Norman Wayne Naylor was a servant leader, someone who wanted to make a difference in his community and in the lives of others. By virtue of the life he lived, the public positions he held and the spirit that propelled him, Mr. Naylor did exactly that in virtually every aspect of his life.
He was a farmer, a man who toiled with his hands, hard- working and conscientious, giving back to others from his own bounty. He loved rural life and, like most farmers, worked hard and humbly, each and every day.
As a Mason and Shriner, Mr. Naylor exemplified the characteristics of those two fraternal orders: tolerant, respectful, kind toward others and charitable, with a great care for the community as a whole.
Mr. Naylor’s desire to serve led him to roles within his community that mirrored those aspirations. He was a charter member of the Herring Fire Department and a staunch supporter of Sampson County Schools, serving on the Midway District Advisory Council. Within those roles, Mr. Naylor was able to help children, his neighbors and his friends, things that were very important to him.
But his service didn’t stop there. Because of his love for community and his desire to make a difference, Mr. Naylor threw his hat into the political arena, and won his way onto the Sampson County Board of Commissioners, where he served admirably, even taking the gavel as chairman.
It was during his tenure on that board that we came to wholeheartedly admire Mr. Naylor, learning through countless discussions that he truly was intent on doing everything he could to make Sampson a great place for everyone.
He was truly humbled by the confidence the board placed in him when he was elected chairman, and he strived every day to do things that would unite the board and the county, sidestepping the politics that often wiggles its way into how local government is run.
After his tenure on the board of commissioners ended, Mr. Naylor served on the Sampson Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees and then was elected Sampson’s clerk of court.
Although in declining health by this time, Mr. Naylor was still adamant that he wanted to be of service to his community.
It was his gift to us all, a way to give back just as servant leaders always do.
His death Sunday saddened us, knowing what a tremendous loss his passing is to his family, his friends and to a county that he loved.
But his service to Sampson County will not be forgotten, nor will the good he did over a lifetime of giving.
As the great Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve …You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
In his time of true service to this county, Norman Wayne Naylor gave it everything he had, and he did it humbly, with a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.
— The Sampson Independent