Amherst Magazine

imageJOHN "JACK" NORTON (1936-1979)

Jack Norton was a member of Chi Psi and sang in the Glee Club. He loved sports, managed the basketball team and was president of the Managerial Association. John Davenport especially recalls his great enthusiasm for the basketball position. Jack was quiet and soft-spoken, agree Bill Hannemann and Charlie Patterson. Bill says he always “had a smile on his face and was very pleasant to be around.” Charlie remembers his “wry sense of humor and very pleasant disposition.”

Following Amherst, Jack joined the United States Navy. He was commissioned an officer, served in the Western Pacific and was then stationed in San Diego. He met Jacqueline (“Jaci”) at the Officers Club there. They were married in a military wedding in 1962 shortly before he got out of the Navy.

Jack began his career in banking but demonstrated talent in the emerging area of computers and eventually joined Honeywell in San Diego as a systems analyst. As his expertise grew, he was transferred to Phoenix in 1971. where he spent the rest of his life.

Jack was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease in 1970, and for almost a decade illness, radiation, and chemotherapy were major parts of his life. “That sounds worse than it was,” Jaci remembers, “because he had weeks or months at a time when he felt OK and was able to work (at Honeywell) and enjoy being a dad to our two boys. I am very grateful for the time he had with them. It made all our lives more ‘normal’.” Following Jack’s death in 1979, the family moved back to San Diego, where Jaci’s parents lived. “I wanted the boys to have the support of family – grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Scott was finishing high school. Jeff was just beginning. Scott went to college locally, Jeff in Santa Barbara.”

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Jaci taught kindergarten and first grade. Now retired, she keeps busy teaching music in a private preschool and singing in four choral groups. These include two church choirs, the Pacific Academy of Ecclesiastical Music (PACEM) choir and the San Diego Choral Arts Ensemble. In the last six years the latter has traveled to seven European countries, singing in churches, cathedrals and castles. “It’s more fun than you can imagine! I like to sing, sew, shop and read. I’m a big Harry Potter fan!”

Scott owned his own computer consulting service for a while and now works for Allianz at Nicholas Applegate. Jeff got his masters degree and is with Hewlett Packard. Scott and wife Kim have a 2-year-old daughter, Noelani Grace. Jeff and wife Nicole have 8-year-old Nathaniel William, 4-year-old Trenten Jack and 2-year-old Anjolie Paige.

“Both of my boys still love sports, like their dad,” Jaci says. “They live only blocks apart and 15 minutes from me. Nathaniel asks questions about Jack, so I know he and Jeff talk about him. ‘Does he live in heaven with God?’ he asked at age 3. ‘What kinds of sports did he like?’ ‘Was he tall?’ ‘What did he look like?’ ‘Did he like to go camping?’ ‘Did he really eat peanut butter and catsup (or marshmallow fluff) sandwiches?’ Trenten Jack was named for him. And Jeff was named for Lord Jeffrey Amherst.”

The picture of Jack and Jeff (in his All Star uniform) was taken shortly before Jack died. Now Jeff umpires some of the All Star games in San Diego County. “Nate and Trent have big shoes to fill!”

John Bradley Norton died as a result of Hodgkin’s Disease in Phoenix, Sept. 12, 1979.

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Jack and Jeff (named for Lord Jeffrey Amherst) in Phoenix, 1978
 

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