Robert Harding Normoyle

FAA Employee, Deacon

Robert Harding Normoyle, 83, an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration and a deacon in his church, died June 17 at St. Agnes Hospital in Catonsville, Md., after a stroke.

He moved to Washington in 1966 and was a 35-year employee of the FAA. He worked on a microwave landing system for the FAA's Office of Research and Development. He retired in 1979 and moved first to Ocean City and then to Catonsville.

Mr. Normoyle was ordained a Catholic deacon in 1987 and served as a deacon at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Ocean City for 11 years. His duties included performing church sacraments, ministering to the sick and assisting the pastor during church services. He also was a volunteer at St. Joseph's by the Sea, a religious book and gift store in Ocean City that benefits poor people.

A native of Portland, Ore., Mr. Normoyle grew up in the logging communities of Detroit and Glendale, Ore. He attended the University of Oregon, where he played baseball for the school's championship team.

In 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and served as a Navy pilot in both World War II and the Korean War, earning the rank of lieutenant commander. During World War II, he was stationed in the Admiralty Islands, where he flew Black Cat dive bombers. Stationed later in the Philippines, he flew transport flights for high-ranking officers and freed prisoners of war. Shortly after the dropping of the atomic bomb, he witnessed the destruction of Yokohama, Japan.

After the war, he returned to Oregon, where he got odd jobs flying bi-winged crop dusters. In 1948, he was hired by the Civil Aviation Administration, the FAA's predecessor. He was stationed briefly in Billings, Mont., and then transferred to Honolulu, where he worked as an air traffic controller.

In 1963, Mr. Normoyle became director of flight inspection in Frankfurt, Germany, responsible for the reliability of the navigational equipment at U.S. bases throughout Europe. In 1965, he was transferred to the FAA office in Kansas City, Mo., before moving to headquarters the following year.

In 1998, Mr. Normoyle and his wife moved to the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville, where he continued to pray with the sick and serve Communion. He was an avid sportsman and Washington Redskins fan.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Mary Ellen Normoyle of Catonsville; six children, Thomas Normoyle of Salem, Ore., Richard Normoyle and Robert Normoyle, both of Poolesville, Nancy Rischard of Springfield, Patricia Nyman of Columbia and Rosemary Normoyle of Alexandria; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.