TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Norman Joseph Gaines

November 13, 1934 - September 28, 2021

Norman ‘Norm’ Joseph Gaines, 86, died on September 28, 2021, in Bethany, Oklahoma. He was born on November 13, 1934, in Mount Vernon, Ohio to Kenneth William Gaines and Anna Lucille (Flecknoe) Gaines. He married the love of his life, Linda Murray on August 29, 1959, in Springfield, Ohio. He was a graduate of Ohio State University where he marched in the Best Damn Band in the Land and loyally cheered his Buckeyes his entire life. He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army serving at Fort Leonard Wood where he was highly awarded as a marksman. While at Fort Leonard Wood, he was a member of the US Army band, playing at the Officer’s Club regularly.

Norm was a lifetime educator, starting his career as a marching band director and retiring as a superintendent of schools. His superintendency took him from Auburn, New York; Muskogee, Oklahoma; Evanston, Wyoming; and Sioux Center, Iowa. Retirement was not in his vocabulary as his love for students and teaching carried past his retirement to a position as adjunct professor at Dordt College. In addition to teaching, he also was a director of the Jazz Band at Dordt often taking the students on tours across the Midwest. In addition, he served on the board of the Northwest Iowa Symphony.

Music was a constant for Norm throughout his entire life. An avid musician, Norm had played professionally since high school. During his professional career, he worked with Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Doc Severinson, John Davidson, The Osmonds, Carol Channing, Johnny Cash, Roy Clark and many others. He often would say, his day job interfered with his moonlighting. His venue changed from club to church when in the fall of 1973 he gave his life to The Lord. He combined his love of The Lord with his love of music by leading music for the Sunday services, directing the choir on both Sunday mornings as well as for their Christmas Cantatas. His biggest blessing to others came from when he played solo his saxophone sharing his testimony wherever he and Linda lived.

Other hobbies of Norm’s throughout the years have included: skiing, cooking, golf, war history and building of model airplanes. However, his greatest hobby was bragging on his grandchildren of which he was extremely proud. Norm was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend. His life was a blessing to all and his love for us will live on in our hearts forever.

Norm was preceded in death by his parents Kenneth and Lucile. Survivors include his beautiful wife Linda of Bethany, Oklahoma; Daughters Carrie (Gerald) Miller of Bethany, Oklahoma; Liz (Blair) Shimbashi of Katy, Texas; Grandsons Jeremy (Teresa) Miller, Justin (Miranda) Miller, Joshua Shimbashi, Connor Shimbashi and 6 great grandchildren.

Visitation will be Sunday, October 3 from 11:00 am with family present from 2:00-4:00 pm CST at Mercer-Adams Funeral Home, Bethany. A Celebration of Norm’s life will be held Monday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. at Mercer-Adams. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Integris Cancer Center/Hospice of Oklahoma City.

Norm was a member of the marching band from 1953 through 1955. He played Alto horn in R-Row.