obituaries

Norman Jasper

Shipman |

A great citizen of the United States of America was lost when Norman Joshua Jasper died on April 18th, 2024. 

His life started humbly, born in the town of Shipman, Illinois with a population of only 250 people. Norman grew up during the Great Depression, and lived his life on the honesty of a handshake and a smile being sufficient for all professional dealings. His favorite saying: "Good people are like cream. They always rise to the top."

Norman was successful with all sports available to him. After graduating high school, he earned his four-year degree from Illinois State University. His major in physical fitness with a minor in history made him a valuable selection for Officer Candidate School (OCS) with the United States Marine Corps. His photo as 2nd lieutenant with the USMC is pictured above.

Norman Jasper excelled in military training with both the Army and the Marines. His Army training included Ranger school, 2nd Division Recon. battalion, and 82nd Airborne Division, among others. He was proud of making 300 free falls and made 365 parachute jumps in 8 years. His deep regret he did not have the talent to learn a second language. That obstacle kept him from becoming a full Army Green Beret. 

With his thorough military training, Norman volunteered for active duty in the Vietnam War. His fondest memory was as Kilo Company Commander, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines on hill 861, Khe Sanh, Vietnam. His less than 400 men were up against a North Vietnamese Regiment of 1000 soldiers. This time is called "The Siege" of Vietnam, where boots on the ground Marines were hit by heavy bombing and machine gun artillery fire. Norman Jasper was wounded in combat on January 21,1968; along with 25 of his fellow Marines. On that date in spite of the irreconcilable odds, there were only 10 casualties of Kilo company, 26th Marines. His combat wounds earned Norman Jasper a Purple Heart medal with 2 stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold star, and later was awarded The Bronze Star with Combat V. 

His leadership and skill to lead the Marines and "Hold the Hill 861" are recorded in "The Battle for Khe Sanh" by Captain Moyers S. Shore II, USMC, Historical Branch, G-3 Division 1969, page 40. Norman Jasper is featured in the book "Last Stand at Khe Sanh" the U.S. Marines' finest hour in Vietnam by Gregg Jones. He submitted materials to the author and was interviewed on January 27, 2012.

Other periodicals and materials the family did not have access to include. Norman's reading scripture in the Vietnam War and in life is the 91st Psalm of the King James Bible.

Within a year of Honorable Discharge from the USMC, Norman Jasper was hired in pharmaceutical sales then retired after 25 years. He never stopped working to improve Veterans treatment and causes. In 1987 Norman was able to push for the Military Order of the Purple Heart license plates for the State of Virginia with political assistance. He was active in membership of over 21 different Veteran groups. The Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Order of the World Wars, Blue Ridge All Airborne Division, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart are to name a few. His last year of activity before his infirmity caught up with him was 2018.

The family of Norman Jasper would like to thank the many people and nationalities from around the world who were the CNA's and RNs to look after and assist him the last five years of his life. He was always a people person and loved to watch people in his twilight days. He spent all his free time hiking the forests of the Blue Ridge Parkway. On a hot day, ice cream was a requirement with butter pecan being his favorite flavor.

Norman Jasper is predeceased by his father, Norman Jasper Senior; mother, Edith Jasper and older brother, Gordon.

He is survived by his sister, Lorraine and husband, Galen who are 30 plus year members of Thomas Road Baptist Church. He has a daughter Julie, from a previous marriage, who will be watching the livestream funeral on May 10, 2024, at 2 pm along with family out of state. There is an evening viewing at Oakey's Vinton Chapel on May 9, 2024 from 6 pm to 8 pm along with a viewing on Friday from 12 pm until the time of service at 2 PM. Visitation will be held from 11 am until the time of funeral service at 1 pm on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at the United Methodist Church in Shipman.  He will be buried in Bunker Hill Cemetery Bunker Hill, Illinois in the family plot.  Norman's Nephew Skip and wife, Jill will be in Vinton from out of state for the services. Norman is also survived by Virginia Draper, mother of Angela Hope. Every effort has been tried to edit my father's very itinerate contribution to the History of the United States of America. I am Angela Hope, one of the few living daughters of a Camp Lejeune Marine.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Covenant Reformed Episcopal Church, 6429 Merriman Road, SW, Roanoke, VA  24018.


Obit Provided By:
Anderson Family Funeral Home

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