provoking thoughts about the presence of our past

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Great "China Clipper" Normie Kwong

Still mourning the loss of one of our greatest Canadians, the "China Clipper" Normie Kwong. I had the honour of meeting and knowing The Honourable Norman Kwong because he and his wife Mary Kwong are the parents of one of my best friends, but I had known his story long before I first met him because he was an inspiration to so many kids (and adults) in Canada.

One of the great memories of my life will always be sitting down with Normie and Mary for an afternoon interviewing them with my student Jennifer Yip, who then edited highlights from the interview into an online short called "Clipping Barriers" (embedded above).  We had so much visual material from his career as a CFL star, as businessman and part owner of the Calgary Flames, as GM of the Calgary Stampeders, and as Lieutenant Governor of Alberta because his wife Mary and Normie's sister had carefully collected and saved newspaper clippings throughout his long and important career. We were able to digitally scan the materials and my student Woan-Jen Wang was able to put them in archival order before helping arrange their donation to the Alberta provincial archives, where those interested in his life and impact on Canadian society can use them for research.

As those who knew him well and spoke at his state funeral on September 13 attested, he was a warm and funny man who could put someone at ease as much through teasing and joking as through his genuinely kind heart. Deepest condolences to the Kwong family, and to all Canadians, for the loss of this truly historic figure.

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