Norman Charles Famous passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, January 28, 2018 in Augusta, ME. Norm was born November 12, 1948, and baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Norwood, PA.
He grew up in Prospect Park, attended Interboro High School, and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Space Sciences from Millersville State University. His letter of recommendation from Dr. Catherine Keever, MSU, to attend graduate school said that while you would never get Norm to do something he didn’t want to, he was the best “natural-born” naturalist she had ever met. He then moved to Maine earning his Master’s degree in Plant Systematics from the University of Maine at Orono, later moving to Machiasport, ME, situating along the Lower Bay of Fundy.
Norm had a brilliant mind for life sciences. He deeply loved his work and spent his life as a wildlife and wetlands ecologist, gaining renown as an ornithologist, botanist, and wetlands scientist, with particular expertise in peatlands. Norm also taught field ornithology and dendrology, as well as leading field trips throughout Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, and over the years kindled a love of the natural world in most people he met. He retained a vast knowledge of ecosystems and birds (especially shorebirds), and had a remarkable ability to identify birds by song or even the smallest call note heard overhead at night during fall southward migrations. Presently, Norm’s lifelong bird studies are in the process of being permanently archived by the U.S. National Park Service’s Acadia National Park.
Norm was also the kindest and gentlest person, with a remarkable and quirky sense of humor that was infectious. He was never-endingly cheerful and gregarious, loved life even during the hardest of times, and was a positive force wherever he went. We are all richer for having known him and he will forever be in our hearts.
Norm is survived by his wife Marcia; daughter Erica and her partner Joe; stepson Jake and wife Jenny, and five grandchildren Cameron, Aurelia, India, Emberley, and Lavinia; sister Carol Storey and husband Don and their family; sister Fran Thomas and her husband Bill, and their family; previous wife Nona and her husband Neil; and a huge network of life-long friends and colleagues too numerous to list. Norm was predeceased by his mother Emma Mildred “Tommy” Famous and father Charles Norman Famous.
A viewing will be held on Saturday, February 3rd, from 2pm to 5pm at the Plummer Funeral Home, 16 Pleasant Street in Augusta, Maine (www.plummerfh.com).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Good Shepherd Food Bank (www.gsfb.org), the Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative (www.emcimaine.org), or the Downeast Coastal Conservancy (www.downeastcoastalconservancy.org).
Norm requested that his ashes be spread along the mudflats of the Machias River during the fall migration so the shorebirds could carry him all over the world.
A memorial celebration of Norm’s life will be held at a later date in Machias. For more information, contact Marcia Spencer Famous at 207-623-6072 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or daughter Erica Famous at 207-271-7163 (email@example.com).