Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Coal Valley News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

NORMAN “LEE” HARPER, 78, of Madison, passed away on October 12, 2020, at his home. He grew up in Bandytown, W.Va., and was a member of Bandytown Church of Christ. Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Norman Cooper and Lorraine Pettry Harper, and his brother, Larry Cooper Harper. Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 53 years, Ernestine Hunt Harper; daughter and son-in-law, Melanie Lea Harper-Allen and Jason Allen; beloved granddaughter, Madison Lee Harper Allen; uncle, Ray Pettry of Virginia; and a host of family and friends. Lee was a teacher at Wharton Junior High School and Van Junior Senior High School. He was also a coach, mentor and most importantly a friend to many students thru the years. “Butterfly — Flittering, fluttering all around the town up wind, downwind in its summery gown. Dancing, darting right before your eyes I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that’s how the butterflies” — Norman Lee Harper. Lee always had a witty comeback, or off-colored joke, even an old story to share. He often responded when someone asked how he was doing, “I’m vertical” or “another day another dollar, fifty cents after taxes.” The family would like to give a special thanks to Kevin Hill, PA, who was a former student, health care provider for many years and a lifelong friend, and Dignity Hospice for your help and concern. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Bandytown Church of Christ, 12594 Chap Rd., Gordon, WV 25093 or Van High School, 100 Bulldog Blvd., Van, WV 25206. In closing Lee would always add his witty spin on a Shakespeare quote and say, “Parting is such sweet sorrow, but alas I must go.” Celebration of his life 2 p.m. Thursday, October 15, 2020, Memory Gardens, Madison, W.Va., with Tim Bailey officiating. Please bring a lawn chair, old story to share and a current event. Friends call from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Handley Funeral Home, Danville, W.Va. CDC guidelines observed with mask and social distancing encouraged. You may express your condolences to the family at www.handleyfh.com.