health. 

But when he reflects on his life today, he only wishes he could have done more. 

“I think I would have spent more time doing church things,” Few said when asked what he would do differently if given the chance. “If you needed help painting, picking fruit, plowing, feeding cattle while you go hunting or fishing, yeah, I’d do it and I enjoyed doing it.”



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