In Loving Memory - Norman E. McCollum

Posted on Saturday, July 13th, 2019

Written by Cam Shaw

Norman E. MCCollum .    Feb 7th, 1944 - July 9th, 2019

On July 9th, Norman E. McCollum, longtime superintendent of the GTI, instructor in the Turfgrass Managers' Short Course and former Research Technician at the University of Guelph, passed away. Friends will be received at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, Hart Chapel, 1099 Gordon St, on Sunday, July 14, 2019 from 2-4, and 7-9pm, and on Monday, July 15, 2019 from 10-12 p.m., with a funeral service in the funeral home chapel at 12 p.m. Reception to follow.  A posting been put up by the OAC and it can be found here.  Rob Witherspoon, former Director of the GTI and long-time work associate of Norm was kind enough to share the following statement regarding his life and love affair with the GTI, OAC, and all the students who passed through the diploma and short course programs at the University of Guelph.  We have also included some of the shared sentiments and memories of Norm that have been posted on social media since his passing. 



“Norm graduated from the University of Guelph with an Associate Diploma in Agriculture in 1966. He returned to his home in Welland and attended the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture graduating with a Niagara Parks Diploma in 1969.  He then returned to Guelph as a research technician for Dr. Jack Eggens.  He assisted Dr. Eggens in developing the Turf Managers Short Course that year and was an instructor in the course over his entire career at Guelph. Norm eventually moved from his position as research technician to become the Superintendent of the Turfgrass Research Station, first at Cambridge, then moving to the Guelph Research Station when the Guelph Turfgrass Institute was created in 1987. He remained at the GTI until his retirement in 2006.


Norm was the unofficial social coordinator of the Turf Managers Short Course insuring that students attending from out of town felt at home during their stay in Guelph. He believed some of the most important learning in the course took place outside of the classroom when students had the opportunity to discuss the topics being covered with their peers. In addition to the short course, Norm was also very involved with on-campus Associate Diploma students and was proud to serve as honourary class president for OAC 79A, 80A, 81A, 83A, 85A, 87A, 93A, 95A, 97A and 00A.

His contributions to the turfgrass research and education program at Guelph over his 37-year career were significant. He was exceedingly proud of his association with the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and upon his retirement established two scholarships - one for students entering the turfgrass diploma program and another for students studying dairy production - a result of his long association with Glenhome Jersey Farm. Norm was a past president of the OAC Alumni Association, an honourary member of the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association and a member of the Order of OAC.”

-Rob Witherspoon

Former Director of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute


Upon the announcement of Norm’s passing on July 9th, a flurry of social media posts could be seen across the Twitterverse acknowledging his impact.  Norm was more than just an instructor for students in the Turfgrass Managers’ Short Course -   He was a friend, a confidant, mentor and source for advice and information.  To share some of these sentiments, I have included a few of them below for all to see.


 “Sad day. When I took the Short Course in -89 the two gentlemen in that picture inspired me to get my degree at the OAC and make turf a career.  RIP Norm:”

Cory Janzen

Superintendent, Westmount Golf and Country Club, ON


“…one summer he spent a week at our farm prepping/seeding two large acreage lawns.  He then gently steered me into a turfgrass career.  He hosted me at his home when I took the TMSC.  RIP Norm.”

Mark Luckhardt

XGD Systems


“A very sad day.  Norm was instrumental to many turf students for decades.  He will be missed.  A fine gentlemen and a true friend.”

Mark Schneider

Sales Representative, Nutrite


“A good friend and mentor, we will miss you Norm”

            Andrew Neider

            Director of Golf and Course Superintendent, Deerhurst Resort, ON


“Norm was honourary class President and Jack (Eggens) inspired our passion.  They were a great pair to be associated with.  So sad to hear. ‘93A will miss you Norm”

Tom Brain

U of G Turfgrass Alumni Class of '93A


“…A cornerstone individual to my Guelph years…”

A P Fletcher

Superintendent, West Hills Golf Club, NB

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