Champ's obituary made me cry.  I happened upon the obituary for Norman V. Inferrera III last night and the utter sadness I felt reading it made me emotional.  I had no choice -- I'm a parent.

Norman Inferrara, nicknamed "Champ" by his family, was the 16-year old Cape May lifeguard who died on Friday after his training boat flipped over, knocking him unconscious. Just like so many, I have been deeply touched by this tragedy.

Reading the obituary, I felt the expected sadness at the realization that a promising, young man had lost his life just as it was getting started. But, there was also a more subtle anguish of a parent grieving by association.

This could be my child. How could I even bear to go on if this had happened to my child?

The Inferrera family's obituary for their fallen child shows they are trying to deal with that pain by reflecting with their great pride for their Champ.

Norman V. "Champ" Inferrera III, age 16, of Phoenixville, PA, passed away on Friday, August 20, 2021 in Cooper University Medical Center following a tragic accident while patrolling the shores of Cape May as a lifeguard.


Champ was set to begin his Junior year at the Phoenixville Area High School, where he excelled in his studies and had already begun receiving college offers. With a philosophical approach, he engaged in his classes and was an invested thinker and listener. He had aspirations of majoring in mechanical engineering, just as his father and grandfather had done.

Champ was living a life-long dream this summer by working as a lifeguard for the Cape May Beach Patrol. He tirelessly trained to better himself and build up his strength. He followed a strict workout regiment, ate a proper healthy diet, and measured his calories to match his workout routines. He had a determined and disciplined spirit and constantly challenged himself to be the best he could possibly be. He enjoyed biking and fitness, and was learning to surf this summer.



New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has ordered all U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff Friday in honor of Champ.

“Norman’s passing at such a young age is a devastating loss for his family, the Cape May community, and our state. As a lifeguard, Norman took on a special responsibility to help others and that is what he was doing when he was tragically fatally injured. We will forever be grateful to him for his selfless service to the people of Cape May.”

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