JAMES NORMAN CAVENDER
James Norman Cavender passed away peacefully at MediLodge of Greenview on Feb. 22, 2020, in Alpena, Michigan. Norman was born in Claxton, Georgia on Jan. 21, 1936, the oldest of three, to Henley Thistle and Beatrice Phillips Cavender. He was a graduate of Mercer University and then chose Vanderbilt University to further his studies. Norman’s love of farming led him first to the newspaper business. He began as a writer and editor for the Farm Quarterly in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then later began writing in the same capacity for The Farm Journal which was based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During this time Norman and his wife had two little girls, and they made the decision to return to Claxton to raise their daughters in his hometown. He joined the family business, C & C Farms, and became the Vice-President of C & C Farms along with his brother Ralph as President. Norman was very active in his community where he served as a member and president of the Rotary Club along with numerous contributions to the community. He was steadfast in his faith, and he dutifully served his church, First Baptist Church of Claxton, Georgia. He served in many of a number of roles, most notable as deacon and the adult Sunday School teacher. Norman had a passion for the Southern Baptist Church. He was compelled to speak out around the south for Baptists to have the freedom to relate directly with God through the direction of the Holy Spirit. His second passion was to advocate for the rights of women to hold leadership positions in the Southern Baptist Church. His most notable speech was given at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1985 where he gave the keynote address “Where Have All the Baptists Gone.” His work contributed to the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991. Growing into a much older gentleman, Norman made the decision to move to Alpena, Michigan in 2012 to be near his loving daughter. He is survived by his daughter Anne and his sister Judy Cavender Smith and her husband Douglas. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews John Cavender, Cathy Cavender Lowe, Tom Willingham and his wife Macon, Jim Willingham, Bob Willingham and his wife Alexis; as well as Ralph’s wife Harriette Costa Cavender. He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Connie Cavender, his brother Ralph, and Cathy’s husband John Lowe. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church in Claxton, Georgia in the spring. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hospice of Michigan or your local Hospice organization. Online condolences can be registered at www.mcwilliamsfh.com.