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Martin LaVern Norris Veteran
October 13, 2022


Vern Norris, 100, of Anderson, died peacefully October 13, 2022 at Primrose.

Vern was born February 22, 1922, in Heflin, Louisiana, to Martin V. and Sarah Norris. The youngest of seven children, he graduated from high school in Athens, Louisiana, in 1939, and began attending Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana, in 1940. It was in the Church of God in Ruston that he met Frances Ouzts, and they were married June 24, 1943.

He entered the Army Air Force in the fall of 1943 and, for eighteen months, was stationed on Guam where he serviced the radio and radar equipment on Army Air Force bombers and cargo planes.

Upon his discharge from military service in 1946, Vern enrolled at Louisiana State University where he earned three degrees, including a PhD degree in sociology (1958). He earned a BTh degree in Religious Education from Anderson College (1948-49), and he engaged in post-graduate study in marriage and family therapy at the University of Minnesota (1966-67). Before receiving his doctorate, Vern served as a vocational counselor with the Veterans Administration at LSU, taught sociology at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, and at SMU in Dallas, Texas. Beginning in 1958, he taught sociology at Anderson University until his retirement in 1992. In 1967 he established a marriage and family major at AU (a major now known as Family Science). Vern was also a marriage and family therapist and engaged in personal, premarital, marital, and family therapy for students, faculty, staff, and many persons in the broader community. He served as Chair of his department from 1988-1992. Beginning in 1973, he and Fran led student Tri-S groups in Japan, Australia, Africa, Panama, and Hawaii. They were also active participants in several Tri-S trips abroad for faculty and staff.

In addition to his work at Anderson University, Vern served on various committees and boards at Park Place Church of God, in the national offices of the Church of God, in the Anderson community, and with state and national professional organizations. In 1960, he and Fran began the Truthfinders Sunday School class at Park Place Church of God for newly-weds and engaged couples. He and Fran were also actively involved in a Quest Group that met monthly for approximately fifty-five years. Vern often conducted family life conferences on weekends and engaged in speaking engagements designed to promote stronger marriage and family relationships. He was the author of one book, Before You Say I Do, and many articles for church periodicals. In addition to many fun songs, he wrote two hymns: Rejoice, God Is Here and God Is In All That Is. He also wrote one choral anthem: Were We Aware of God’s Presence (arranged by a close friend, Louetta Beard). After his retirement in 1992, he volunteered to teach computer courses at the Anderson Public Library for several years.

Vern was preceded in death by Fran Norris, his beloved wife for almost 69 years, his grandson, John Bauer, his parents, Martin V. and Sarah Norris, four sisters and their husbands (Arlene and Dewey King, Thelma and Otis Perry, Irma and Carl Fuller, and Mildred and Merrill Holley), two brothers and one sister-in-law (Irby Norris and Elbert Norris and his wife, Rose), many nieces and nephews.

He is survived by his daughters, Diana Norris Bowen (Jeff); and Gayle Norris Bauer; several grandchildren, great grandchildren and nephews and nieces, and many wonderful friends.

A memorial service for Vern will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 2 PM at Park Place Church of God, 501 College Drive, in Anderson. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the memorial service at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Vern and Fran Norris Endowed Scholarship Fund at Anderson University, 1100 E Fifth St, Anderson IN 46012-3495. The fund provides scholarships for deserving students majoring in Family Science.

The family would like to thank Primrose Assisted Living, Heartland Hospice and Legacy OT/PT for their loving care of Vern.

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Rozelle Johnson Funeral Service
229 S. Rangeline Road
Anderson, IN 46012