THE life of Lisburn man Norman Calvert, the brother of Lisburn Alderman Cecil Calvert, was celebrated recently after he passed away in his adopted home in Canada on January 27.
Family and friends gathered for a service at the Community Pentecostal Church in Beaverton, Ontario, on January 31.
Norman Alexander Calvert was born on February 3, 1934, in Lisburn to Isaac and Elizabeth Calvert. He grew up with his brother Cecil and sisters Lilly, Doreen and Daphne on a small farm.
Norman attended Lambeg School and then moved onto Derriaghy Primary. At this time, he joined the local Boy Scouts and got a job at the Derriaghy Church of Ireland ringing the bell. Both of these would lead to adventures for Norman. One Sunday he was found asleep when he should have been ringing the bell.
During a Boy Scout campout, Norman and his friends thought they could light a candle in the tent, which caused the loss of the tent and an upset camp leader but, fortunately, no injuries.
Norman developed a love for music and joined the Derriaghy Accordion Band. Coming home late at night on a bicycle with an accordion on his back also caused problems at times. One evening, Norman forgot that the road had a bend in it and ended up in his neighbour's rhubarb field. On another occasion, coming up his laneway, he thought there was a branch in the path which he could manoeuvre around but, at the last minute, realised it was the family donkey lying in the lane, which caused a huge spill. Norman also got involved in the local Apprentice Boys of Derry, Lisburn Lodge and joined the Orange Lodge No. 136, an association he would continue in Canada.
After completing school Norman did an apprenticeship in engineering at Mackie's Foundry. Upon completion, he started working at Sirocco Engineering in Belfast. In 1956, Norman met the love of his life, Eleanor, at the Ballylesson Orange Hall dance. Norman asked Eleanor if he could walk her home that evening but she told him no. One year later, at the same dance, they met again and this time Eleanor accepted his invitation to walk her home. They were married in 1958.
In 1960, with Sirocco closing down and after hearing the stories of Canada from his sister Doreen who was living there, Norman and Eleanor packed up and moved to Toronto. He found a job as a draftsman, making a number of friends from Ireland including Kevin McCormack and fellow Lisburn man Dave Andrews, who worked at Consumers Gas. Dave encouraged Norman to apply and in 1961 he began what would be a successful 35 year career in sales with Consumers Gas.
Through his work Norman won several sales awards and even won a trip to Dunedin, Florida in 1977 to see the newly formed Toronto Blue Jays at Spring training. He had never seen a baseball game before but this started a new found interest in the sport for Norman.
He also developed a love for ice hockey, especially the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is something that he kept with him until the end.
Norman continued his love of bands, joining the Northern Ireland Accordion Band who travelled back through Scotland and Northern Ireland many times for parades. Norman started his own band in Toronto, the Centennial Accordion.
In 1964 Norman and Eleanor started a family with a son, Eric, joined by Norman Jr. in 1965 and their daughter Karen in 1967. In 1979, the family moved to a farm in Beaverton and had another son, Colin.
Norman's love of music continued as he started the Beaverton Accordion Band, which created great memories for everyone. In 1996, Norman retired from the gas company but kept busy in the Orange and Masonic Lodges, tinkering around the house and doing a bit of travel. Norman lived to the fullest, side-by-side with his wife through the good times and the bad.