The mayor of Manchester has died from COVID-19.
According to an official statement from Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman’s Facebook page, the mayor, who was recently hospitalized due to the virus, passed in the early hours Monday morning after a “valiant fight” against the virus.
“With a deep sense of sadness and loss, we announce the passing of Mayor Lonnie Norman after being hospitalized for COVID-19 on October 1, 2020,” the statement read. “Mayor Norman passed away in the early hours of Monday, October 12, 2020, after a valiant fight against COVID-19.”
Norman has served the city of Manchester in multiple capacities, including as an alderman and the most recent mayor. He first served as the mayor for one term from 1991 to 1995 before taking time away from politics. He was again elected the Manchester mayor in 2012, serving two consecutive terms before his reelection in August. He was 79 years old.
Tullahoma Mayor Ray Knowis issued a statement to The News regarding Norman’s passing. He offered condolences to the Norman’s family as well as the city of Manchester, calling Norman not only a “fellow mayor” but also a friend.
“My most sincere condolences to the family of Mayor Lonnie Norman and to the citizens of Manchester on the passing of Mayor Norman. It has been honor to know him as a fellow mayor and, more importantly, to know him as a friend. He will be missed.”
Former mayor Lane Curlee, who served alongside Norman for many years in his capacity as mayor of Tullahoma, also issued a statement on Norman’s passing.
“Evelyn and I were deeply saddened to learn of Mayor Norman’s passing,” Curlee said in a statement. “Representing our two cities, Mayor Norman and I collaborated on several projects over the years and our paths crossed often. It was clear he loved Manchester, had a passion for serving and represented his city well. Mayor Norman was a kind and gentle person; and Manchester has lost a great public servant. Condolences to his family for this great loss.”
Order of succession
According to the Manchester city charter, a vacancy in the mayor’s office will be filled by the vice-mayor. Manchester’s current vice-mayor is Marilyn Howard.
Howard will serve as the mayor until the next regular city election, which is scheduled for 2022. At that time, someone will be elected to fill the remaining balance of Norman’s term, which expires in 2024.
The Manchester charter reads: “…in case of a vacancy in the office of Mayor, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen shall fill the vacancy with the Vice-mayor or from the remaining members of the Board until the next regular election, at which time someone will be elected for the balance of the term, if any, or for a new term.”