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Sociology professor of 35 years Dr. Norman Layne died on June 27


Dr. Norman R. Layne Jr., 66, passed away suddenly on June 27, 2012. He was a member of UNC Pembroke Sociology and Criminal Justice Department for 35 years.

A Fayetteville resident, Dr. Layne was born in Burbank, Calif. The son of an Air Force officer, he grew up in many different states and Canada.

While enrolled at the University of Georgia, Dr. Layne was drafted into the Army and served honorably for two years. Upon his honorable discharge, he continued at the University of Georgia and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees and doctorate in sociology.

Dr. Layne taught sociology at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for two years. He began teaching sociology at UNC Pembroke in 1977 and was on the faculty at the time of his death. Some longtime colleagues and friends at the university shared their thoughts.

“I met Dr. Norman Layne in 1979 when I first arrived at the university,” said Dr. John Bowman, a faculty member of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department. “Dr. Layne was a dedicated faculty member who taught and created much of the curriculum in the fields of medical sociology and substance abuse. Dr. Layne not only taught these subjects, he also did consulting and grant work in the community to improve the lives of local people. I considered Dr. Layne not only a colleague, but a personal friend, and he will be dearly missed.”

Dr. Steve Marson, a faculty member in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, remembered a long-time friend.

“We accepted our faculty positions the same year, and he immediately asked me to call him by his nickname – Renny,” Dr. Marson said. “That’s how I knew him and will remember him! Our first shared academic task was to establish a protocol for grading term papers within the department. By today’s standards, it would be called unsophisticated. However, that cannot the description of how the protocol has evolved in today’s academic world. Renny was the most well-organized faculty member I have known. In addition, he had high expectations for his students. The department will not be the same without him.”

Dr. Layne also worked as a program consultant for the past 18 years at various programs, including the WISH and Cascade programs and the Day by Day Treatment Center.

Dr. Layne is survived by his wife, Christina, two daughters, Wendy Layne and Sara Layne Coble; son-in-law, Christopher Coble; granddaughter, Madelyn Coble. He also is survived by his stepchildren, Mark Blashfield, Matt Blashfield and wife, Stacey Blashfield.