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Queens Chronicle

Latimer descendant dies

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:30 am

Winifred Norman, the granddaughter of Flushing inventor Lewis Latimer, died in Manhattan on Feb. 4. She was 99.

Norman grew up in Flushing. Her grandfather, the son of runaway slaves, invented a process for making carbon filaments for light bulbs. His work for Edison helped make electric lights practical.

Norman was a graduate of Flushing High School, Jamaica Training College and Hunter College. She earned her master’s degrees from NYU and an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. She became a social worker and moved to Manhattan.

Latimer’s house on Holly Avenue was built around 1887 and he and his family lived there from 1908 until his death in 1928. Plans to move the residence and restore it as a museum were Norman’s dream and she worked toward that goal for many years. The house was moved in 1988 to 137th Street and eventually restored.

Ken Cohen, active with the Latimer House, said Norman left a legacy in Flushing: “She will be sorely missed.”

Funeral plans are pending.

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