Norm Prady
Norm Prady

While building a successful and multi-faceted writing career, Norman Prady also became a devoted father, a doting grandfather, a generous mentor and a talented artist.

As a 9-year-old sitting at his mother’s Underwood typewriter, Norman Philip Prady knew he was destined to become a writer. While building a successful and multi-faceted writing career, Norman also became a devoted father, a doting grandfather, a generous mentor and a talented artist. Norman Prady died on April 8, 2022, watching his beloved Tigers win their Opening Day game against the Chicago White Sox. He was 88.

The son of Calvin and Mildred Prady, Norman was born in Detroit in 1933. He shared a close relationship with his two older sisters, Audrey and (the late) Barbara, that continued throughout their lives. After graduating from Central High School, he studied English at Wayne State University. Later, he served on the board of directors of the American Red Cross.

His first stop on the way to achieving his childhood dream was the (now-
Detroit Times, where he quickly advanced from copy boy to reporter. The bustling newsroom was Norman’s idea of paradise, and his most treasured memories included covering fires, car crashes and escaped zoo animals before rushing to the nearest pay phone to dictate his story. 

When the paper folded in 1960, Norman began a career in advertising, where he developed award-winning campaigns and served as creative director at major ad agencies such as Campbell-Ewald and BBDO.

While his accomplishments in that field were impressive, he remained a newsman at heart. 

“It was his identity for the rest of his days,” wrote his son Bill in a eulogy delivered at the funeral. “His advertising copy floated above the ordinary because the newspaperman in him turned a sales pitch into a story.”

Despite his many successes, his greatest source of pride and joy was his family. He and his former wife, Susan, had two children, Bill and Anne, whom he showered with unconditional love and encouraged to follow their dreams. 

Bill has fond memories of attending Tigers games with his father, including trips to Lakeland, Florida, during spring training. He was a favorite among his children’s friends. While Norman “kvelled” over his kids’ accomplishments, he loved them for who they were instead of what they achieved. 

Norman’s light shone most brightly around his grandchildren. He was a doting “Papa” who loved spending time with his grandchildren.  

“Dad was always ready and willing to help with the kids at a moment’s notice,” said Anne. “He would have them over for dinner and make menus so they could choose their meals. You could always count on my dad to be front and center at every school concert, graduation, birthday party with that giant camera around his neck.”

In 1985, he founded The Norman Prady Company, creating and producing advertising and marketing materials for several local clients. He regularly contributed freelance articles to local and national publications, including a 2016 story in the Detroit Jewish News called “To the Person Who Ran Me Down with His Small Ugly Gold-Colored Car” that described his experience as a hit-and-run victim.

Norman had a wry sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He loved a good corned beef sandwich, his 1988 Oldsmobile convertible and Marilyn Monroe. He enjoyed telling stories about his days as a reporter, the day he missed a grand slam by Willie Horton because Bill had to use the bathroom, or the time Jimmy Stewart recorded a public service announcement he had written.

In his 70s, he wrote and published seven novels featuring characters and storylines that sprung from his imaginative mind.

He started The Oxford Writers Group, where a group of writers from various backgrounds gathered around his kitchen table to hone their skills. For a nominal fee that barely covered the pizza and salad he served each week, he generously shared his wisdom, offering valuable advice and needed encouragement. 

Norman Prady is survived by his beloved children, Anne (Michael) Sheehan and Bill (Jessica Queller) Prady; cherished grandchildren, Matthew, Nicholas and Benjamin Sheehan, and Stella and Asher Prady; devoted sisters, Audrey Gerson and the late Barbara Cohen. Norman is also survived by his former wife, Susan Prady.

Interment was at Clover Hill Park Cemetery. Contributions in memory of Norman Prady may be directed to Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network, 6555 W. Maple, West Bloomfield, MI 48322, (248) 592-2687, Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel. 

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