Dr. Cora Ellen Norman

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Dr. Cora Ellen Norman, 94, passed away of natural causes at home at Cumberland Ridge Assisted Living in Crossville, Tenn., on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. She was born to Robert and Jewell Garner in Hope, Ark., and enjoyed a large and loving extended family.  

Dr. Norman graduated from Magnolia Agricultural and Mechanical College, married William Norman, received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Western College and had two children Robert and Judith. After settling in Oxford, Mississippi, she became active in the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, women’s rights and race relations. An advocate of lifelong learning, she enjoyed helping others realize their educational and professional goals. She received advanced degrees from the University of Mississippi and was especially proud of her PhD, always insisting upon using her title. 

Dr. Norman was the founding executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council and served from 1972 until her retirement in 1996. She enjoyed her years in Jackson, Mississippi, and her involvement in academic, cultural and civic activities. She missed those activities in retirement but enjoyed traveling and writing Mississippi in Transition: The Role of the Mississippi Humanities Council, a book about her experiences at MHC. She loved exploring other cultures and developing new friendships. And pubs were of special interest. She thrived on the laughter, the music and especially the Scotch! It was always the right time for a party.  

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Dr. Norman is survived by children Bob and Brenda Norman of Oxford, Mississippi, and Judy and Phil Elgin of Crossville, Tennessee; grandchildren Michael and Sara Bratton of Readyville, Tennessee; Will and Tara Norman of Nesbit, Mississippi; Matt and Ann Bratton of Christiana, Tennessee; Nicholas and Kendra Bratton of Clarksville, Tennessee; Neal Norman and Rob Norman of Oxford, Mississippi; Jeremy and Laura Elgin, Jonathan and Larke Elgin and Jessica Elgin and Anthony Brown all of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; 22 great-grandchildren. Dr. Norman was predeceased by her husband of 66 years Dr. William H. Norman, parents Robert and Jewell Garner and brother Clyde Garner. 

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mississippi Humanities Council, Jackson, Mississippi, or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. 

Bilbrey Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements.