Norman Storer (1930 - 2017)

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Obituary

Norman William Storer, who lived in Lawrence from childhood until 1956, died suddenly on Friday, March 10, at his home in San Diego. He was 86.

He was born in Middletown, Connecticut on May 8, 1930, a son of Norman Wyman Storer, the long-time K.U. astronomy professor, and Mary Emily (House) Storer. He attended public schools in Lawrence, spent two years at Park College in Missouri, and graduated from K.U. in 1952 with a B.A. in English. He enlisted in the Army in 1953 and served two years of active duty in the U.S., including over a year at the Pentagon. He spent several years in the Army Reserve, where he attained the rank of Sergeant First Class. He received his Master's degree in sociology from K.U. in 1956, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1961.

Prof. Storer taught sociology for six academic years at Harvard University, leaving as an assistant professor, in 1966, to join the Social Science Research Council in New York City. He taught courses at Hunter College in New York, and left the S.S.R.C. in 1970 to become Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York, and department chairperson for fifteen years. He retired in 1988.

Norman W. Storer married Ada Joan Van Valkenburg, a granddaughter of K.U. botany professor William Chase Stevens, in 1951. They divorced in 1975. She died in 1981. He married his soul-mate, Mary P. Hiatt, a professor of English and pioneer of quantitative analysis of gender differences in prose style, in 1975. They moved to San Diego upon retirement. She died in 2005.

Prof. Storer specialized in the sociology of science. He was strongly influenced by the ideas of his Harvard colleague Talcott Parsons, and those of Robert K. Merton. He wrote two books, The Social System of Science (1966), and Focus on Society (1973). He also wrote many articles, including The Hard Sciences and the Soft: Some Sociological Observations (1966). He edited Merton's The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations (1973).

Besides scholarly books and articles, Prof. Storer wrote limericks. Approximately thirty of them were published in Playboy's Book of Limericks (1972), and in Playboy magazine. He self-published A Leer of Limericks (1990).

Profs. Storer and Hiatt traveled extensively after retiring. Prof. Storer also enjoyed playing boogie-woogie piano, and volunteering for the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. With Sheriff William Flores, he published a statistical study of domestic violence in San Diego County, as well as a demographic study of people booked for crimes in the county from 1997 through 1999.

Prof. Storer had a sunny disposition. He was a liberal Democrat and supported Democratic Party causes.

He was predeceased by his sister, Esther Utchen of San Ramon, California. He is survived by a brother, David Storer of Ballwin, Missouri; two sons, Martin Storer of Nashua, New Hampshire, and Thomas Storer of Paris, France; a stepson, Andrew Hiatt of Hampton, Virginia; four grandchildren, Liam, Benjamin, Samuel, and Chloe; two step-grandchildren, Gabriella and Tristan; and a step-great-grandchild, Cy.

A memorial service will be held in San Diego in June. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Mar. 23, 2017
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