The Formative Years and Beyond: 1951-1962

Norman was born in Knoxville, TN, where his father Norman Sr. worked as a civil engineer with TVA, but moved to West Vancouver with his parents and younger sister Linda in 1951. Norman Sr. was a civil engineer with the B.C. International Engineering Company in downtown Vancouver. As his grandparents lived in Brownsville, TN, and were direct descendants of the Taylor family, Norman also grew up at the Taylors of Tabernacle Kinfolks Campground, during the annual August Camp Meetings. In Vancouver, Norman Edward Lane Jr. was the "Crazy Legs" Hirsch of the North Shore’s Gordon Sturtridge League way back in 1955. Between 1949 and 1957, Elroy Hirsch was the future Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams, winners of the 1951 National Football League championship in the pre-American Football League era. Fourteen-year-old Lane was the very starry receiver for the Tigercats in the local gridiron circuit’s first season when it was called the West Vancouver Six-Man League. Lane, on the accelerated program at West Van High, graduated a year ahead of his peers in 1958. A member of the school’s debating team, he was chosen as one of the seven boys and seven girls to act as hosts and hostesses for the school’s graduation banquet and dance at the Hotel Vancouver Ballroom that May 30th. His graduation writeup in the yearbook said, "A deep thinker, Norm can’t understand why people can’t understand him. Born in Tennessee, he disclaims any relationship to Elvis and keeps Div. 9 in fits with his poetry."

Excerpted from, "Remembering Norman Lane" Posted on June 2, 2010 - by Len Corben, Sports Columnist, North Shore Outlook, West Vancouver, BC (lencorben@yahoo.ca).

 

Camp Meeting, 1955. Norman Lane Jr., age 14, his Mom, Betsy, sister, Linda, age 10, and grandpar-ents Elizabeth (Aunt Lib) and Marion (Uncle Marion) Thornton ─ on the swing in front of the Marion Thornton camp.

 

1957 or 1958. Norman, age 16 or 17, on Eagle Ridge, Cypress Mountain, West Vancouver, BC. Photo taken by his high school friend Dave DeGruchy, whose family's house was one block from the Lane house.

Norman Jr. graduated from high school in three years. His younger sister Linda recalls, "Norman was so brilliant. … I remember not wanting the teachers at the junior high school I attended knowing that I was his sister because there was no way I could do as well as he did!" After two years at University of British Columbia, he transferred to Vanderbilt. Norman Jr. studied abroad in France the Fall semester of his senior year before graduating with a major in English in 1962. One Vanderbilt friend was Ruff Fant, who went on to Harvard Law School. He and Norman would be reunited in 1966.