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Super Senior: Norm Case

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"I'm still pretty wobbly," Norm Case said.

You can forgive a 95-year-old with a history of heart problems for having a hard time getting around.

"I have to use a cane," he said.

But it doesn't stop Norm from going on a stroll at Pillsbury Manor.

"He's humorous and smart. He's taught us a lot of things," said Marie Chase, the event coordinator at Pillsbury Manor.

What he's taught them is courage and perseverance.

"I never let it stop me," Norm said.

Norm is completely blind, but it wasn't always that way.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You were born sighted, right?

Norm Case: Yes.

He had the measles at 7 and his eyelids were sticking, so his mom brought him to a doctor who made a tragic mistake.

"He prescribed carbonic acid," Norm said. "They put in my eyes and I still remember the pain."

He lost 80 percent of his eyesight. Then at 17, he broke a blood vessel and lost all his sight. He now has two glass eyes.

Joe Carroll: What is the hardest part of being blind?

Norm Case: Getting around.

But it never stopped him. He was driven and smart. Born in Bethel and raised in Rhode Island, Norm graduated from Brown University magna cum laude and then went off to Yale. While studying to become a lawyer, he met a certain woman.

"I was sitting in the audience and she was in the choir at church," Norm recalled.

For a woman named Dorothy, it was love at first sight.

Norm Case: The first time she saw me-- 'that's the guy I'm going to marry.'

Joe Carroll: Really?

Norm Case: Yes.

Dorothy's parents didn't mind her marrying a blind man. They thought Norm was a smart man. It didn't hurt that he came from a prominent family; his dad was the governor of Rhode Island. Norm came back to Bethel and started a law practice. He totally involved himself in the community, becoming town clerk and treasurer and working in his law office above a bank. Dorothy was his chauffeur and first secretary. They raised three children. Dorothy died in 1989.

His friend and neighbor Carroll Ketchum has known him for years.

"I've never heard him complain, 'I wish I could see, wish I could do this, I wish I could do that.' Never heard him say it once," Ketchum said.

After retiring from being a lawyer, Norm stayed in Bethel. But in late August of 2011, his life changed in an instant.

"Irene flooded my cellar in Bethel and flooded the furnace and tore out the water heater," he said.

An event a younger, sighted person could bounce back from.

"I planned to die in the house," Norm said.

But it was time for Norm to be closer to his kids in Chittenden County. He now lives in a senior living facility in South Burlington. He keeps his mind active listening to emails and books. He hasn't lost his thirst for knowledge.

"I wanted to be an example to other blind people," Norm said.

A man who has a clear vision on how everyone should live their life.

Norm never ran for the Legislature. He wishes he gave that a try.

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