Friends, colleagues speak of longtime lawman, former city manager Norman Reynolds Sr.

Published 12:22 am Friday, July 21, 2023

Longtime lawman Norman Reynolds Sr., who worked locally and across the area, is being remembered for his leadership and contributions.

Reynolds, 82, died Tuesday at Hospice in Beaumont.

Groves Chief Deputy Kirk Rice works with Reynolds’ son, Groves City Marshal Norman Reynolds Jr.

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“He was a man of principle and a true leader who people confidently followed,” Rice said of Reynolds Sr.

Former Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said he worked with Reynolds when he was hired in Port Neches.

Reynolds was patrol sergeant at the time when Lemoine was a patrolman.

“He was great to work with. He had a lot of knowledge, as he had been working quite a while when I started working there,” Lemoine said. “He was big on teaching you how to do things the right way. He took care of his people. He always had your back.”

Reynolds would reprimand an officer if he did something wrong but always treated the person with respect. He was conscientious and would get out in the field and show what must be done.

Lemoine said the Reynolds family are dear friends of his that he has known a long time.

During Reynolds’ long career in law enforcement, he also held the dual role as chief of police in Lumberton and as city manager.

Don Burnett, who was on Lumberton City Council when Reynolds was chief and city manager, said the city is better because of Reynolds.

Prior to Reynolds being hired as city manager, the city was a Type A General Law City, which operated under the general laws of the state. But the city was growing and there was a need for a change in direction.

In 2000 Lumberton became a Home Rule City, operating under a city charter.

“He took on the dual roles and directed our growth, oversaw the way we grew,” said Burnett, who spent 18 years in council.

Under his tenure the city saw a number of parks open, thus improving the quality of life for the residents.

“His leadership certainly contributed to a lot of the growth,” he said.

Born in Tyler, Reynolds was a 1959 graduate of Port Neches-Groves High School, where he stood out in football, according to his obituary. He also was in Golden Gloves Boxing and fought for the Texas State Title.

Reynolds served in the U.S. Air Force and later worked at Texas U.S. Chemical in Port Neches.

In 1965 he began work part time as the chief of police in Pear Ridge, an area that was later annexed into the city of Port Arthur. He then went to work at the Port Neches Police Department as a patrol sergeant, then Lumberton Police Department where he retired in 2008. He also served as city manager at the same time as chief in Lumberton.

After retirement he became chief of police for the Port of Beaumont for four more years then retired again at the age of 71.

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (July 21) at Levingston Funeral Home in Groves with funeral services to follow.

Burial will be held at Oak Bluff memorial Park in Port Neches.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gwyn Reynolds; two sons, Groves City Marshal Norman Reynolds Jr., and Larry Reynolds and daughter Melissa Fischer.

Officials said Reynolds will have both a military service and a Masonic service and will be laid to rest wearing a Lumberton Police Department uniform.