Judge Norman Olitsky

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Obituaries

Norfolk—Judge Norman Olitsky, 96, passed away peacefully on April 8, 2021, after a courageous and debilitating battle with congestive heart failure.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, he was the only child of Jack and Celia Olitsky. His childhood years were happy and full, encompassed by a family of loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Family gatherings meant lots of laughter, good times, and, of course, music. His father’s Philadelphia family provided the same loving experiences, which stayed with Norman throughout his life.

Upon graduation from Maury High School, Norman was soon drafted into the U. S. Army during World War II. In his three years of service at many stateside bases, he sealed his reputation for excellence by playing his saxophone and clarinet in numerous Army bands. He often said it was great to provide some joy and music to the troops. This gift was also recognized in his earlier years in Norfolk, when he was selected as first chair clarinetist in the Norfolk Symphony at a very early age. While still in high school, he also played in the pit in several Norfolk theaters in an effort to supplement family finances during the depression.

After being honorably discharged from the Army, Norman attended the Norfolk Division of William and Mary and ultimately graduated from the University of Miami with a business administration degree. His pursuit of a law degree took a three-year hiatus while he ran his parents’ Portsmouth business for his ailing father. He eventually graduated from the University of Georgia Law School.

In 1956, Norman returned to Portsmouth with his wife Marcia and began his law practice. These proved to be very busy years, building a law practice; starting a family; and having many community commitments too numerous to name, but included civic; the arts, which included the Musicians’ Local 125, political, and of course, the law. Even after retiring from the bench, he enjoyed supporting the wonderful work of LifeNet Health in Virginia Beach by serving on its board.

During Norman’s 35 years of private practice in Portsmouth, Marcia read the law under his supervision; passed the bar; and became the first female attorney in Portsmouth, a tribute to a man who did not have one female in his graduating law class in 1956. By 1975, he helped bring the first female attorney to Portsmouth. They were both trailblazers.

Following his 35 years of private practice, he was appointed to the Portsmouth Circuit Court in 1991, and retired in 1999. He continued to serve as a substitute judge throughout the Commonwealth in addition to mediation with The McCammon Group until 2018. His love of the law was life-long, while his reputation for being prepared, thorough, and fair is his legacy.

Norman is survived by his devoted wife of 33 years, Susan Olitsky. Both were well aware of how blessed they were to share their lives in good health and surrounded by love. Fortunately, there are many wonderful memories from which to draw strength, solace, and warmth in the years ahead. He is also survived by his adoring daughters: Ronni Olitsky (Jeff Young), Rozanne Worrell (Brad), Jacky Olitsky, and Caryn Wall (Gresh); and his three adoring grandchildren: Lily Young, Kenzie Wall, and Gresham Wall. He will also be fondly remembered by sisters in-law Kathy Dutlinger and Linda Crooks, as well as nieces Heather Short (Jas), Lyn Cherry (Taylor), and nephew John Crooks. There are also 11 grand nieces and nephews who so enjoyed Uncle NoNo providing the wonderful music at so many family affairs through the years. He was a man so full of life that the only way to describe him was to say, “He was always young,” young of spirit; young of heart; the curiosity of youth; and the pursuit of life to its fullest.

Due to COVID, the burial was a private family service handled by H. D. Oliver Funeral Apartments. The service was conducted by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg, and was available via live stream. A celebration of Norman’s life will be held at a later and safer date. Memorial donations may be made to Virginia Symphony Orchestra, WHRO, or a charity of choice. Online condolences may be sent to the family through hdoliver.com.