With great sadness and appreciation for a life well-lived, the family of J. Fleming Norvell announce his passing on September 10, 2023. A resident of Augusta, GA and Sea Island, GA, he was born on September 5, 1932, the youngest child of Mary Hamilton Norvell and Thomas Edwin Norvell. He was a graduate of Richmond Academy, attended Davidson College and completed his education at Auburn University receiving a B.S. degree in Economics. Upon graduation he served for two years as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force.
He is survived by his three children, Jennifer N. Farrell (Rick) of St. Simons Island, James F. Norvell, Jr (Jacinda) of Augusta and Frank W. Norvell (Mallory) of Charleston, SC; his beloved friend Barbara Sims of Augusta; and six devoted grandchildren, Connor Farrell, Fleming Farrell, Katherine Norvell, Sarah Norvell Conway, Wilcox Norvell and Gray Norvell, who all referred to him affectionately as “Flembo”.
He is predeceased by his first wife, Virginia Battey Wilcox Norvell, to whom he was married from 1956 to 1979, and by his second wife, Sandra Jones Norvell who died in 2016. He is also survived by stepdaughters, Kathy Grant, Karen Brown and Karla Cameron.
Fleming’s life was guided by three principles: a love of God, family, and community; a keen interest and commitment to the investment business; and a passion for the game of golf.
In May of 1956 he embarked on an over fifty-year career in the world of finance and investment, joining the regional firm Clement A. Evans and Company, subsequently Williston and Beene, acquired by The Robinson-Humphrey Company in 1963. Over four decades he was one of the firm’s top producers, serving both institutional and retail clients. He was recognized by the Georgia Securities Association with its 2002 – 2003 Industry Service Award. He ended his career at the Raymond James Company upon his retirement in 2014. To his last days he kept a close and discerning eye on financial markets and friends and family could always rely on him for wise and prudent advice.
For Fleming, golf was much more than a game. He valued the difference golf made in his life. From his teenage years he played with skill and enjoyment, happiest when he had a club in hand. In turn he was dedicated to the betterment of the sport, giving unselfishly of his time and resources.
At fifteen he was caddying and working in the golf shop at Augusta Country Club, heading out to the course after work to improve his game. He played for the Richmond Academy and Auburn University golf teams and continued to compete during his time in the Air Force. In 1975 he was invited to join the Augusta National Golf Club. During his time as a member, he served on numerous committees, was club champion, and spent over thirty years as a starter on the iconic first tee, announcing the best players in the world as they teed off during the Masters.
A foundational supporter of the Augusta University golf program, he was instrumental in the establishment of a women’s team. In 2007 he led the campaign to build the golf house and adjacent teaching center, designated as the J. Fleming Norvell Golf House in recognition of his fund-raising effort and personal contribution. This facility is a significant asset in the attraction of top student players, reflected in the two National Championships achieved in 2010 and 2011 by the Augusta University men’s golf team. Believing that playing golf can and should be a possibility for every boy and girl, Fleming was a long-time supporter of the Birdie Club, and the Congaree Foundation which provides young people around the globe with educational and vocational opportunities through the game of golf.
In addition to the Augusta National Golf Club, he was a member of the Augusta Country Club, the Sea Island Golf Club, ambassador for the Congaree Golf Club, and over the years possibly guilty of violating the 14-club rule!
Having coped at age 15 with the death of his father and the ensuing economic difficulties for his family, he understood the challenges life can present. A self-made man who achieved considerable success he believed in giving back to his community, not only in a financial sense but in personal terms. Whether it was building the bell tower at Church of the Good Shephard, supporting the Gathering Place or the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, he could be depended on. The same was true for the person down on their luck, sick or hurting. His life can be measured in innumerable kindnesses and the many people whose lives were enriched by his friendship and regard.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Fleming’s many friends who were a source of strength and comfort. A special thanks to friends Bud North and Craig Rogers, as well as Nita Mims, Albert Mims and Lila Hillery for their devoted care. The medical team at Piedmont Augusta provided exceptional treatment and support during his final days.
The family will receive friends Sunday, September 24, 2023 from 4:00 until 6:00 P.M. at Thomas Poteet & Son. There will be a celebration of Fleming’s life on Monday, September 25, 2023, 2:00 P.M., at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene Street, Augusta, GA.
Members of the Augusta Golf Association will serve as honorary pall bearers.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the J. Fleming Norvell Golf Scholarship Endowment, c/o Augusta University Foundation, 1120 15th Street, AD 1104, Augusta, GA 30912 or St. Simons Land Trust, P.O. Box 24615, St. Simons Island, GA 31522.