man Wayne Stiles
Norman Wayne Stiles, “Norm” was born to Lloyd and Josephine McClemore in Bastrop, Louisiana on July 12, 1935; he died December 16, 2021 in Koh Samui, Thailand.
Norm’s childhood was filled with movement from various places until his family settled in Alaska in 1943. Norm was raised by stepfather Charles “Chuck” Stiles, whose name Norm adopted and carried proudly. Early on, Norm’s grandmother Elizabeth Eldridge played a role in Norm’s upbringing providing discipline and life teachings.
Norm attended school until he was in eighth grade. At 17, Norm joined the United States Navy, he was honorably discharged in 1957. Norm moved back to Alaska and met his wife Mary Lou. They had two children Josephine and Donald.
He took up skydiving and recorded over 30 jumps.
Norm homesteaded with his family near Wasilla, a place now called Settler’s Bay. In 1972 Norm found a home in his wife’s hometown of Unalakleet and moved his family there. Norm built and opened the Igloo Theatre and Cafe, with his wife Mary Lou, and partner, (Mary Lou’s uncle) Henry Nashalook. While Mary Lou and “Uncle Henry” managed the theater, Norm worked at various locations around Alaska, helping build schools as a plumber, a trade he utilized for his own businesses for over 50 years. While in Unalakleet, Norm established friendships that he would cherish for the rest of his life. He enjoyed fishing, camping, snowmobiling, hunting and events involving community.
In 1979 Norm partnered with John Knox and purchased the Polaris Hotel in Nome. Norm would build a business that would help change the face of Nome. Norm’s business timing and knowledge was uncanny and intuitive. Norm respected hard work, and loyalty and returned respect and loyalty to his friends, colleagues and employees. Norm had a charisma and patience that endeared people to him. His success opened the doors for ventures in crabbing, halibut fishing, tendering, and oil spill response. Norm invested in offshore gold leases and began operating one of the first modern-day suction dredges.
Norm was competitive, both in business and friendly competition. Norm’s competitive nature drove him to succeed. He established long-time friendships within the business community in Nome and throughout Alaska and shared his success with others. Norm sponsored recreational basketball, softball, and other events and enjoyed the company of the people who competed and played. He was proud of his sponsorship of the Polaris Women’s Basketball team who won several Lonnie O’Connor Iditarod Basketball Classic Championships over three decades.
After Norm’s first wife died in 2004, Norm retired to Koh Samui, Thailand and married Jaruwan “Em.” Em added peace to Norm’s otherwise restless life. Norm and Em welcomed and hosted many friends and family from Alaska to their home in Thailand over the years, sharing good times and the beautiful place he chose to retire and live.
Norm is preceded in death by his first wife Mary Lou, parents Lloyd and Josephine and stepfather Charles Stiles and his wife Shirley Stiles, sisters Charlotte (Stiles), Pamela (McClemore) and great grandson Rylan Lewis.
Norm is survived by his wife Jaruwan “Em” Stiles, sisters Melody (Stiles), Cheryl (Stiles) and Marilee (Stiles), daughter Josephine and her children Kallie and Katie, son Donald and his companion Stephanie Luke and their children Thurston, Cameron, Hilary and Raechel, and five great grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be announced and held this summer.