Glenn Paul Norris was born January 17, 1947 near Bennington, Oklahoma, to Glenn M. and Effie (Mead) Norris, and departed this life August 27, 2020 at age 73. His preschool years were spent on a farm. However, at age 5 he and his family began moving around the United States due to his father following jobs in aircraft engineering. They moved about once a year to such places as Fort Worth, TX; Birmingham, AL; Wichita, KS; Salt Lake City, UT; and Marietta, GA. It was in Marietta that they found a beloved home during all Glenn’s high school years. He returned home to Oklahoma for college and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English with minors in French and History from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, OK.
Glenn placed his faith in Jesus Christ at age 7. That decision was the guiding light of his life, leading him to feel a call to ministry in high school. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1973 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX, while pastoring a small church in Caney, OK. In 1986 he received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.
It was at Southwestern Seminary on September 1, 1972 that he met Greta Kaye Beck of Harrison, AR, who became the love of his life. On May 12, 1973 they were united in marriage, and spent 47 joyous and adventurous years together. Some of their fondest memories are of their many travels across the U.S., visiting 46 states and many national and state parks while indulging Glenn’s love of cowboys and history, and Greta’s love of nature and animals. Glenn always had an intense fondness for the Old West, and an abiding love of old movies, old cars, and books of many types, from theological to Westerns, mysteries, and history.
Upon meeting, Glenn and Greta quickly found they shared a passion for “pioneer missions” (planting and growing new churches), especially in the Southwestern U.S. God first opened a door for them to help grow the recently established Foothills Southern Baptist Mission in Yuma, AZ, where they spent six very fulfilling years (including the birth of their daughter, Rebecca.) The ministry then took them to pastor the Southern Baptist Church of Bedford, IN, for 5 years (where their son David was born); to Lincoln Street Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, IA, for 4 years, where Glenn was named “Circuit Riding Church Planter” by the Iowa Baptist Convention and led numerous state mission endeavors; to Clear Lake Baptist Church in Blytheville, AR, for 6 years; and finally to Little Rock, AR, in 1993, where Glenn held two short pastorates.
Glenn often stated that the most meaningful times of his ministry were spent serving those dealing with illness, dying, and grief. In January 1996 God opened a most wonderful door into hospital chaplaincy at Baptist Health Systems, where Glenn spent 20 special years that he considered the pinnacle of his career. The majority of that time was spent at Baptist Health Springhill in North Little Rock, with staff and coworkers whom he considered his “second family”. He retired in 2016 due to health issues.
Glenn was preceded in death by his parents, Glenn and Effie Norris. Glenn is survived by his wife, Greta, of the home in Sherwood, AR; one daughter, Rebecca Norris, of Philadelphia, PA; and one son, David Glenn Norris, of Chicago, IL. Both children were the light of his life and his proudest accomplishment. He is also survived by one sister, Byrdie Walden, of Temple, TX; several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews, all of Texas; plus numerous other relatives and friends scattered across the United States.
The family wishes to express a special word of thanks to the caring staff of Fox Ridge Assisted Living in North Little Rock and Viki from Hospice Home Care for the compassionate care they shared with our loved one in his final days.
Graveside services will be held Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 10:00 AM at Rest Hills Memorial Park in Sherwood. Services will be live-streamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Griffin-Leggett-Rest-Hills-Funeral-Home-110857847245059/, and a recording will be posted online by Smith Funeral Home after the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Second Baptist Church, 222 East 8th Street, Little Rock, AR 72202, or to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W., Lilburn, GA 30047 or online at Honor & Memorial Gifts | Lewy Body Dementia Association.
State of AR COVID-19 directives: Face coverings required. Maintain social distancing.
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