Even with a personality larger than life, Rodrick “Pete” Norwood was never too big to be your friend.
Norwood, 42, was an 18-year veteran and captain of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
He died Saturday at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City. The cause of death was not released.
Friends and co-workers said Norwood was quick to crack a joke and would usually be the first to laugh at it, always flashing his trademark smile.
Norwood joined the highway patrol in 1995, graduating with the 48th patrol class.
At the time of his death, Norwood was the Department of Public Safety's legislative liaison at the state Capitol.
“We are floored, everyone loved Pete,” trooper Betsy Randolph said. “He left a huge impression on us and a huge hole in our hearts.”
Norwood is survived by his wife and three children, two sons from a previous marriage and a stepdaughter.
Raised in Anadarko
Raised in Anadarko by his mother and grandmother after his father was killed in an accident while stationed in Germany, Norwood loved his hometown and was fiercely proud of his roots, friends said.
David Dorrough, 41, grew up with Norwood in Anadarko.
He said Norwood, or “Peterman” as most of the town knew him, was the typical All-American boy in high school, always the leader of the pack.
“He was a step above us,” Dorrough said. “He was class president, the leader of our group, a straight-A student, a star in every sport. He was the cliche that did everything, and he lit up the room while doing it.”
A star defensive back and quarterback for Anadarko High School, Norwood went to the University of Oklahoma and wound up playing football for the Sooners under coach Barry Switzer from 1989 to 1992.
Lots of friends
Ron Marvel, Norwood's high school football coach, said he never knew anyone who had a bad thing to say about Norwood. The two kept in touch even after Norwood's Warrior playing days ended.
“He only made friends and no enemies,” Marvel said. “I have a deep and lasting respect for Pete. Anyone that knew him lost a family member today.”
Dorrough said Norwood was the first of their friends to get a car in high school.
He remembers just driving around in circles in a maroon Cutlass just dreaming about the future and about “Peterman” playing for the Sooners.
“We would go and watch him practice at OU,” Dorrough said. “When he became a trooper and was stationed at the Capitol, he would show us around there, too. Even though he progressed real high in his career, he never got too big for Anadarko. He always had time for his friends.”