Cannelton, Indiana -
Norman Hay --a true original-- passed peacefully in his sleep at his daughter’s home in Newburgh on Sunday October 13, 2019 from injuries sustained in an auto accident on October 4, 2019.
Norman was born March 14, 1934 to Thomas and Lula (Gaesser) Hay of Cannelton, IN. He was 8th in their family of 12 children, who grew up poor, Huckleberry Finn style, exploring with his brothers on the banks of the Ohio River.
When Norm joined the Army after high school, he would send money home to his mother, and also purchased several special outfits for his youngest sister, Judy, while she was in high school. These gifts were fondly remembered as times were hard along the riverbank in Cannelton during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The Ohio River would flood the Hay home during the Spring every year, which Norm characterized as annual “Spring Cleaning”. He later developed his own version of "Spring Cleaning” at his home in Clifton Heights with the annual burn off of his hillside, which, much to the chagrin of his neighbors, often summoned the Cannelton Fire Department.
After spending some years living in California with his brother Denny, Norm graduated from Troy State University. He later lived with his sister Sue and her husband, John Horn, along with his brother Paul, while he attended law school at Indiana University School of Law, circa 1964-1966, until “Sue kicked us out”. Many good times were had at Sue and John’s backyard, extremely competitive volleyball games were played, which often included brothers Earl and Paul and the Horn’s next-door neighbors, the Poles.
An eternal optimist, Norman was an attorney who spent much of his career attempting to get compensation from the federal government for farmers who lost large amounts of land due to erosion after high lift dams were built on the Ohio River. The government paid for land initially flooded but not subsequent land erosion. The government argued rain caused the erosion. Norm argued dams raised water levels and waves were now hitting dirt rather than sand. There were wins and losses along the way with the case finally arriving at the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it due to a lower court’s previous ruling for the government.
Norm was also optimistic about marriage. If asked, he would say he was married twice; twice (but counted as one) to Mary Deeter, now deceased, of Indianapolis for 10 and 2 yrs. respectively, and to attorney Carol Boling of Lewisport, Kentucky for 7 years. With Mary, children were produced, along with the purchase of their land and cabin in Goosetown, population 21. At the cabin, much time was spent by their children fishing in the pond and playing in the creek bed (and later in high school hosting keg parties with their friends) while Norm cut/split firewood and deer hunted with his brother Tommy and cousin Gary Hay.
With Carol a true meeting of the minds was enjoyed, along with many, many Hoosiers vs. Wildcats jokes…Norm, always a gentleman, thoroughly enjoyed ribbing his in-laws when the Wildcats were suspended from the NCAA tournament in the late 1980s. Norm tried a few more times to attain marital bliss but they were very brief marriages, his sage advice of “do what you want to do” shared with his son-in-law, Chuck, as the secret to life, was not always met with agreement by his spouses. The Catholic Church frowns upon divorce so he could not take communion, but he could ring the bells at St. Michael Church. The bells are enormous and he enjoyed this activity at age 82 along with great niece, Natalie Herzog, as kids like big, loud bells too.
Norm had no fear of dying because he often told he had a beyond and back experience. In 1975, he and a friend, Martin Stuart Walls, were canoeing on Blue River and got caught in a waterfall. Sadly, Marty drown. Norman always recounted that he died too, went to heaven, and returned. It was all good.
Norman was Cannelton’s city attorney for many years and later Perry County Prosecutor for two terms. He spent his retirement mowing grass and taking care of his cabin in rural Perry County. He also enjoyed visiting casinos when the weather was bad and sometimes, when the weather was good.
He is survived by his and Mary’s two children, Lance Hay of Austin Texas and Lavena (Chuck) McCullum of Newburgh; son, Derek Helm of Tell City, IN; grandchildren, Daniel, Harper and Woods Hay of Austin TX and Cael and Anneliese McCullum of Newburgh; siblings Jim Hay of Owensboro, KY, Paul Hay of Indianapolis, and Judy Herzog (Norman), Cannelton and three generations of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Harold in infancy, Jack, Ralph, Tommy, Earl and Denny Hay and sisters, Ruthie Groves and Sue Horn.
A celebration of Norm’s life will be held at the Patio from 12p to 3pm on Sunday October 20th for close friends and family. The family asks that memorial donations be made to Southern Indiana Resource Solutions (SIRS) www.sirs.org as they support the autism community.
Norm chose cremation with his ashes to be distributed among many places he loved, including: his Goosetown land; the Ohio River; his mother's grave; Rough River; Missouri River in Montana; the Gulf of Mexico; and the Oregon Pacific Ocean Coast...his family is still trying to recall all of Norm's requested spots, and will look forward to the future vacations as they fulfill his wishes.
Huber Funeral Home, Cannelton Chapel, assisted the family with arrangements.
To send flowers to Norman's family, please visit our floral section.