Paul Murry Norwood died peacefully at home in Mineral Springs, Ark., on Jan. 12, 2017 at the age of 96.
Paul was preceded in death by his wife, Abilene Norwood. He is survived by his children and their spouses — Paula and Terry Smith of Shreveport, La., Pam and Mike Arrington of Rome, Ga., Phil and Kathy Norwood of Ashdown, Ark., Randy and Gayle Norwood of Texarkana, Texas; grandchildren – Terry Smith of Fayetteville, Ark., Stephanie Sanders of Shreveport, La., Jennifer Cross of Texarkana, Texas, Ashley Ellington of Rome, Ga., Denise Norwood of Little Rock, Ark., Shannon Speer of Little Rock, Ark., Rendi Wiggins of Texarkana, Texas, Faith Norwood of Texarkana, Texas and Abbey Norwood of Texarkana, Texas; great grandchildren – Ellison Smith of Fayetteville, Ark., Kaitlyn Cross of Texarkana, Texas, Porter Smith of Fayetteville, Ark., Olivia Cross of Texarkana, Texas, William Sanders of Shreveport, La., Mary Ella Sanders of Shreveport, La., Sanders Wiggins of Texarkana, Texas, Murray Ellington of Rome, Ga., Anne Walker Ellington of Rome, Ga., James Phillip (JP) Speer of Little Rock, Ark., Jack Speer of Little Rock, Ark., and Jack Henry Wiggins of Texarkana, Texas; siblings – Nell McPherson of Dallas, Texas, Donnie Duke of Liberty, Mo., Bill Norwood of Texarkana, Texas, and Doug Norwood of Genoa, Ark.
Paul is preceded in death by his siblings – Houston Norwood of Houston, Texas, Gladys Barton of Mineral Springs, Ark., MJ Norwood, Jr. of Waskom, Texas, Lula Powell of Dallas, Texas, Virginia Norwood of Mineral Springs, Ark., Opal Green of Mineral Springs, Ark., and Loreen Kessee of Dallas, Texas.
Paul was born on Dec. 6, 1920 in Mineral Springs, Ark. to Marshall and Mittie Norwood. He graduated from Mineral Springs High School in 1939 and attended Henderson State Teachers College on a basketball scholarship. Paul married the lovely Clovis Abilene McLaughlin of Mineral Springs, Ark. on July 18, 1942 and soon thereafter moved into their home at the corner of Lewis and Browning streets in Mineral Springs, Ark. It was in this home of nearly 75 years that Paul and Abilene welcomed their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Paul and Abilene’s home was the cornerstone to four generations of the Norwood family and was a place of gathering for friends and extended family. Paul was the patriarch and provided stability and strength to his family and set clear expectations of how he hoped his children and grandchildren would lead their lives. His constant presence was felt by all even during the years he traveled for work.
Paul was a man of drive, determination and hard work. Early in his work life, Paul worked for Erwin Newman Construction as a Site Supervisor on numerous large public projects. Later in his career, Paul worked for Sunnyside and Tyson in Nashville, Ark. Paul was not a man to sit around idlely, and well into his 80s spent most days and many hours at his farm in Mineral Springs raising cattle, growing hay, and gardening. His farm served as another constant backdrop for the lives of his family, and many valuable lessons were learned by his children and grandchildren through helping Paul with the upkeep of the farm and garden.
Unbeknownst to most, Paul was a consummate connoisseur of country music and took the opportunity while traveling in his early work life to see many of the great pioneers of country music perform. Even late into his life, Paul could hear a song and tell you the name of the song, the artist, and many times be able to recount the time when he had seen them perform. In his later years, his family enjoyed accompanying him to numerous country music concerts where his years would fade away and a glimpse into the younger man could be seen.
At 96 years of age, having lost Abilene in August 2009 and having outlived most of his contemporaries, Paul was prepared and ready to join Abilene and his God. Paul and Abilene were active and dedicated members of Central Baptist Church in Mineral Springs, which was just a block from their home and very much part of the Norwood family.
A memorial lunch and receiving of friends was held Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. at the Black Pearl, Runnels Street in downtown Mineral Springs, with burial at the Mineral Springs Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.
Reverend T. Wayne Price of Texas officiated the ceremony. All were welcome to attend and celebrate Paul’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Central Baptist Church in Mineral Springs, AR at 128 N. Lewis St., Mineral Springs, AR 71851. Condolences can be sent to www.latimerfuneralhome.com. The family would like to thank Paul’s friends/caregivers Layla Hartness and Deborah Burton for their kindness and care of Paul during his final years.