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Republican Club of Greater Largo

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Abraham Lincoln-Mac Norcross Memorial Service Award


Annual Presentation

* The award is typically made at our May general meeting by one of our prominent Appointing Authorities. The recipient for this award must meet certain requirements and criteria for consideration and receive the largest number of nomination forms received by the Award Committee. The first recipient of this was award was the Honorable Jim Miles. Other recipients have included O. Sanford Jasper, the Honorable Mary Grizzle, Rusty Runyan, Joanne Kavanagh, Rita Friess, Evelyn Bartoszek, Ruby Brooks, Janice Hill and Keith Bailey.

* This award is named after two prominent Americans, one recognized around the world as one of the greatest Republican Presidents in American History, and the other who was a highly respected and recognized Republican and civic activist in Pinellas County.

* Abraham Lincoln will be remembered as the Great Emancipator, who led our country through a civil war between the North and South, and stood firm on the restoration and preservation of the Union that followed. During his tenure in office he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization.


Who is Mac Norcross

MAC NORCROSS, 71, of Largo, former chairman of Pinellas County’s Republican Party, worker in various local campaigns, Largo Chamber of Commerce president in 1985 and its Citizen of the Year in 1988, was killed in an auto accident Sept. 18.

Copyright Times Publishing Co. Sep 20, 1996 (ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)

Mac Norcross, a former Pinellas Republican chairman, Largo Chamber of Commerce president and businessman, died in an auto accident near Douglas, Ga., on Wednesday. He was 71.

“In what usually is an ocean full of sharks, in this political arena, Mac Norcross always managed to be a consummate gentleman,” said political consultant Mary Repper. Former Pinellas Democratic Chairman Gabe Cazares called Mr. Norcross “a perfect gentleman.”

His wife, Louise, who was also in the car, was listed in fair condition at a Savannah hospital Thursday.”It’s just a terrible, terrible shock,” Pinellas Republican Chairman Paul Bedinghaus said.

The Norcrosses were returning home from Maggie Valley, N.C., on Wednesday, and were driving on U.S. 441 a few miles south of Pearson, Ga. According to the Georgia State Patrol, a witness said Mr. Norcross swerved in his 1990 Plymouth Voyager to avoid hitting a dog in the road. His vehicle ran into a 1989 Nissan 240SX driven by Scott William Taylor, 33, of Alma, Ga. Taylor was seriously injured, troopers said.  Mrs. Norcross was taken to Coffee Regional Medical Center near Douglas and later to Savannah Memorial Medical Center, where relatives were at her side Thursday.

In Pinellas political circles, Mr. Norcross was remembered as a man who was hardworking and businesslike, not flamboyant or self-promoting.  “I would never even have considered running a race if Mac Norcross had not been on board,” said Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham, a former state representative and Largo commissioner.

“I would consider Mac probably one of a handful of the closest friends I’ve got in the world,” she said. “I truly love the guy.”

“In what usually is an ocean full of sharks, in this political arena, Mac Norcross always managed to be a consummate gentleman,” said political consultant Mary Repper. Former Pinellas Democratic Chairman  Gabe Cazares called Mr. Norcross “a perfect gentleman.”

Bedinghaus said, “Mac was one of those people that I sometimes called for advice or perspective. . . . He gave me a lot of aid and comfort and criticism when I needed it. I just hope that the good Lord provides for Louise as well as Mac was able to provide comfort to me.”

Mr. Norcross was born in Torrington, Conn., in 1925 and grew up in northern Vermont. An Army veteran of World War II, he attended George Washington University in Washington and married Louise in 1947.

Mr. Norcross worked for an automobile appraisal company in Washington, and from 1965 to 1970 owned his own appraisal service there.  Mr. Norcross survived a commuter airplane crash in the early 1970s and moved to Florida in 1973.

He owned service stations in the Largo area, including Midway Exxon, and was a co-owner of Sanford Norcross Realty.  His business involvement led him to participate in the Largo Chamber of Commerce, heading its government committee in the late 1980s. In that role, he pushed for the chamber to keep better tabs on City Hall, arguing that the scrutiny would be better for both the city and the chamber.

“There are times when we are adversaries, and that is good,” he said in 1988. “It means we are both performing our roles more effectively.”  He became chamber president in 1985 and was named the chamber’s citizen of the year in 1988.

He went on to volunteer in politics and ran Mortham’s first House campaign in 1986. Largo Mayor Thomas “Thom” Feaster said Mr. Norcross worked on all his campaigns. Feaster called him “my mentor.”

“Mac was always there steering you in the right direction,” Feaster said.

Mr. Norcross served as Pinellas Republican chairman for a year, ending just after the 1992 elections. Most recently, Mr. Norcross managed Tax Collector W. Fred Petty’s successful campaign for re-election.  Petty said Mr. Norcross was adept at strategy and details: He set up 140 campaign meetings for Petty from January to September. But he also could share a laugh. Petty said the two were holding up campaign signs recently inside The Pier in St. Petersburg, until security shooed them away.

“We should not have really been there, but we got more attention being chased out,” Petty said with a chuckle. Bedinghaus said a previously scheduled Republican “Unity Dinner,” which will be held near Largo tonight, will be dedicated to Mr. Norcross. “Tomorrow’s for Mac,” he said Thursday.

Mr. Norcross’ survivors include his son, Douglas, Indian Rocks Beach; three daughters, Barbara L. Peckham, Largo, Elizabeth J. Norcross, Arlington, Va., and Susan L. Fixico, Choctaw, Okla.; a sister, Jean Norcross, Washington; and eight grandchildren.

List of recipients includes:  Casey Cox, David Jolly, Jo Ann and Joe White, Bill Young, John Morroni, Jim Miles, Walter Hammond, Leroy Norman, O. Sanford Jasper, Mac Norcross, Mary Grizzle, Vernon Kuhl, Rusty Runyan, Cheryl Bowman, Marcelle Tilton, Joanne Kavanagh, Rita Friess, Mildred Branham, Evelyn Bartoscek, Ruby Brooks, Keith Bailey, Janice Hill, Charlie Harper, Sam McClelland, Toni Wolff, Jean Halvorsen, Sandy Harper, W.Fred Petty, and Curtis Holmes.