Norman William Vanaman III of Wilmington, Delaware, passed away on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 while surrounded by his family and loved ones. He was 35 years old.
Norm lived purposefully, accomplishing so much in so little time, and leaving an immeasurable impact on all those he loved, saved and helped. He will always be remembered for his drive to serve his country and community, his unwavering loyalty to friends and platoon mates, his unconditional love for his daughter, and his unmatched ability to win over any room with wit and humor.
Born in Mannington, NJ, Norm was the son of Norman William Vanaman Jr, and the late Maryann Kimberly (Murphy) Vanaman, and the brother of Adrienne Shannon Vanaman (deceased). He graduated from Salesianum High School, Class of 2002, an enthusiastic member of the marching band, concert band and television production crew.
The 9/11 attacks inspired in Norm a fierce resolve to protect the country he loved, and upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Bulk Fuel Specialist. He also went on to earn an associate degree in Criminal Justice at Delaware Technical Community College, furthering his lifelong goal of a career in law enforcement.
In 2006, Norm volunteered to deploy with the United States Marine Corps’ Mortuary Affairs Detachment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the First Marine Logistics Group as a Personnel and Processing specialist. He was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal, repeatedly displaying the Marine Corps values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. As team leader, Norm provided guidance, friendship and love to his fellow Marines struggling to endure the mental and emotional toll of processing the remains of deceased service members on their final journey home.
Upon return home from Iraq, Norm entered the Wilmington Delaware Police Academy and in 2008 became a City of Wilmington Peace Officer, serving as a patrolman and loyal member of the department’s “A” Platoon. During his time on the force, Norm saved many lives and brought justice to even more, but he remained focused on ensuring that his fellow officers were acknowledged for their heroism. Norm initiated a program that continues today to commend fellow law enforcement officers for “in the line of duty” actions. Norm loved his work and proudly served on the Delaware Riverine Quick Reaction Team and in the department’s Drum and Fife Corp as a drummer.
For all his accomplishments and acclaim, Norm was most proud of his daughter, Scarlett Murphy, age 6. They loved playing board games and “princess war,” diving for torpedoes in the deep end of the pool and Pizza Fridays with friends. Most recently, Norm began sharing his love of music with Scarlett, teaching her basic drumming skills.
In addition to his daughter, Norm is survived by his father, Norman William Vanaman Jr.; his uncle, Michael Murphy; his cousins, Annelise Murphy and Levi Murphy; and the Tosi family, who will always consider him one of their own.
Funeral arrangements for Norm will be held on Monday, August 12 at Salesianum School, 1801 N. Broom Street, Wilmington, DE 19802. The viewing will be held from 9:00AM-11:30AM precisely. Funeral services will begin at 12:00PM, immediately followed by interment at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd., Suite 102, Oceanside, CA 92057 (https://www.semperfifund.org) or a military charity of your choosing.
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Semper Fi Fund
825 College Blvd., Suite 102, Oceanside CA 92057