Ralph Norton, a retired sawmill worker, died of cancer Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, Ore. He was 97.
He was born June 19, 1920 in Morrowtown, Idaho to Alphia and Vivian Junkin Norton. He attended school at Morrowtown and then Craigmont for high school.
He was in the Army from Jan. 21, 1943 to Nov. 24, 1945 when he was honorably discharged. He was a Technician Fifth Grade for Battery B Antiaircraft Gun Battalion. His occupation in the military was a Welder Combination 256.
Ralph married Beverly “Wallace” Fabian on Sept. 19, 1953 in Oakland, Calif. Ralph gained two sons, Tom and Richard, with the marriage and then they had two more sons, George and Ralph.
Ralph and his wife owned and operated a dairy in California for seven years until they moved back to Idaho where he was a sawmill worker and also drove forklift in the shipping department until he retired in 1982. During his “retirement” he worked for the Forest Service doing various maintenance duties for 11 years before completely retiring, and then later moved to Heppner.
He loved fishing, gardening, woodworking, camping, playing cards, and especially playing cribbage. He was an avid bowler for many years. He also loved spending time with his family and friends. He loved to tell endless stories, (often sports related) from his life that we all have enjoyed.
Survivors include his wife Beverly Norton at their Heppner residence; three sons, Richard Norton and wife Rita of Missoula, George Norton and wife Trudy of Boise, Ralph Norton and wife Tami of Enterprise; daughter-in-law Pam Norton; 14 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by son and daughter-in-law Tom and Sue Norton, parents Alphia and Vivian Norton, his brothers Ray, Homer, and Mike Norton, his sisters Hazel Gray and Alta Clute, and his great-granddaughter Emily Koltonski.
A memorial service will be held on April 21 at 3 p.m. at Morrow County Fairgrounds. Friends and family are invited to attend with a light meal being served following the service.
Memorial contributions can be made in Ralph’s name to Willow Creek Terrace Assisted Living or Pioneer Memorial Hospice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Sweeney Mortuary in Heppner.