Norman Paul Lanzer, 65, died peacefully on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at his residence. He was born May 4, 1946 to the late Emil & Ruth (Shilling) Lanzer.
Norm worked at Foster Canning for 36 years. He was a lifelong member of St. Paul Lutheran Church. He was an avid scuba diver, photographer, music lover, and gardener, who was proud of his Calla Lilies
He is survived by his life partner of 27 years, Ron Kuchcinski, sisters; Jean (Robert) Schlueter of Punta Gorda, Florida and Carolyn (David) Sides of Ft. Myers, Florida. He was also preceded in death by an infant brother, Donald Ray Lanzer.
A celebration of life service will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 10, 2011 at Rodenberger Funeral Home with Pastor Jeff Schlueter officiating.
Friends may call from 3 p.m. till the time of service on Friday.
It pained me to read this, such a short synopsis of a man with so much life, I realize there aren't enough words to describe you, I just wish we could try. I know you're not here anymore and could never read this, but it's the only thing I know how to do. I never got a chance to tell you just how much our friendship meant to me. I never got a chance to tell you how much your weekly visits to my store meant to me. I never got to tell you how much having me over for wine, or dinner made me feel. I never got to say so much to you. I know you're in a better place with no pain, no medications, and no damn obnoxious commercials interrupting your Law and Order, or Bones, or CSI shows, but it doesn't help me miss you any less.
I knew Ron from awhile ago, at the time afraid to talk to him too much because I was young and stupid and naive. I was afraid that if I got to close to him that people would think I was gay too, which as you know, I totally was. I saw your name on his checks when he would pay and I really enjoyed our conversations, laughing and joking and really finding comfort in his dry sense of humor, and always wondering what you were like. I often wondered what a great guy you must be, and then years later I would finally get to meet you.
I'm thankful that by this time I had let go of all the crap in my head about being found out and was just dealing with coming to terms with myself. I'm thankful you came into the store that day after talking to Ron who had been in the week before doing some computer work for me. From the moment we meant I felt a connection, a comfort, an ease in talking to you. After not much effort you had me talking to you like I didn't talk to anyone.
The highlight of my week was seeing you pull up in that Jeep of yours. To see you getting out always brought a smile to my face, even my family saw that. The first time you invited me over to the house I was nervous and I have no idea why, I just was, but sitting with you and Ron on the patio was so comforting to me. It felt safe and I always laughed so hard it hurt. The most mundane conversations quickly turned into side splitting commentary about people, you just had a way about you.
The crazy stories you had about Hooterville, the wild stories about Chicago and the heart breaking stories of growing up in a community that didn't understand and didn't want to understand you. The way you got through it all, pushed through and staid true to who you were amazed me. I cried the night you told me about your first love, I laughed so much I cried the night you talked about the floor caving in at Hooterville, and I rested so peacefully the night you whipped out your "bitch please" comment.
You introduced me to your favorite music, your wacky movies and your favorite classic movies. There was never a dull moment when you were around and I am forever grateful. I wanted to say thank you for providing me a place to feel comfortable to be myself at a time and in a place that wouldn't allow me to, I wanted to thank you for seeing me for who I really was ever before I shared it with you. I wanted to thank you for introducing me to your family of friends and showing me what community could really be like.
But most of all I just wanted to say thank you for being my friend Thank you for being you and I'm going to miss you so freaking much. I cry every time I think about not getting to see you again. I'm going to tomorrow to celebrate with your friends, celebrate your life and all the happiness and joy you've given to everyone. We're going to celebrate your kindness, your laughter and that shit eating grin of yours.
I cry selfish tears because I know the only reason I'm sad is because I'm going to miss you and I didn't get to tell you the these things. I consider them selfish because it's a time to be happy for you. Happy that got to live the live you did, helped those you got to help, meet the people you've met and happy that you too can now enjoy those things once again without the pain, without the doctors, with the countless medications, and without fear.
I can only hope that you can forgive me those times I didn't make time to stop by to say hi, forgive me for never telling you these things when I had the chance. My life is better for knowing you.
I already miss you so freaking much and will love you forever.
Good bye dear friend.
Rest in Peace.