Norman Denard, 99


Norman Denard, a long time resident of Princeton, died at the age of 99 on January 9, 2021 at RWJ Somerset.

Norman was born in Trenton and graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was married to his late wife, Roz, for 73 years. Norm and she moved to Princeton in the early 1950’s and created a wonderful home and life for themselves and their 3 children.

Norm was a polymath of sorts. He had deep knowledge, interest and affinities in a wide range of areas and subject matter.  These included world cultures, literature, poetry, history, etymology, geography, physics, electricity, natural sciences, climatology, astronomy, writing, religion, foreign language, the arts, philosophy, technology, classical and folk music. He was always more than happy to delve into conversation on any of these subjects, with family, friends and acquaintances alike.

Norman was a partner for many years at Mohawk Electric in lower Manhattan. He had dreamed of becoming a teacher and sharing his love of learning so after retirement he went back to college and received a Masters in Education including his Teacher’s Certification. Following a few years of subbing and giving it his best shot but not feeling fulfilled, he shifted gears.

Norm had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and was a true lover of learning.  His involvement with Community Without Walls also served as an opportunity to stay engaged. Whether by extensive reading, participating in Elderhostel and Smithsonian trips, taking courses online or auditing classes at Princeton, expanding his mind was always important to him.

Over the years, in addition to his intellectual bent, he was also very happy when participating in a wide range of past-times.   They included canoeing (white and flat water), skiing (downhill and cross country), sailing, motorcycling, bird watching, mucking for marine life at the shore, hiking, woodworking, clay sculpting, snorkeling, photography, fencing, ice skating, and camping.

Traveling and adventuring with Roslyn and with close friends was an important aspect of his life, as well. He had the pleasure to visit over 50 countries around the world which included highlights such as Israel, exploring the bridges of Wales, Bhutan, the steppes of Eastern Mongolia, the Silk Road, Greenland, Kenya, Pakistan, Turkey, Peru, and Tibet. Norm was a staunch supporter of the Free Tibet movement. He never tired of seeing the historical, cultural and natural wonders of the world. His fascination in the children and people of these countries was caught innumerable times in pictures or tapes as his subjects showed equal captivation in his camera and recorder.

Jewish heritage and values were two things Norm felt strongly about. As a child, he even gave up his own bed for Golda Meir when she came to Trenton to inspire support for the State of Israel. In the years that followed, he continued to share that commitment with family, friends and members of the Jewish community. Often he would share a Succoth celebration at home that was both traditional and memorable for all. He was also a committed supporter of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University and served as President of The Jewish Center while being involved in its various committees and groups.

During WWII, as a member of the US Army Air Corps, he served as a Supply Officer, an Airplane Armament Officer as well as a Gunnery Instructor stateside.  While stationed in the Philippines Norm was involved in Air and Sea Rescue. He also worked for a time in the US Weather Bureau out of Rochester NY.

Words that describe Norm Denard best would include: gentle, honest, a global humanitarian, compassionate, inquisitive, moral, interesting, intelligent, grateful, and devoted to the love of his life, Roz.

Norman is survived by his son Jeff and his daughter Lisa Denard (Peter Koval), including grandchildren, Sean, Jessica, Tracy, Amanda and Alexis, and two great-grandchildren, Evelyn and Walker.  He is predeceased by his wife Roslyn, his daughter, Karen Denard Goldman, parents Samson and Yetta Donskoy and his sister Bas Zion Kelsey.

A memorial service will be planned for a later date.