Norman Smith Sheya

May 20, 1943 - March 18, 2020

Norm Sheya passed away on March 18, 2020, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.  He was 76 years old.

He was born in Salt Lake City to Mitchell George and Alice Marie Smith Sheya. He is survived by two sisters; Michelle (David) Lavin of Tustin, CA, and Paule (Michael) Hewlett, of Houston, TX and two stepsons, Skip (Cindy) Huntress of Bountiful, UT, and Randy (Mary) Huntress of Dallas, TX.

From the start, Norm was addicted to sports. When he wasn't playing organized baseball, he would invent his own games with friends in the Foothill and Sugar House neighborhoods.  During the school year, his routine was to come home, change clothes and head to the nearest baseball diamond. During the winter, the action would move to one of the LDS wards for basketball sessions that sometimes lasted until 8 or 9 p.m.

By the time he was 12 years old, he had faced the reality that his destiny was not to play major league baseball or the NBA. His biggest challenge was his size. From third grade through his senior year in high school, he was the smallest person (male or female) in his class.

He once came home and told his mother that he would no longer go to school, where the other students called him “Shorty” and teased, “How’s the weather down there?”

He entered East High School at 5’3” tall and 125 pounds then, went on to play all four years on the basketball team. Yes, he was the smallest player participating in the largest region in the state. 

On the East High team, he was known as "The Sixth Man." He was particularly successful in the semifinals of the 1961 state tournament, coming off the bench to score 10 points in a four-point victory over defending state champion Bingham High.

He enrolled at the University of Utah and was sports editor of the Daily Utah Chronicle in his sophomore year.  He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity where he made many life-long friends. He also worked as an intern at the Deseret News sports department before graduating from the University of Utah in 1965 with a degree in journalism.

He accepted a fulltime position on the sports staff of the Deseret News, where he covered Utah’s major colleges and wrote a weekly column. He joined the Army Reserves in 1966 and completed six years of reserve duty.  

In 1970, he accepted a position as Sports Information Director at the University of Illinois. In 1974, he was named Sports Information Director at the University of Utah, his alma mater.

From 1990 to 2018, Norm lived and worked in Southern California, most recently in Palm Desert. He remained an active golfer and tennis player as long as he could, and a sports enthusiast his entire life. 

Since April 2018, Norm has been living at Legacy Village of Sugar House, where he was cared for by a compassionate staff. Both he and his family were grateful for the kindness he was shown.  

Funeral services will be scheduled at a later date in both Salt Lake City, UT, and in Costa Mesa, CA. 

Please check back for updated service details.