Charles E. Norman was a founding member of the firm and a community-spirited champion of Tulsa. His legacy of contributions to the arts, education and civic progress are visible throughout the city. Born in Texas, Mr. Norman moved to the Sooner state to attend the University of Oklahoma where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1951 and his law degree in 1953. At the age of 29, Mr. Norman became Tulsa’s youngest appointed City Attorney, a position he held for nearly a decade. In 1968, he ventured into private practice, establishing the Norman & Wohlgemuth law firm, which later evolved into Norman Wohlgemuth Chandler & Dowdell. His primary area of practice was commercial real estate, including municipal and zoning law. He also practiced in the areas of business and corporate law and telecommunications.
Mr. Norman was active in a variety of community affairs and sat on numerous governing boards of private companies and public institutions. He served as President of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and as Chairman of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust. In honor of his numerous contributions to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, a theater there bears his name. He is also remembered for his support of the Port of Catoosa project, the Tulsa Speech and Hearing Association and the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa. In 1988, he was retained by the City of Tulsa to draft a new Tulsa City Charter which was approved by the voters and which resulted in a complete change in the form of City government for Tulsa. Most recently, Mr. Norman served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Tulsa, and an Emeritus Trustee of the University.
After his death, the Tulsa World published an editorial on Jan. 6, 2009 that recalled Mr. Norman’s renowned public services as well as his constant presence at zoning hearings, where he was remembered as being articulate, professional, polite and civil. According to the editorial, former Mayor Robert LaFortune expressed the feelings of many Tulsans with these comments: “I can’t say enough about this wonderful man. [He was] eloquent in his representation of the public side of issues. He was a man of great integrity. He won’t be replaced and will be sorely missed.”