LA GRANGE PARK, Illinois
Norman Alois Ulrich, 95, of La Grange Park, Illinois, died Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.
Born Dec. 15, 1920, in Berwyn, Illinois, he grew up in Western Springs, Illinois. He was second of six children. He met his Ella May Newkirk in Seymour during World War II, and they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Nov. 3, 2015.
He attended St. John’s Lutheran School and St. John’s Lutheran Church in La Grange. Family and Christian education were always important parts of his life.
While a student at Lyons Township High School, he was given his own art studio. He later was awarded a national scholarship by Walt Disney Co. to its Chicago-based art school.
He took flying lessons in Lockport, Illinois, and received his pilot’s license.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew over Germany in the 95th Bombardment Group. He was shot down on May 29, 1944, and sent to Stalag Luft III.
In 1945, the coldest winter on record, those in Stalag Luft III endured forced-marches ending in Mooseburg, Germany.
On April 29, 1945, Ulrich was liberated with other prisoners by General George S. Patton. He was promoted to first lieutenant, awarded a Purple Heart and received a Prisoner of War medal.
Following the war, Ulrich was hired as an advertising artist by Chicago-based R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co, and the category of ‘pizza’ was added to the Yellow Pages at his suggestion.
After working as designer and creative director with another Chicago advertising firm, Ulrich left to begin his own company Norm Ulrich Studios, in 1952 in Oak Park, Illinois.
The advertising art and photography firm did advertising work for Armour and Co., Swift and Co., Dial Soap, Mars Candy, Apian Way Pizza and St. Charles Kitchens, among others.
In 1962, Ulrich was elected president of The Art Directors Club of Chicago, where he served two terms. In 1965, he became president of the National Society of Art Directors and chairman of the society’s international relations committee, a membership organization of the International Organization of Graphic Arts Councils. During this term, Ulrich represented the United States at an international convention in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, when judges voted for the universal symbols which are now used to identify street crossings, school zones, bathrooms and other similar places throughout the world.
From 1970 to 1980, Ulrich designed Christmas seals and church banners for Wheat Ridge Ministries, an evangelical Lutheran organization, in St. Louis. In 1979, Ulrich was hired by TRW INC., an American corporation involved with aerospace and automotive development.
In 2007, Ulrich was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by U.S. Air Force JROTC chapter IL-961, and in 2009, he was voted into the Lyons Township High School Hall of Fame for his achievements.
Norman A. Ulrich worked hard, enjoyed his family, used his gifts to help others and gave God the glory for his talents.
Survivors include the couple’s three children, Pamella May (Bruce) Christensen, Penelope Maureen (Phillip) Stickney and Kurt (Nancy Pantke Ulrich) Norman; 10 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.
The funeral service will be today at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour where he met his wife, Ella May Newkirk, while flight training during World War II at what was then known as Freeman Army Airfield. Interment will follow.
Memorials may be given to St. John’s Lutheran School, La Grange, Illinois.