St. Petersburg Times
Pinellas
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Hospital, schools, seminaries lose benefactor

By NOVA BEALL
Published May 31, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

LARGO - Philanthropist Norman E. Demers, who donated more than $1-million to Morton Plant Mease Health Care and supported many Catholic causes, died Tuesday (May 22, 2007). He was 92.

"We were able to transform the education here at St. Patrick's through technology because of Mr. Demer's gifts, " said longtime friend Sister Veronica, SSND, the development director and incoming principal at St. Patrick's School in Largo.

Thanks to Mr. Demers, St. Patrick's dedicated a new computer lab two weeks ago. The school's outdated computers, electronic equipment and antiquated wiring was replaced with state-of-the-art technology, and laptops were given to all faculty members.

"He made the world a better place, especially for children, " Sister Veronica said.

Providing scholarships to students in Catholic schools was another focus of Mr. Demers. Students from St. Patrick's were selected annually for such a scholarship, based on factors such as community service, how well they embodied the school's philosophy and whether they put forth their best effort.

Mr. Demers also sponsored the education of Catholic priests and nuns, and his support spanned the globe and provided funding for seminary school.

At Morton Plant Mease in Clearwater, the Demers name graces the Gamma Knife Center in recognition of the family's support.

One of Mr. Demers' favorite sayings was, "I have so much more that I want to do, " said Beth Hardy, Morton Plant Mease's public relations manager.

A native of Berlin, N.H., Mr. Demers met his future wife, Cecile, while in the Army, and the couple married in 1942.

They settled in the Panama Canal Zone where Mr. Demers worked for more than three decades for the Transportation and Terminal Bureau. He retired as deputy director and received the Presidential Management Improvement Award for excellence in improving government operations and saving taxpayers $1-million.

The Demers family moved to Largo in 1972 and he took a job with H&R Block. He worked there for 25 years, preparing personal, corporate and estate tax returns.

In addition to his local philanthropy, Mr. Demers also contributed to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute in Tampa, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami and several American Indian schools.

Mr. Demers died at Hospice House Woodside in Pinellas Park. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Cecile; and a brother, Joseph F. Horton of Michigan.

[Last modified May 30, 2007, 21:22:35]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT