The former president of the Manukau Trotting Club and long-time treasurer of the New Zealand Trotting Hall Of Fame - Norm Latimer - died in August 2. The South Auckland harness racing stalwart requested a private funeral at the Papatoetoe Funeral Cottage in Kolmar Road.
He is survived by his wife Denese, sons Christopher & Roydon, and twin brother Noel.
Norm suffered a fall in Auckland earlier this year and never really recovered.
He is a big loss to the harness racing industry. He also had many friends - especially on Stable Talk, the racing website run by Dee Cowie Hall of Marton.
Here's Dee's dedication to Norm:
Without Norm's dedication and love for all things racing, Stable Talk may well have never become all that it is today.
It's been a few months since I visited with you but I never gave up hoping and believing that with each day you would get stronger. I have no doubt you fought hard right to the end. I wish with all my heart I could have said goodbye and thank you.
Thank you for the years of support, laughter, fun and great advice you gave me both as administrator and just plain ole Dee of Stable Talk.
I shall miss our frequent phone calls and I shall really miss your chuckles about the way I pick horses for competitions and how you always knew which ones were mine.
You were, and will always remain the heart of Stable Talk - I can't thank you enough for everything you did for us.
Sincere condolences and thoughts to Denise and your boys. May they stay strong at such an awful time. Alexandra Park will never be the same without you. We have lost one of Harness Racings greatest Gentlemen.
And on that note a memory that always comes back to me ... Jessica and I at Alexandra Park. you walked up to the Lyle Creek Lounge from downstairs and all the way you opened doors for us, ushered us through first, held the elevator for us before stepping in after us.
My daughter said to me "Mum this is so weird, do people really do this?" My reply...
"Not many Jess but Norm's the last of the great gentlemen and he sure does!
Norm was a truly passionate harness man. His focus was strong on ensuring New Zealand harness racing, particularly amongst smaller clubs, continues to exist.
In fact before his fall (accident) he had managed to persuade myself into becoming members of Manukau Trotting Club to show our support and stand firm beside him - unfortunately Norm still doesn't know of our plans as we are still awaiting his 'return to us'.
Norm was a very small man in stature but he sure was huge in heart!
I will never forget Norm's smiling face radiating from the crowd out at me. I always knnew then that we were in for a good night ahead at the races.
Will miss you Norm.
Editor's Footnote: I too will miss you Norm. What a great man you were to me both as a fellow Hall Of Fame committee member, and as a friend. Rest In Peace Norm. Gone but never ever forgotten. Duane Ranger.