William A. Norton, 89, of Marissa, Illinois, born December 6, 1925 in Indianapolis, Indiana, passed away August 13, 2015 at Sparta Community Hospital, Sparta Il.
William married Isabel Remy December 28, 1946 in Indianapolis and they moved to Marissa, Illinois in 1948. She preceded him in death in 1996 after a strong and loving 50-year marriage. He married Louise Bourbonnais Fredette in 1997 and they enjoyed loving companionship until her death in 2008.
Mr. Norton was also preceded in death by his parents, Raymond C. and Caroline Brown Norton, a sister, Mary Jane Norton Bayles, and infant twins.
William was a gentleman of simple dignity. His life is celebrated and his legacy continues through his survivors: His children who were blessed with his steadfast love, abiding support, and nurturing nature – daughter Isabel Norton Ososki and son-in-law Edward; son William Charles Norton and daughter-in-law Cathy; daughter Nancy Norton Wagner and son-in-law Donald. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren with whom he had strong and loving relationships: Matthew William Wagner and children Mary Cailin and Ava Isabel; Andrew Remy Norton and wife Christine; Ryan William Norton, wife Molly and son Calvin Reed; Raymond Michael Wagner, wife Kara and children Norah Caroline, Holden Rhodes, and Liza Anne; Jonathan Edwin Norton, wife Amy and expectant baby, and Christian Edward Wagner. He is also survived and loved by his nephew William Bayles, wife Karen and family.
All who came in contact with William were influenced by his unassuming sense of values, deep and abiding faith, civic pride, patriotism, compassion for others, and a deep sense of responsibility, especially to youth. He lived out those values through serving his country as a WWII Army Air Force veteran, his long time involvement in the Boy Scouts or America at both a local, council, and national level, his participation in numerous civic organizations, and his long and varied service to the First United Methodist Church of Marissa. His encouragement, generosity, and mentoring through both his volunteer and professional activities often helped others to reach high potentials and levels of success.
Mr. Norton had a long and significant history of service with the Boy Scouts of America and he lived his life in accordance with the words of the Scout Oath. William started as a youth member of the BSA and had nearly 80 years of continuous membership and service to that organization. He received a 75-year Scouting Veteran Award in 2011. He was an Eagle Scout and a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award – the highest honor awarded to a volunteer member. At the local level he served as Scoutmaster and Explorer advisor for more than 25 years and impacted more than 1000 youth from the Village of Marissa – many reaching the rank of Eagle scout themselves. Many of his past scouts have stayed in touch with him and praise his influence in their lives and achievements. William served in many capacities for the Council Board including, president, treasurer, and national delegate. At the time of his death, he was still a member of the Executive Board of the Lewis and Clark Council.
William was the oldest and longest active member of the Marissa Robert F. Arnold American Legion Post 172 with over 70 continuous years of service to that organization and he was honored in 2014 as the oldest and longest active member. William was a charter member of the Marissa Recreational Area Association and was active as a past president of the association and in many other leadership capacities. He served as a youth baseball coach and board member of the Khoury League. He was a 50-year member of the Marissa Lions Club. In 2012 William was the recipient of the Marissa Valuable Person (MVP) Award from the Marissa Chamber of Commerce.
William enjoyed a variety of recreational activities and loved the companionship of friends and family on the golf course. His good humor and consistent play made him a sought-after partner in tournaments and as a teacher of the game to his grandsons. He was a prior club champion at the Marissa Golf Course and was a prior Southern Illinois Golf Association senior champion.
Upon receipt of his honorable discharge from the Army Air Force, William attended Butler University and then joined his father in the development of Mid-Continent Coal Corp. as the business manager of Green Diamond mine in Marissa. He later began a career in the finance and banking industry, serving as Vice President and Treasurer and on the Board of Directors of First Federal Savings and Loan (later Charter Bank) of Sparta until the time of his retirement.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, Marissa, Marissa Recreational Area Association, or the Lewis and Clark Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Visitation: Friends may call at the First United Methodist Church in Marissa, IL on Monday, August 17, 2015 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm and on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 from 9:00am to 11:00am.
Funeral: Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Marissa, IL on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 11:00am with Rev. Dr. Donald Wagner officiating.
Interment: Burial will be held at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, IN on Wednesday, August 19, 2015.
To the Norton Family,
My sincere condolences in the passing of your father. He was always so kind to me and my family..and was such a gentle man. Know that you are in my prayers, as his he. May God grant you His peace.
Posted by: Cathy Flowers – Annandale, VA Aug 13, 2015
Bill, we are so very sorry to read of Papa Tune’s passing. He was such a great person to be with whether it be golf, euchre, or just sitting and reminiscing. He truly improved the room wherever he entered and the world is a lesser place without him. You all are in our prayers. May God bless you and comfort you always.
Posted by: Terry and Sparky Beggs – Port Charlotte, FL – Friends Aug 14, 2015
I met up with Mr. Norton again in the late 90’s at Camp Joy Boy Scout Camp where I ran the Trading Post and taught Eagle Scout Classes……we had a few laughs…especially when he discovered that I had taught his grandsons!…. Great person…great friend…..condolences to all.
Posted by: Claudia Kerens – Sparta, IL – Boy Scout Fri Aug 15, 2015
I grew up in Marissa and was a Scout in the troop of which Bill was the Scoutmaster. Both my brother, Dave, and myself became Eagle Scouts under his excellent direction and guidance.
What a wonderful guy! He was like a father to me.
Posted by: Coba C. Craig – Lexington, KY – one of his Eagle Scouts Aug 15, 2015
My deepest sympathy to the entire Norton family. Wonderful man, wonderful family. May God be with each and everyone of you.
Posted by: Kaern Shubert Akers – Beckemeyer, IL – friend Aug 16, 2015
I have had the honor of hearing what a wonderful man “Uncle Bill” was and the impact he had on his family and loved ones. Lots of love and thoughts of comfort to the Norton, Wagner, and Ososki families during this difficult time. xoxo
Posted by: Sara Bayles – CA Aug 17, 2015
I was the Pastor of Marissa Fist United Methodist Church from 1973-1977. It was my first full time appointment after graduation from Asbury Theological Seminary in May of 1973, and Bill was the Chairperson of the Pastor-Parish Relationships Committee. I still remember meeting him for the first time when he drove by the evening I moved into the parsonage to introduce himself.
Posted by: The Rev. R. David Reynolds – Marion, IL – Former Pastor at Marissa 1st UMC Sep 13, 2015