Norris Dean Garnett died Jan. 14, 2010, in Culver City, Calif.

Norris Dean Garnett died Jan. 14, 2010, in Culver City, Calif.

Norris Dean was born on Nov. 21, 1931, in Newton and was the seventh of 13 siblings born to Harry and Edna Garnett.

Norris graduated from Newton High School in 1949 and began his college career at Bethel College. He joined the U.S. Air Force in June 1951 and, after receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force, he moved to Los Angeles and attended Cal State L.A. to continue his studies in languages and foreign affairs.

Upon graduating from Cal State, Norris moved to Washington, D.C., where he pursued more studies in foreign affairs and languages at Georgetown University. Proficient in the Russian language, he applied for the post hosting the “American National Exhibition” in Moscow. He prevailed, and his work in Moscow earned him much praise and recognition, prompting a letter of acknowledgment from then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

His last career stop after the State Department was a seat with the Martin Luther King Federal Holiday Commission.

In retirement, he began to write articles for The Brooklyn Advocate, a New York free paper, as well as speeches for political dignitaries and novels for which he was submitting for publication.

Norris received many certificates of commendation from the State Department and higher levels of the government, some from Nixon, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Ronald Reagan.

Norris Dean leaves to cherish his memory two brothers, Clayton E. Garnett (Kozetta) of Los Angeles and Floyd E. Garnett (Winnifred) of Newton; two sisters, Eileen Washington of Hutchinson and Jeri Lyn Tipton of Kansas City, Mo.; and several nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues.

Norris was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Edna; brother Billy; and sisters, Harriet, Rosetta, Clara, Rose Marie and Brenda.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Jan. 30 at Halls Chapel AME, 711 E. 11th St. in Newton.