Student Voice


June 22, 2024

Author and former UWRF faculty dies at age 74

September 16, 2021

A UW-River Falls associate professor, Michael Norman, died on Aug. 6. Norman was 74 and, according to his obituary, had a peaceful death at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Norman graduated from UWRF in 1969 with a major in journalism. Norman then returned to campus to teach journalism from 1973 until he retired in 2003. During that time, Norman was chair of his department for several years and also advised the radio station from 1973 through 1981. Norman was co-chair of the steering committee for the interdisciplinary Marketing Communications Major, and was one of the founders of the major. 

The former professor was also an author of a series of books on hauntings in the Midwest and across the country. He co-authored seven collections of ghost stories including: “Haunted Wisconsin” and “Haunted America. His last book is “The Nearly Departed: Minnesota Ghost Stories and Legends,” according to the publisher, the Minnesota Historical Society Press. 

Norman is preceded in death by his parents, and favorite pets Frances Loving, Windy, and Reggie, and Axl Rose (cockatiel). He is survived by his wife, Janell (Belisle); beloved son, James (Samah Fahmy); twin granddaughters, Zayna and Daphne; two sisters, Nancy Norman Ball (Russ), and Jane Norman (Tom Lansworth); two nephews and two nieces; and many friends, according to his obituary. 

A UWRF scholarship has been established by Norman’s family. Memorials to Norman may be made to the Freshman Journalism Scholarship Fund in the Department of Communication and Media Studies through the UWRF Foundation at 118 North Hall, River Falls, WI, 54022, or online at: