JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family, friends and community members came together Saturday to remember an educator who served as a guidance counselor at Raines High School for 35 years.
A celebration of life service was held at the First Baptist Church of Oakland for Deborah Mosley Norman, who was a humanitarian, a pioneer in Duval County and a champion for education.
Norman died Aug. 5. She was 76 years old.
During the service at the Eastside church where Norman was a longtime member and deaconess, she was praised for what she did to influence others for decades and remembered for her love, compassion and service.
Norman is credited with changing many lives for the better throughout her life. She was the longest-serving guidance counselor at Raines High and was as a champion for scholarships for students at the school and her church. In 2019, the school’s guidance suite was dedicated and renamed in her honor.
Raines High Principal Vincent Hall said Norman was the blueprint to many people’s accomplishments.
“Mrs. Norman had a unique way of questioning your ideas, your plans. She always exerted herself to make certain you exerted yourself to exercise the potential she saw in you,” Hall said. “Today we are because she was.”
Norman was the inaugural winner of the News4JAX Jacksonville Image Award for Education in Excellence in 2020.
She was a mentor to many like Tia Leathers, who now works for Duval County Public Schools.
“She is second to none,” Leathers said. “So please give her a round of applause for a job that was truly well done.”
Betty Burney — the executive director of I’m A Star Foundation, where Norman was instrumental — said Norman’s stretch was far and wide.
“She could stand proud at those pearly gates and say, ‘In Jacksonville Florida, I put my heart, I put my soul into everything I did for children for over 50 years. So Lord, I, Deborah Norman, can say, on my watch, all of the children are well,’” Burney said.
Norman leaves behind her husband of 52 years, a daughter, a sister, and many additional family members and friends.
Click here to watch a stream on the church’s Facebook page of the celebration of life service.