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Norman Colin NORMAN COLIN: A TRIBUTE

Norman Colin passed away suddenly on Friday 18th September 2015, having enjoyed the evening among his friends at the opening of the 'Portrait Exhibition for Charabanc', an event supported by KHS. Many of his friends recalled how happy Norman was during that evening; in fact he said: "I am really enjoying the evening, and I think I will have another glass of wine". All of us would hope that he did.
It is always with great sadness that we remember Norman's passing. He was our highly esteemed Chairman for 12 years, and he made an amazing contribution to the local and indeed the social history of Kilmacanogue and Enniskerry, and Co. Wicklow East and West. Under his stewardship KHS became, in recent years, one of Ireland's largest history societies with a mailing list of over 500, and with audiences frequently over 100, at our meetings at The Glenview Hotel. Norman made all this happen.
Norman was more than a chairman; he was the heart of the Society. He frequently met with the speakers, and researched extra background for their talks which he generously shared with them. He was a frequent visitor to the local library and the local bookshops in search of new material. He travelled far and wide to meet with older people who had interesting stories to tell he did so many times over the years and shared their stories with us.
There are so many such highlights for the Society over the the years, too many to recall. But one illustrates the enthusiasm of Norman, going the extra mile literally and metaphorically. Our talk in November 2014, entitled 'Ireland's Wicklow Anzacs', was given by Professor Jeff Kildea from the University of New South Wales, who was a visiting Professor at University College Dublin for a semester. Norman spent two or three days with him, visiting places of interest in Wicklow for Jeff's research. Norman did this on a regular basis for speakers; they were always effusive in their praise of his diligence and knowledge. He enjoyed this research, talking to people to unfold the extra bit of information to help them. He told me it enriched his life, and I believe it did.
Many families over the years sent queries to the Society having viewed our web site, trying to locate family members for their family tree. These requests were always followed up by Norman, and he met and helped particularly those who visited Kilmacanogue. Many of these families emailed their deep appreciation for his efforts.
Norman was very conscious of the importance of support for local community. Every year, funds from the Society were donated to local groups such as Kilmacanogue Senior Citizens, the Charabanc group in Enniskerry, and local schools and clubs; all these groups he supported enthusiastically. The memorial for Angela Donnelly of the local post office, and the restoration of the old postbox and the old horse trough, were among his special projects. The ideas he threw out to us were many and varied; we were not always able to match his enthusiasms. Every year he expanded his interests and he looked forward to each new season.
Becket's words come to mind when we remember Norman. "I can't go on, I will go on."
We, the inheritors of Norman's Kilmacanogue History Society, shall go on.
Peggy Masterson (January 2016)
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