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Lanny Norris retires after nearly 42 years

“I want my life to count for something,” Lanny Norris said as he contemplated what his impending retirement holds for his future.

Both of his parents have had long lives, and the 68-year-old insurance agent is approaching retirement in good health and said he is looking forward to what this new season will bring.

“If I have another 30 years left, I don’t want to spend it just doing yard work and golfing,” Norris said. “I want to do something meaningful.”

The last almost 42 years of his life have certainly held meaning for the residents of Russellville, who Norris insured through State Farm. What started as just a handful of policies in August 1977 has grown into an agency covering 2,200 households.

“For a town this size, that’s a big agency. They won’t be able to give it all to Rhett,” Norris said.

Rhett Bradford is filling in the agent spot Norris will be vacating Jan. 31. Norris said Bradford has been through months of training – the last of which he has spent with an agent in Decatur.

“I think he’ll be conscientious and do everything he can to be successful,” Norris said. “I hope he is successful and takes care of what I am leaving behind.”

The clients will be divided up between Bradford, agent Lee Nickels and agent Diana Lockmiller. “If I’m sad about anything, it’s that I’ll miss all of the people and that it’s being divided up and not being left as one big, happy family,” Norris said.

Family is important to Norris, and his family has left a legacy in Russellville even though none of his children and grandchildren live in Franklin County. Three generations of Norris boys have been a part of the Russellville City School system, as far back as 1927. Norris spent his junior high school years in the same buildings – gym and all – where his dad spent his 10th through 12th grade years. His son went on to play ball for RCS – although on a different campus – like his dad and granddad before him.

“It’s been a great legacy to be a part of, and it’s kind of sad that it’ll end,” he said.

But the memory of his years and work in Russellville will be remembered, which is something that has become apparent to Norris recently because of people who have contacted him regarding his upcoming retirement.

“It’s heartwarming to know all the time you spent trying to help people and go the extra mile was appreciated,” he said.

Going the extra mile and treating people the way he wants to be treated have been mottos for Norris and the way he has run his office.

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