Rockford Park District
Helping People Enjoy Life!


Celebrating the Life of Webbs Norman


ROCKFORD, IL – The community lost a true legend with the passing of former Rockford Park District Executive Director Webbs Norman.

Webbs was 85 years old and dedicated his entire life to serving others.

“His ability to build relationships, inspire those around him, and create unity helped to establish a park and recreation system considered throughout our industry as the best in the nation. However, to Webbs, the national awards always took back seat to the opinion of the local tax payer. Webbs believed the role of the Park District was simple, fill needs and solve problems. It was never his Park District, it was the community’s. Always involve those who were impacted by the decisions we make was a common philosophy for Webbs. Do what we do best and help others do what they do best. When our values are clear, the decisions are easy. These and many other words of wisdom created a Park District the community truly felt ownership in. Webbs also had the uncanny ability of making every single person he came in contact with feel as though they were the most important person in the world, because at that moment, they were to Webbs. If you had the privilege of meeting Webbs, perhaps you shared a cup of coffee with him at a local diner or you never met him but heard a story about Webbs, consider yourself blessed. Life was always beautiful to Webbs Norman. Every day was an opportunity to bring people together to celebrate. The best way we can honor a man who honored and served his community his whole life is to celebrate him. Celebrate his humbleness, his humor, and his wisdom. Celebrate his commitment to service, hope, and seeing everyone as equal. Celebrate Webbs Norman’s life as he made our lives and community a better place. Though not here physically, Webbs’ spirit and the culture he created will live on. Thank you Webbs Norman for ‘helping people enjoy life,’” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.

About Webbs Norman

Webbs Norman began his career with the District in 1955 as a seasonal employee working at playground programs. He went back to school to further his education regarding parks and recreation and received a master’s degree in parks and recreation administration. Webbs worked for a variety of Park District’s throughout the state of Illinois for several years before returning to Rockford in 1972. He served as Executive Director from 1972 to 2006 overseeing the creation of facilities such as Riverview Ice House, Carlson Ice Arena, Mercyhealth Sportscore Complexes, Magic Waters Waterpark, and numerous paths, playgrounds, and parks.

Mike Costello