Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our neighbor, Norman Schureman


Norm was the first person to welcome me when I moved to my new house. He issued a standing invitation for a glass of wine at chez Schureman, and though a few years passed, there seemed no rush. We ran into each other all the time -- neighborhood parties, on walks, when his Labrador charged loose down the street, or mine did.

Norm was a well-proportioned, 6-foot tall gentle man with a level gaze and a wry grin -- the kind of grin that implies he knows or he knows you know a pretty good joke. Usually I’d see him in the company of his wife and kids. He built the most beautiful treehouse in their backyard. I saw the family together last month; his little boy held a new Boston Terrier puppy in his arms. “Is that cute puppy yours?” I asked the son. “Yes,” he said happily, and leaned against his father’s leg, “He’s mine.”

Norm died this weekend. He was shot and fatally wounded while at a holiday gathering.

I've never really believed in Karma; reciprocity seems more like mathematics than a philosophy. Do the honest thing or the right thing just because you want to or have to; even if Karma does exist, it might be otherwise occupied. Sometimes what goes around just keeps on going. Witness how often the good die young or at least before their time.

Some think the very young feel more deeply because adults develop callouses along the road. I don't believe that's true. It’s just, once you’re grown, you either learn to bob and weave or else end up punch drunk -- standing on street corners and in subways, making loud attempts to dissect the absolute random series of events that make up life.

(Norman Schureman taught illustration and product design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He leaves behind a wife, children, dogs, students, and a very sad neighborhood.)

This just in: Art Center College of Design will host a memorial service for alumnus and faculty member Norm Schureman on Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. The service is open to friends, family, members of the Art Center community and the general public. Full details can be found at comment #39.

44 comments:

  1. Very, very sad when the good die much too soon. Especially when death is in this manner. Somehow being at the wrong place at the wrong time doesn't seem quite right here.

    Life is sacred they say. Yet, in recent decades life has behaved with less sacredness/civility.

    If this is about Karma here, count me out. In this case, I think it's the shooter falling into the old temptation to sin & do a selfish act.

    From the news coverage, he was loved by all his students. I wish I had known him too. I may have been a better person for it. Life needs more good people like him. Not less.

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  2. Oh bloody hell. This is so awful. All I can think about is that poor little boy left without his dad.

    I hadn't read about this until now. Powerful thoughts and a lovely tribute, Karin.

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  3. Yes, the news has made the rounds among his colleagues in our small art community...I wasn't aware he was your neighbor.

    I may disagree with you over the issue of degrees in young verses old, but I can attest to the fact that a whole lot of accomplished people seem to have ended up in flea bag hotels in (name a downtown) USA.

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  4. I thought the name was familiar. I read about this elsewhere in journalistic language. You put Norman Schureman in human terms. I'm tempted to leave behind my bobbing and weaving and head to the subway platform for a good shout.

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  5. Oh Karin, a lovely tribute and such an horrible ending. I read his story online; he certainly was loved by his students. His child(ren) and their puppy will miss knowing him.

    Thank you for sharing, for making us all pause and think.

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  6. What a tragic, tragic story...very sobering.

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  7. What a loss. A terrible loss.

    GG

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  8. It's a terrible tragedy. I'm so sorry you're affected by it and have lost a great neighbor. The students at Art Center have set up a memorial with lots of artwork on the campus bridge.

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  9. I'd read about this too, and I was actually wondering if this was someone PA might know. I'm glad you have this forum to write this lovely tribute. Personally, I'm a fan of bobbing and weaving. You need to bob and weave to survive because tragedy happens too much.

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  10. This is terrible. I read about it this morning. Very, very sad.

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  11. Oh, thank you for tell me Ann. I'll try to find this on my way home.

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  12. This hit me hard. He was a complete stranger and I just feel bad about his meaningless death. I used to think I had life figured out. The bad get theirs and the good keep going. I've found over the years that there is no formula. I've come to the conclusion that the death rate for the good and bad seems to be equal, no mater what age.

    Thanks for your heartfelt tribute

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  13. I'm so very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend and neighbor. My heart breaks when I think that his children will not experience his obvious goodness. So senseless. A light extinguished over a perceived insult.

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  14. I was so sorry when I read about Schureman's death yesterday, and now am even sorrier and sadder to know that he was your neighbor and friend, a husband, a father, a dog and wine lover.

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  15. Oh, Karin, I'm so sorry for you, and feel very, very sad for his family. Susan C says it so well, but so do all the others. That poor family! So you can go to a party and get shot dead?? I wish people weren't allowed to own guns. It makes us so much more unsafe.

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  16. How terrible. What a hard blow to a close family. This really makes you think.

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  17. Aren't we lucky? In America everyone HAS to have a f**king gun! Jeeezus

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  18. Miss J read about this in the Times. Very sad. Sorry for the loss of a friend and neighbor.

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  19. I got an apple tree a week ago. Just a wanna-be apple tree, really. About five inches tall. I'm planting it in Norm's name, in the front yard, so everyone can see it when it grows straight and tall.

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  20. I can't imagine the pain of this so very senseless loss. The apple tree changing and growing through the seasons is a beautiful, living tribute to your friend and neighbor.

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  21. My sympathies to you and all who knew him. I have nothing to add to your remarks about randomness, except that I completely agree. And yes, a tree is a fine memorial.

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  22. I heard this story on the news last night and it upset me. Now to know that you knew him, even sadder. There is something about the randomness of being in a situation that wasn't supposed to happen that adds to the sense of unfairness.

