Letters to the Editor

Norm Wooldridge was truly a stouthearted man | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Thinking of a proper obituary for my friend Norm Wooldridge, a song kept running through my head. The song came from a Romberg musical in the '20s. The song went: “Give me a man, a stouthearted men and I’ll soon give you ten thousand more.”

Norm was that, a stout-hearted man, who as the dictionary said had courage and determination.

He was on a ladder installing a burglar alarm system at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts when I first met him. The Wooldridges and the Robisons were both newcomers in 1980.

We immediately became friends because his wife and I had rapport. We were both writers and BAC fans.

After that, he seemed to be at every event I attended. Norm chaired several and led many efforts with stouthearted determination. His purpose was what was best for Bainbridge.

To name his contributions would have to start with the installation of a burglar alarm system, moving with Nan to a patron of the arts, the environmental movement, the blooming of the Arts and Humanities Council, head of an exploratory committee for a community center.

One-Island Government became his mission. Then, as we all knew he would, he ran for city council and served two terms, one as council chairman.

Each job seemed to make Norm stronger, more determined to expect the best from his community.

I recall him standing at our door saying, “One-Island government is crucial to our future.” With the determination he aroused in those that needed a nudge to get going, I immediately went canvassing the neighbors.

Countless people heeded his determination. We are a one-island government, much to the thanks of his and other stouthearted men and women.

To picture Norm as all business is false, for he had a sense of humor. At one party he wore a black-and-white ceramic bow tie. He was an athlete climbing through Europe with his four sons and Nan and bike tours throughout the northwest. To add to his many talents, he became a fine photographer.

He and Nan never missed an arts activity. Both were treasures in my book.

With progression of his cancer, his bike riding was the last sport to go. He restricted his energies to his camera.

I bought one of his prints, a shot of bright balloons dancing in a cloudless sky.

He would not live the year out, but I still have his photograph of a good day in Norm’s life with bright balloons and bright sky.

This stouthearted man will be sorely missed.


Bainbridge Island


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