Chief John P. Norris Jr. was dedicated to the service and protection of others. John joined the Houston Fire Department in April of 1990, where he served as a paramedic and airport rescue firefighter. He retired from the Houston Fire Department in July of 2022. Along with his wife, Wendy Norris, he joined the Forest Bend Fire Department in May of 2005, where he has served as a wildland firefighter, safety officer, assistant chief, and chief.
In the early morning hours of November 25, 2023, shortly after battling a mutual aid structure fire, Chief Norris collapsed and died.
John was more than just a firefighter. He was a mentor, a leader, and a source of inspiration to others. John was stoic and a deep thinker. That personality often came off, as we jokingly liked to say, as gruff. Sometimes it was hard to know whether he was serious about an issue or if he was joking. Through the gruff exterior, John was a deeply compassionate man who loved his fire family and absolutely adored his family, especially his daughter, Catherine. She was his greatest joy, and being a father was his favorite title.
In the face of tragedy, we are reminded of the incredible bravery and sacrifice exhibited by our first responders every day. John will forever remain a symbol of heroism, dedication, selflessness, and compassion. It was his hope that his daughter would forever see him as a loyal, fiercely protective, and loving father who was deeply proud of her and that his memory would continue to inspire future generations of firefighters to serve with the same unwavering dedication and courage.
John leaves behind a legacy of courage, dedication, and unwavering commitment that will remain in the hearts and minds of those who knew him. His memory will also be cherished by his firefighting family, the brave men and women who served alongside John, and the community he protected.