Mary Norton of Madison WI, age 77, died on September 13, 2017 in St. Paul, MN from congestive heart failure. She was born on February 7, 1940 in Detroit, MI, the oldest of three daughters of John Comstock and Jane (Edwards) Norton. Her childhood was spent in Traverse City, MI where she and her family enjoyed sailing, skiing, canoeing, and looking for Petoskey stones on Lake Michigan beaches. She graduated from Central High School in 1958 and the next year enrolled in Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She always considered her four years at Carleton among
the best years of her life. She loved the intellectual challenges it provided and cherished the close friendships with other students and faculty, some of which continued all her life.
Mary decided to become a social worker at age 12. Jane Addams and her Grandfather, William J. Norton, both social workers, were her role models. She received her MA degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago in 1964 and over the next 30 years she worked in a variety of agencies including a counseling organization, a senior center, a county planning office, the Veterans Hospital, and the Geriatric Clinic at the University of Wisconsin
Hospital, both in Madison. She co-authored a book titled "Coping with Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementing Illnesses." She always felt very privileged to work with clients from all walks of life and was grateful for the lessons they taught her.
Her family was always of utmost importance to her. She was very proud of her three children, Mark, Laura, and Brian, and she adored her six grandchildren: Caitlin, Julia, and Hannah, the children of Mark and his wife Sheila of Pelham NY; Josip and Claire, children of Laura and her husband Mike of St. Paul; Skylar, daughter of Brian of St. Paul. Her two younger sisters survive her: Sarah Norton and her husband Joseph of Vermont, and Betsy and her husband Mark and their two children Kathy and Johnny of Chicago. Other family includes an aunt, cousins, and nieces and nephews. She had a wide circle of close friends which held regular scrabble nights, book clubs and lunches out.
She loved blizzards, the haunting call of the loon, gardening, reading, bird watching,
weaving, nature, the first call of the wren in spring, paddling a birch bark canoe, visiting Whitehead Island in Maine, researching family genealogy, and eating lobster. Her hopes for the world: peace, sufficient food and high-quality education for everyone, and clean air and water shared equally. She will be dearly missed by family and friends who will keep her spirit alive. We are very grateful for the loving care she received at The Pillars Hospice in MN.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Odyssey Project of Madison, the Goodman Community Center, the Goodman South Library, Olbrich Gardens or the UW Arboretum. A memorial service has been planned for Sunday, May 27, 2018 at Olbrich Gardens in Madison at 2:00.
Published on September 24, 2017