GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Norman Kinder III was called “the heart and soul” of Granite City.

He was a part of everything; from high school football games, to the local dining scene, to everyday interactions on the street, you couldn’t miss him.

"He loved people. If he met you, you were a part of his family,” said Pastor Lisa Guilliams. “He remembered your name, he’d see you and want to know how you and your family were doing, what was new. He loved life and his people."

Pastor Guilliams leads Thrive Church and said Wednesday the 55-year-old Kinder never let his disabilities get in the way of being a part of everything in town.

Last Friday, he suffered a serious fall, becoming a quadriplegic. He died Monday in the hospital.

Guilliams had to deliver the news to his mother who is in an assisted living facility, and given COVID-19 rules, she can't leave.

“We had to tell her through a window. As clergy that just broke my heart. It was inhumane, but there’s no other way,” Guillaims said. “I couldn't touch her, couldn't give her a hug."

In response, the community wanted to honor “Stormin’ Norman,” especially his last wish of having a big funeral.

Saturday, a drive-through visitation is planned at Irwin Chapel Funeral Home.

Organizers are expecting an overwhelming number of cars to honor and remember Kinder.

“He was one of a kind. That's how to sum it up. He’ll never be replaced,” Guilliams said. “One person here in Granite City said it feels like the heart of our community has passed away."

Kinder’s funeral is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Visitors can line up near the intersection of Stratford Lane and Maryville Road.

Those attending should be sure to wear Cardinals or Granite City High School gear. Both were very near and dear to Stormin’ Norman.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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