F. Norris Pike, 65

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 9:15pm

F. Norris Pike, 65, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, surrounded by loved ones.

Norris was born Oct. 23, 1952 to the late Harold S. and Claire S. Pike of Block Island. Following his early years in school on Block Island and in Narragansett, Norris earned a degree from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon completing his studies at Wentworth, he returned to his ancestral home to begin building his construction business, Norris Pike Design Build, and his skill as a craftsman.

A direct descendant of one of Block Island’s original settlers, Trustrum Dodge, Norris always pursued what was “best for Block Island.” He was a dedicated public servant, but never considered himself a “Politician,” rather he strove to be a “Statesman,” putting the best interests of the island before all else. From his early service on the Planning Board and Town Council, to which he was first elected in 1980, and where he brought the “moped wars” to a head, proposing Block Island secede from the State, to his more recent service as the Town’s Second Warden, strongly advocating for the Wind Farm and cable, and restructuring the power company to a ratepayer owned and controlled utility, Norris’ accomplishments on behalf of his town are many.

Norris often followed the lead of his Dodge forebears, some of whom were ship pilots, using that same skill to navigate the halls of governance and paths of business, with an instinctive knowledge of which shoal to avoid and which to press on across. His love for the sea was a lifelong passion, and he often could be found cruising New Harbor in his prized skiff, the Alvin E. (or working tirelessly to keep her afloat).

Norris was a family man, a dedicated father and grandfather, with his former wife Nancy Devine Pike, raising two children on Block Island, a daughter, Dr. Lily Mulvaney Pike, and a son, attorney Harold Winfield Pike: children in whose accomplishments he took joyful pride.

His sense of humor and quick wit were unrivaled, as was his uncanny ability to conjure up a spot-on impression of old friends or the many island “characters” he befriended and memorialized. He showed his love for others often through his humor, and could quickly calm the tide of a brewing argument with one light but direct quip. He always left you laughing and feeling lighter in spirit, often bringing the light in by reminding people of the funny impermanence of life. 

A true New Englander, Norris believed in the value of hard work and in speaking one’s mind. He was a master craftsman and homebuilder, leaving his artistic mark in the many fine homes he built. He was a role model for countless young people who joined one of his construction crews, occasionally lost in the storm of life and in need of a guiding light. He was a stable force for many, and always able to sense the need to sit someone down and impart his wisdom to them, which was accepted as the gift that it was.

Norris loved to travel and was able to spend the last decade of his life traveling across the country with his loving wife, Susan Mott Pike. They enjoyed many trips together, sunset harbor cruises, weekend hikes, afternoon drives (and singalongs), and the love that they both so obviously held for each other.

Norris displayed fortitude which amazed even those who have always known him, working and traveling even during the last months of battling the illness which took his life.

He is survived by his daughter, Dr. Lily Pike, son-in-law Dr. Zachary Harnett, cherished grandson, Jonah Harnett, and son, attorney Harry Pike, all of Providence and Block Island; and his loving wife, Susan Mott Pike. He is also survived by a brother, Frederick Pike.

All are invited to celebrate the life of Norris Pike at the Harbor Church at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. Following interment at the Island Cemetery, the celebration will continue at Kimberly’s. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to B.I. Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Box 781, Block Island, R.I. 02807, or Hope Hospice & Palliative Care, 1085 North Main St., Providence, R.I. 02904.