    This is very similar to a story I was just telling Chieftess the other day at the picnic because it happened in her hometown. The father of a friend of mine was in an neighborhood bar where he went to unwind each day after work. One day a guy came in who was drunk, angry, and mouthing off. My friend's father, who stood about 6'6" went over and calmly told the guy that this was a quiet place and they liked to keep it that way. The guy left and went to the locker where he worked as a security guard, got this gun, and came back and shot my friend's father dead.

    I agree with you. I don't think our innate ability to feel changes as we get older. We just learn to deal with it differently. The potential to feel is always there.

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  23. This is so sad and so wrong that I don't have words except that I'll pray for his sweet family tonight.
    V

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  24. Oh, such a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the family.

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  25. My grandparents lived down the hill from Art Center. As a teen and later as an adult, I often would ride my bike or walk up the hill to AC. Once I was hanging around after a walk u-t-h and Norm was out there for some reason. We got to talking---about nothing and everything. At the time, I was still an engineer & art was foreign to me b/c I couldn't quantify it. He helped me realize that just because it was not as easy to "prove" as math, it didn't mean it wasn't valid. When I was laid off a while later, this conversation made me realize I didn't have to be so rigid in my thinking of math is exact, art isn't---and I took a different tack on my work and life.

    When I read about Norm's death I dropped to my knees and cried. So unexpected and so heartbreaking. I hope his memory is a blessing for everyone who knew him.

    Fantastic tribute to him--thank you for sharing!

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  26. Not everyone, Karen--though often I think it's just the crazies.

    Trish--what a beautiful story. I see how his life blessed yours. Many others, too, I'll bet.

    I was talking to J about this today and I got so angry at the ---- who did this. Vengeful thoughts. What kind of person does such a thing?

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  27. Oh Trish, you break my heart. I'll make sure the family sees this.

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  28. I'm so sad to read about this. It's impossible to make sense of such things. Grow, little apple tree. Grow.

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  29. I wish I didn't have the story to tell right now...I wish I could sit back and tell a story like this in another 30 years when he finally retired from AC and I recognized his name.

    I wish I could stop alternately crying and being angry.

    May Norm's memory be for a blessed memory to all who knew him, all he touched and all who by proxy knew his work.

    wv: seriously it was "iounrm" i.o.u norm...totally.

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  30. How strange, bizarre, shocking & tragic. He sounds like a lovely man who will live on through his family and friends' memories of him.

    I don't begin to understand how life's pieces fit together.

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  31. Trish,
    You might have met his father. He also was an Art Center instructor

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  32. PAdj--It was Norm...we exchanged names...why I remember that, I have no idea (right up there with my 9th grade gym locker combo---still in my head). I am also fairly certain my grandparents knew Bob. I may have met Bob when I did a few tours right after AC opened...but I know whom I met on my walk.

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  33. A beautiful, honest tribute, Karin. I'm so sorry for his family's loss. And for your loss as a neighbor.

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  34. When "it" happens to someone you know, the impact is astounding. And yet this, or something very similar, happens frequently ... so someone ... in a suburban street ... close to one of us. There are close-knit communities reeling each day through senseless deeds like this, senseless random deed, some deliberate and others just careless.

    I cannot ease your grief nor would I want to. But I do take from your words something to think about, namely the bobbing and weaving vs the punch drunk.

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  35. I'm working on a cut and paste of your comments for the card. Gosh, that sounds like next to nothing, doesn't it? But I feel so compelled to do something. We in the neighborhood were begging Norm's wife to give us some chores.

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  36. How many kids are there, Karin? And how old?

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  37. Trish,
    Thank you for adding your sweet memories to Hiker's. It makes this wonderful man even more real for the rest of us. I hope these nice tributes will be a comfort to his dear family. Bless their hearts.
    V

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  38. Art Center College of Design will host a memorial service for alumnus and faculty member Norm Schureman on Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. The service is open to friends, family, members of the Art Center community and the general public.

    Art Center College of Design | Hillside Campus | Sculpture Garden
    1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91103

    In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Norman Schureman Memorial Scholarship: http://www.artcenter.edu/accd/giving.jsp

    Please be aware on-campus parking will be limited. We encourage you to carpool to ensure parking is available for all.

    For those unable to attend, the College intends to webcast the service on the Art Center website: http://www.artcenter.edu/accd/news_events/videos.jsp

    If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Public Relations at 626.396.2338.

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  39. Karin,
    Thank you for the tribute. I have never met him but I am left in disgust and sadness. I am currently taking art classes of which two of my instructors were once students of his. My teachers told me wonderful stories about him and I would like to let everyone know especially his family, that he didn't just touch his students and the community around him, but also the students of his students teaching what he taught reaching beyond to generations that have come and will come after him.
    Sincerely,
    Satoshi

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  40. I would just like to say THANK YOU!
    Norman is my uncle..... It is so nice to see people write and talk about him the way his family does.

    Thanks for all the love and support XoXo Uncle Norman will be missed

    He would be happy to know there is an apple tree growing in his name!

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  41. Norman's niece: Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a lovely note for all of us.

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  42. Norman was my uncle and mentor. He showed me the way of design since I was a young kid, I just recently graduated from Art Center with his help. Thank you for blogging about this it's so nice to read that so many people can see what a wonderful man he was.

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  43. Kurtis, many congratulations. I had a feeling such a great talent would run in the family.

    And thank you for the update. Your uncle must have known or been known by lots of people all over the world, juding by those who have visited this post, and continue to visit every week.

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