Funeral services held at ECHS

Published 9:22 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2004

By by Arthur McLean
Friends and family gathered at the Escambia County High School auditorium to mourn the passing of Kelvin Norman and Clifton Cooks and receive support from the community Tuesday.
An estimated crowd of 1,000 gathered in the auditorium, solemnly passing by the two open caskets of Norman and Cooks, who were killed Tuesday, August 3, when their car collided with a train at a railroad crossing in Freemanville.
Music played softly as Bishop Bernard Bishop read from the book of Psalms. A cry would echo through the building as a friend or family member, stricken by grief would pass and cry out.
Large bouquets of flowers flanked the auditorium stage, carnations in the shape of footballs topped the displays on each side. Members of the football team sat together up front, close to their fallen teammates.
Family and city and county officials sat in their dark dress clothes, students passed by in their khaki uniforms, just out of their second day of classes without their classmates.
Songs, scripture and words of comfort were offered from classmates and clergy alike, urging the family to trust in God's will.
Remembrances were offered from family members and classmates alike. Cooks and Norman were "jokesters," and "the best friend I ever had." One young woman said, "Cliff always said he loved me. He said it joking, but I really loved him."
The ceremony is not the first of its kind. After a similar tragedy affecting students at W.S. Neal, a similar service was held at that school, said Buck Powell, superintendent of schools.
To help students, Powell said the school system would have most of its counselors focusing their efforts and time at ECHS.
Cooks will be buried in Stallworth Cemetery and Norman will be buried in Fairview Cemetery.

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