Norman Morgan

March 18, 2021

Obituaries

Richmond—Norman Morgan, 78, of Richmond, Virginia, passed away peacefully on March 1, 2021.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Rebecca Cohen Morgan and Herman Morgan. He is survived by his loving wife of 31 years, Francine Morgan; his sons, Spencer G. Morgan, Esq. (daughter-in-law Maria Morgan), Justin G. Morgan, Esq. (daughter-in-law Meredith Morgan), Dr. Neil J. Zemmel; grandchildren, Amanda Morgan, Katelin Morgan, Madison Morgan, Ashley Morgan, Vivienne Zemmel and Margot Zemmel; sister, Beverly Robinson (brother-in-law, Dr. Arvin Robinson); brother, Phillip Morgan (sister-in-law, Mireille Morgan); and many loving nieces and nephews.

Norman grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He loved playing sports as a young man and never let his small stature be an obstacle. He won junior city and state tennis tournaments and played basketball and table-tennis at very high levels. In his younger years, he enjoyed watching baseball games and had an extensive autograph collection. Norman also was an active member of Jewish youth group Monarch AZA, participated in Glee club and had a great love for 1950s music. Norman had the unique experience of attending three different high schools: Douglas Freeman High School, then his parents moved to Miami Beach, Florida and he attended Miami Beach High School his junior year. During Norman’s senior year, he moved back to Richmond, and lived with his brother, Phillip, graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School. After high school, Norman attended the University of Miami his freshmen year, but then had an opportunity to return to Richmond to be a partner with his brother and father at Windsor House Furniture. While working full time, Norman enrolled at Richmond Professional Institute, now known as Virginia Commonwealth University (“VCU”) and attended for five years, taking business classes.

During Norman’s earlier professional years, he had an opportunity to go into door-to-door magazine sales in Dallas, Texas. This experience, far from home, as he often recalled, helped him grow with confidence and independence.

In 1971, Norman took a risk and started The International Dining Club Ltd.(“IDC”), which would be his lifelong career and a very successful business. IDC is a discount membership club for restaurants, sports teams and cultural institutions, which advertised and promoted them. Norman took great pride in starting IDC on a “ping-pong table in the basement” at his home, and grew it into a large multi-state business. At its height, IDC had programs in dozens of cities up and down the east coast ranging from Boston to South Florida to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Norman was very grateful for his IDC staff and employees, and often spoke highly of them long after his retirement and they adored him. Norman retired in 2008 and was very happy and pleased to see his former colleague and dear friend, Barry Lazarus, continue on with IDC, which is still in operation to this day.

After retirement, Norman enjoyed playing tennis at Westwood Club where he was a founding member and had a wicked inside-out shot! He developed his net game as he got older and started playing doubles. Norman also continued playing basketball at the Jewish Community Center until he was 63 when he suffered a medical set back. Norman had a heck of a 3-point shot and a unique hook shot allowing him to score over taller men. Norman’s love for sports also included softball and he was a fearless pitcher.

Norman’s other interests included gardening; and when he lived in Goochland County, in Partridge Hill, he had a tremendous garden where he grew everything from tomatoes to corn and watermelon. Norman would often refer to himself as a “gentleman farmer.” He enjoyed using a large rototiller and riding his lawnmower over his four acres. Norman’s sons greatly enjoyed growing up in Partridge Hill, in what was at that time considered the “country.” Living in the “country,” Norman was one of the first local users of satellite dish technology; he made it known that he wanted to give his family more viewing options than The Love Boat. Norman was an extremely passionate VCU Basketball fan and attended most home games and traveled to many away games. Norman started the then very aspirational “Final 4” booster club at VCU and was fortunate to have seen VCU actually make the Final 4 in 2011, where he attended the event in person.

Norman was married to the love of his life, Francine for 31 years. They met on a blind date in 1988. This was truly his “beshert” or soulmate. They enjoyed friends, restaurants and spending time with their families and their beloved children and their families, particularly their six granddaughters. They traveled all over the United States and cruised the Caribbean and the Mediterranean with Norman’s sister Beverly and her husband, Arvin, whose company they particularly enjoyed. They shared a passion for dancing and music together and went out dancing with friends frequently

Norman adored his father, Herman, and called Herman every single day after his mother Rebecca passed away. Norman imparted much wisdom to his sons about all aspects of life, which they have all benefited from. Norman will be remembered for his gentleness, humor, the great pride that he had in his children and grandchildren and his love of family. While his Lewy Body Dementia robbed him of many things, he never once complained.

Norman will rest next to his former business colleague and best friend, Mark Fetter. Funeral services were held at Emek Shalom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Lewy Body Dementia Association (https://www.lbda.org/) and/or Virginia Commonwealth University Athletic Department–Men’s Basketball (https://www.support.vcu.edu/give/athletics).

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