A “complete gift.”
When you’ve known someone for nearly 30 of the 45 years of his life, that is how you sum up the time when the person was gospel-recording artist “Shea” Norman and you knew him as Deborah Thomas did.
“He was loving, talented and extremely funny! Shea is loved by so many all over the world. He gave freely of himself,” said Thomas, a renowned local songbird and actress. “He often shared in schools, churches, choir workshops and with his peers. He was so genuine.”
Alen V. “Shea” Norman died October 26. The Memphis native, who was 45, died of complications associated with diabetes.
Thirteen years ago, Norman, who graduated from Raleigh-Egypt High School (1990) and studied at the University of Memphis, stepped onto the professional music charts with “My Heart Depends on You,” notching at No. 17 among Billboard magazine’s Gospel Albums.
“A gifted musician, a singers’ singer, he always treated me with utmost respect,” said Thomas, reiterating that Norman “was so funny.”
Norman, said Thomas, was with Grammy-Award winner Fred Hammond (urban praise and worship pioneer) for a while and (he) Hammond was in awe of the gift Shea possessed. His voice is a soothing balm.”
“Shea” as Thomas and so many more called him, hailed from “good stock,” she said.
“His parents are wonderful people and his siblings are extremely talented, too! He is loved and it is so hard to let go.”
Pastor James Norman said his son had undergone treatment for about five weeks at St. Francis Hospital and was being treated at a rehabilitation facility when he passed.
“My wife (Judith A. Norman) and I had talked to him (at one point) and he had told the both of us that… ‘I’m just tired of hurting. I’m just tired right now.’”
Reflecting on his son as a young man, Norman recalled Shea’s piano-playing prowess being featured on a segment of a local television program when Shea was about 11.
“I bought him a piano way back when he was like eight or nine years old. My wife used to tell me, ‘I’m tired of that boy on that piano.’ I’d say, ‘Leave him alone; he’s going to be all right. Close the door,’” Pastor Norman said.
“He would practice …even when he got home from school…constantly practice. I’d say, ‘I got your homework, man.’ He’d do that and then you look around and he was back on the piano again.
“He sang and played the way I eat. That means he was awfully good.”
“Shea” Norman also leaves two sisters, Shontell D. Norman-Beaty and Jeanine Sharisse Norman, and a brother James V. Norman.
Services for Norman now are complete, with visitation Nov. 16 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Zion Temple Church of God in Christ at 2935 Sam Cooper Blvd.
The home-going celebration will be Nov. 17 at Brown Baptist Church at 7200 Swinnea Rd. in Southaven, Miss.
R.S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home has charge.