MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It was the late sixties, Diahann Carroll was Julia on NBC, John Carlos and Tommie Smith turned out the Olympics, and a little boy and his brothers electrified the world singing "I Want You Back".
Against this backdrop we first heard his voice on Radio Station WRMA; the sonorous tone, the precise enunciation, belonging to a man with the then unseemly name of Norman Lumpkin.
It took WSFA to show him to us and we liked what we saw. He was brash, he was sharp, he was a consummate professional, he was proud and we were proud of him.
He was as real as one could be, the genuine article. In his self-effacing way he would declare, "I'm just a TV reporter, man!", but the twinkle in his eyes hinted at the part unsaid, the "...likely the best you'll ever meet".
Norman didn't like everyone, but he respected most. And in return, you need not like him, but respect him you would. Respect that came from being the best at what he did.
In a career spanning four decades his investigative reporting set a standard still unmatched; he was an inspiration and mentor to a generation of journalists and not all looked like him.
We lost the great man on Tuesday, to his family and devoted wife Thomasina we offer our condolences.
Delivered by: Bill Ford