Former Brighton High School golf coach and academic counselor Norm Pawlowski died April 13 after a long illness. He was 84.
Pawlowski coached the Bulldogs boys golf program for 40 years, was an academic counselor for 30 years and ran the scoreboard at the team's football games for 25 years.
"The last couple of years were tough, but he made sure to make every minute count, never missing a beat," said his grandson, Brice Pawlowski, on Facebook. "No more pain, and no more suffering."
Norm Pawlowski was born Dec. 10, 1935, in Alpena, South Dakota, the seventh of seven children born to George and Anna (Daleske) Pawlowski. His love of sports and hunting began early, even though he shot his big toe at the age of 10. He particularly enjoyed hunting geese, pheasants, ducks and rabbits.
He practiced basketball on packed dirt, shooting at a hoop that was made from a bushel basket nailed to a wooden pole, according to his obituary. He still holds scoring records in basketball at Alpena High School.
He earned a basketball scholarship to Gen. Beadle State Teachers College, now Dakota State University, at the age of 17. However, the school told him he couldn't play basketball unless he played football too. Alpena High School didn't field a football team, and Pawlowski didn't particularly enjoy the contact that came with football. So he left school and enlisted in the Marine Corps.
Pawlowski used his GI Bill to attend Colorado State University, where he majored in biology and physical education. He also was an assistant head resident in one of the dorms. He met his future wife, Janice Mosser, one of the hall receptionists. Pawlowski earned a master's degree in guidance counseling at CSU. He taught and coached sports in Bushnell, Nebraska, then married the then-Janice Mosser May 22, 1966, then spent a year teaching and counseling in Germany.
He retired from BHS in 1997. His golf teams won two then-Skyline League championships, and Pawlowski was able to coach his son, Todd, and two of his grandsons during each of their stints at Brighton High School, Pawlowski stepped away for good in 2015.
He and his wife owned Varsity Sporting Goods for 31 years. He became a silk-screening master. They sold the business in 2015.
In 2018, Pawlowski contracted corticobasal degeneration, where the motor part of a brain slowly goes to sleep.
Brice Pawlowski said his grandfather, with his trademark handlebar moustache, had an infectious personality "and a style that could light up any room, no matter who he was with."
"He was proud of many things including his prized tomato that came with a whopping prize of $2,500," Brice Pawlowski said. "Every golfer dreams of hitting a hole in one. He aced hole 17 during a men's tournament at Riverdale Golf Course.
"He had wry sense of humor, and the loving way he teased everyone was appreciated by all who had the pleasure of knowing him."
"Sad day for our golf community," read a tweet from the Frederick High School boys golf team. "Our condolences to Norm's family and the Brighton community."
"Norm was a good guy, he was a counselor and golf coach when I was in high school and was there when I came back to teach,” said former football coach Pat Sandoval. “Norm was loyal, dedicated, all around great guy. Sad news, wow.”
His parents; and brothers Donald, of South Dakota, and George, of Arvada, preceded him in death. Survivors include his wife; his son (Shelley), and their children, Brock, Brice and Jamie, of Commerce City; a daughter, Jill (Scott) McCollum, of Thornton, and their son Jordan (Jackie) DeRosa, of Westminster; a brother, Marvin (Shirley) of Redmond, Oregon; sisters, Doris Groenhoff, of Boulder, Luetta O'Brien, of Oakdale, California, and Margaret (Rex) Sample, of Mesa, Arizona; seven nieces; and five nephews.
A memorial service will take place as soon as it's safe for family and friends to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Norm Pawlowski's Memorials, in care of Colorado Credit Union, and use either P.O. Box 270010, Littleton 80127, or 2380 E. Bridge St., Brighton 80601.
"Norm was a Bulldog," said former BHS teacher and Brighton Mayor Ken Kreutzer. "He bled Bulldog red and white. He loved sports, especially golf. My son and daughter had the privilege of playing on the BHS golf team under Norm where he was famous for the saying, 'Down and through the ball.' I had the opportunity to work with Norm in the press box for Bulldog football for well over 20 years. Norm made his mark on many students all while serving as Brighton’s 'First Man.' He will be sadly missed."