November 26, 2022
Native Son of Nanaimo Passes
NUMMELA, Norman Oscar, born January 7th, 1928, in Chase River, B.C., passed away peacefully on November 26th, 2022, in the Palliative Care Unit in Nanaimo, B.C. He was almost 95 years old and lived independently in his own home until the day before he died surrounded by his family. Predeceased by his loving wife Shirley of 54 years and his sister Elsie Sullivan, Norman is survived by his three sons, Ken, Keith, and Wayne, their respective wives, Inge, Michele and Kathleen, his grandchildren: Ken’s daughter Sunny Bryant (nee: Stone) and husband Dan, Keith’s children, Erik Nicholas Nummela and Nicole ‘Nikki’ Nummela, and his great-grandchildren Indigo Dawn Bryant, Dakota Nicole Bryant, Abigail Sky Bryant and Carter Daniel Bryant.
Norman was a member of the Carpenters Union, Local 527, Nanaimo Power and Sail Squadron and a Life Member of the Kinsmen Club and the K40’s. Norman’s lifetime work was always in construction, either carpentry, detailing or estimating. In his early career, he designed and built dozens of homes in the Nanaimo area. After launching in 1978 their 44-foot yacht Kanaka Girl, built over a 10-year span in the backyard of their home, Norman and his lifetime mate Shirley continued to enjoy many years of cruising the Gulf Islands and beyond to Alaska.
Tragedy struck Norman at an early age. But by a great stroke of good fortune, he seemed largely unaffected by it. His parents both died within 3 months of each other. His mother Anna died first from a pulmonary embolism and his father was killed soon after by a runaway coal car in one of the notoriously dangerous coal mines of Nanaimo. But when he and his sister were told the sad news of their father, John Oscar Nummela (1889 – 1940), Elsie took them on their bicycles to Auntie Al’s home on Vancouver Avenue in Nanaimo. She was their mother’s younger sister, Alma Ester, who was married to none other than Edwin Ronald Norris (1899 – 1980), the Publisher of The Nanaimo Daily Free Press.
“Elsie knew what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go,” Dad once said, “We were accepted right then and there.” The four members of the Norris family were increased to six with Auntie Al expecting another child, and Howard (now deceased), Donna, George and Roné became his loving brothers and sisters, and Uncle Ron like his father and best friend.
Dad was also particularly proud of the fact he delivered Meals on Wheels for 16 years through his 70s and 80s. He loved to get to know the people he delivered meals to and listen to the stories they told him. He once said, not without some humour, “My objective is to continue (delivering meals) until past my 90th birthday as long as I have a driver’s license and I don’t get lost trying to locate the street addresses.”
Norm Nummela was well-liked by all those who met him. He was blessed with an abundance of energy and a great zest for life. We will all miss him dearly.
His Celebration of Life will be held in the New Year.