Normie Kwong remembered fondly at public memorial service

Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to CFL legend and former Alberta lieutenant-governor Norman Kwong at a state memorial.

Kwong, who was 86, died in his sleep on Sept. 3.

Randy Kwong said his dad was unassuming and kind to everyone.

“My dad used to respond with the word “wonderful,” Kwong told the crowd Tuesday.

“My wife would bring him a cup of tea and he would say “wonderful.” My kids would bring over baking and he would say “wonderful.” We’d say “Dad, we’re bringing over dinner” and he’d say “wonderful.'”

“Well Dad, you’re wonderful.”

The native Calgarian was one of six children born to Chinese immigrants Charles and Lily Kwong. He attended Western Canada High School in Calgary where he discovered football.

He joined the Stampeders as a halfback when he was 18 and became the first Chinese Canadian to play in the CFL and the youngest to win a Grey Cup.

He went on to win three more cups with the Edmonton Eskimos and held more than 30 CFL records when he retired from the league in 1960.

Kwong went on to become president and general manager of the Stampeders from 1988 to 1991 and also co-owned the NHL Calgary Flames from 1980 to 1994.

“Normie, God bless him, was always a good man,” Wally Buono, former Stampeders coach and GM, told the crowd.

“I can remember when he hired me how he made me feel so proud that he would have that confidence in me.”

He received the Order of Canada in 1998 and was appointed Alberta’s 16th lieutenant-governor at the age of 75, a position he held until 2012.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and former prime minister Stephen Harper also delivered spoke at Tuesday’s service.

– CP