Norman E. Rockwell

[ Age 76 ] Commercial contractor helped develop Columbia in '60s.

December 20, 2007

Norman E. Rockwell, a commercial contractor and founder of Northern Chesapeake Builders Corp., died of cancer Dec. 13 at his St. Michaels home. The former Baldwin resident was 76.

Mr. Rockwell was born in Martinsburg, W.Va., and raised in the city's Bel Air-Edison neighborhood. He was a 1949 graduate of Polytechnic Institute.

In 1952, he married Joanne Talkemeier. While working for local builder S. Elmer Armiger and raising a family, he attended night school at the Johns Hopkins University, receiving a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1961.

He then joined the Rouse Co., where he was in charge of commercial construction projects such as malls, shopping centers and major projects in Pittsburgh and Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. Rockwell also worked on the development of Columbia in the early 1960s.

In 1964, he established Northern Chesapeake Builders Corp., a commercial construction business that specialized in office, warehouse and shopping center construction. He has been semiretired since 2004.

"He'd still come up from the Eastern Shore two or three days a week," said Mary Pearce, his longtime secretary.

After the death of his wife in 1983 from cancer, Mr. Rockwell built and donated the Joanne Rockwell Memorial House, a ten-unit residential facility on the grounds of Johns Hopkins Hospital for cancer patients undergoing treatment at the hospital and their families.

Mr. Rockwell enjoyed playing basketball and racquetball.

After building a home in St. Michaels in 1972, he decided the best way to commute there was by air and earned his private pilot's license. He also flew family and friends aboard his Piper Arrow to Florida and the Bahamas.

He was an avid reader of histories of the Civil War and both world wars.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Johns Hopkins Club, 3400 N. Charles St.

Mr. Rockwell is survived by his wife of a month, the former Stephanie Keech; two sons, Norman E. Rockwell Jr. of Phoenix, Baltimore County, and David C. Rockwell of Monkton; a daughter, Susan Rockwell of Royal Oak; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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