Lonnie J. Norman, a longtime mayor of Manchester, a small town in Tennessee, has died from COVID-19 complications. Norman was just re-elected to a third term as mayor this past August but fell ill at the top of October.
Local publication the Manchester Times reports that Norman passed away Monday (Oct. 12) after being hospitalized at the top of the month due to complaints related to the coronavirus.
From the Times:
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has issued the following statement:
Today we share in the sorrow of a great loss to our community. Mayor Lonnie J.Norman was a dedicated servant to the people of Manchester for several years. He served as Mayor during the early 9o’s and again since 2012.
Lonnie was a statesman and a diplomat, but above all else, he was kind, honest, and thoughtful. In a world that seems to so easily divided, Mayor Norman brought us together. Mayor Norman understood the importance of compromise and honest debate.
He guided our community with a strong and steady yet gentle hand with empathy and compassion.
According to a family statement shared by the Times, Norman served 40 years as an employee of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, entering public office in 1984. He was first elected as Manchester’s mayor in 1991, then again in 2012, and once more in August 2020.
Norman was also credited for helping keep in place the infrastructure to host the popular Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival held annually there. Many also credit Norman for being a fighter for the rights of all Coffee County residents in terms of health care and job equity.
Lonnie J. Norman was 79.