David E. Norris passed away Aug. 27 at the age of 74. One of his favorite quotes was: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'"

He was born on May 14, 1944, and lived most of his life in Wichita, Kansas. He attended North High School, where he played football and wrestled, and the University of Kansas, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and earned his undergraduate degree in education and his Masters in Business Administration. After graduation, he taught school and coached in Central Kansas and worked in banking in Chicago. As his father's business, Dean E. Norris Plumbing, grew, Norris was asked to return to Wichita from Chicago to help manage and expand the firm.

In 1971, Norris and his father co-founded DEN Management Co. Inc., which is the parent company for Dean E. Norris Inc. and Professional Mechanical Contractors Inc, which collectively employ more than 150 in the Wichita area. Norris was active in his industry on a national level, serving as president of the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors' — National Association (SMACNA) from 1996 to 1997. He also co-chaired the International Training Institute, the National Energy Management Institute, and the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute as well as chairing the Local Work Force Investment Board. He was also recognized as the SMACNA contractor of the Year for his vision and insight in helping reshape the industry's joint labor management training program. 

He was also very active in his community and served on a number of boards including the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA.

Norris was preceded in death by his parents, Dean and Betty Norris. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Clowie McLaughlin; his daughters Jill Norris, Kelly Norris, Laurie Haddorff (Chris), and Machin Norris; stepdaughter Danielle Schweikert (Jeff); four grandchildren Marnie, Gracie, Sadie, and Parker; his brother Michael (Kory); and his sister, Stephanie Norris.

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. His family asks that his friends salute the Captain's memory in their own way. If you are so moved, a memorial has been established with the KU Endowment Association, Attn: David E. Norris Athletic Fund, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044. Or, just enjoy a drink of your favorite beverage and perform a random act of kindness for some less fortunate soul, in memory of Norris' full and rewarding life. 

Publication date: 9/10/2018

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