Tim Norris

Downes Elementary plans to name its cafeteria in memory of custodian Tim Norris (right), who died in April.

The cafeteria at Downes Elementary School will soon bear the name of a beloved employee who died in a tragic accident.

Earlier this month, the school board unanimously approved the naming proposal, clearing the way for the school to honor custodian Tim Norris.

“The amount of support for Mr. Norris in the community is just overwhelming,” board member Elizabeth Paige said.

Norris worked at Downes for six years and though his job was to mop floors and empty trashcans, his impact went far beyond his official duties as chief custodian.

Norris’ role as mentor and friend to the students was evident each day in the cafeteria, where he was stationed for cleanup duty, his colleagues said.

“Lunchtime at Downes is an extremely busy place, and Tim ran the cafeteria like a pro,” school secretary Marilyn Moore recalled earlier this year. “His main duty was to clean up after the kids, but you could always find him tying the shoelace of a second-grader or helping to open a milk carton of a crying kindergartener.”

Sadly, Norris’ daily presence in the cafeteria ended earlier this year, when Norris died serving the school he loved. He suffered serious injuries after falling from the school’s roof while working April 9 and died several days later at the age of 58.

Downes plans to hold a naming ceremony in conjunction with its annual Healthy Heart Night in February.

“The cafeteria is the most fitting place we could put his name on the school, because this is where the kids interacted with him,” Bronwyn Millman, president of the Downes PTA said. “This is where his heart was, and this is where kids remember him.”

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