ALUMNI NORMAN CARNOVALE, CHS CLASS OF 1944
Submitted to Pat Coluccio ‘47 by Kathleen Gemmill Stremick ‘59
Norman Carnovale, a 1944 graduate of Cleveland High School, passed away on
January 18, 2008. Norm is perhaps publicly known most for his achievements both playing and coaching sports and for his skill as a teacher. A closer look at his life as depicted in the eulogy presented by his son Michael at Norm’s funeral reveals a person who from an early age possessed the ability to make the most of difficult situations and to thrive while doing so.
Family circumstances resulted in Norm’s being placed in Sacred Heart Orphanage at nine months of age. He was raised by the nuns until age five. He was then enrolled at the Bristol Catholic Grade School where his upbringing was continued by the Christian Brothers. It was at Bristol that Norm’s love of sports, especially basketball, was ignited. In his early teens Norm reunited separately with his parents. He eventually moved in with his father and brother at their home on Beacon Hill. Norm attended Cleveland where he played basketball, starting on Varsity his junior and senior years.
After graduation Norm enrolled at the University of Washington where he played freshman basketball for Hec Edmundson. The experience provided Norm with both his first train and plane rides and also his first time to travel outside of Washington State. His college career was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army in 1945. He was stationed in Japan during the occupation following WWII. There were opportunities to play basketball during that time as well.
After returning from Japan, Norm re-enrolled at the U.W. and rejoined the Husky basketball team which won the Pacific Coast Conference (known as Pac 10 today.) The team also played in the Western U.S. Championship, placing third. During this same time-frame Norm met his future wife Joy Lewis. He loved to tell the story of how he met her during an outing at Angle Lake. Norm and Joy eventually had four children: Linda, Theresa, Michael and Becky.
After graduation from the U.W., Norm had difficulty getting a high school teaching and coaching job. In spite of his great references, he was told he looked too young, as young as the students. Kennewick High school finally hired him as a teacher and as an assistant to the coach of the “B” squad. Norm also taught Drivers Education.
The next year, 1952, Norm became a teacher and head basketball coach at Winthrop. The school was so small that Kindergarten through 12th grade were in the same building. Norm coached football, basketball and baseball. He also drove the school bus. In his first year of coaching his basketball team went 18-4. The third year the team went to State, taking fourth place, not bad for a team with only 62 kids in high school!
In 1955, Norm and his family moved to Moses Lake where he became the head basketball coach and a history teacher. His coaching career at Moses Lake spanned 13 years. His first year as coach he took the team to State (a first for Moses Lake.) A few years later, his team went 24-2 and took 4th place in State. After retiring from coaching, Norm continued teaching another 17 years. He was an extremely popular coach and teacher, at one time being asked to resume coaching even though 15 years had passed since he had done so.
From 1963 to 1977 Norm and his wife Joy operated the A&W Drive-in. A few years later they and a business partner opened Barney Google’s Restaurant (named after the song “Barney Google with His Goo-Goo-Googley Eyes.”)
One of the lessons Norm taught his children was “Do the right thing even when no one is looking,” a motto he lived up to every day of his life. He loved to tell his family, “God bless you, I love you, and see you in the morning.”
He loved the Nuns and Brothers who raised him. He was forgiving, never resentful or upset with his parents. Norm was loyal. When he began his Tour of Duty in Japan, he adopted a dog named Jinks whose previous owner was leaving to come back to the U.S. When Norm got his own orders to return home 11 months later, he arranged for Jinks to come with him, following the advice, “Never leave your fellow soldier behind.”
Norm loved Cleveland High School. In tribute to our classmate we Eagles who are left behind say to him, “Goodby for now, Norm. God bless you, we love you, and we will see you in the morning.”