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Howard W. Norton

Howard Wayne Norton passed away on July 3rd, 2020.

Howard was born on August, 4th 1928, at his family’s home at 113 Morrel Street, Otsego, MI, to Andrew and Imo (Newton) Norton.  Howard was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Raymond (Bernice) Norton, Merle (Virginia) Norton, Vera (Leonard) Earl, Lois (Ross) Jenkins, Paul Norton, Ruth Norton, and an infant daughter, Judy.

Howard is survived by his children Janet Norton and Steve Norton; grandchildren: Sarah (Mike) Isbrecht, Marie (John) Eagle, Lori (Clint) Lykken and Barbie Seekman; great-grandchildren: Emma, Ella, Taylor, Bryce and Dillen and several nieces and nephews. Survivors also include: Wife, Gwendolyn (Holden) Norton and her children: Allan (Debbie) Holden, Carolyn (Duane) VerHage, Wayne (Ruth) Holden, Kristine Kay Holden, Sharolyn (Bob) Bajo, Kathy Holden,  Mark (Lura) Holden, and Angela (Gary) Augustine, and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

If you considered yourself one of Howard’s friends, you won’t be surprised to learn that Hod had so many friends.  Howard treasured each and every one of you personally. He was a true reflection of Christ shining through his life.  Howard wasn’t perfect, but he set a goal to pattern his life after someone who is. Howard chose this goal from the testimony of the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 1:20, “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Howard dearly loved his Lord and he reflected that love to his children and stepchildren and especially to his wife, Gwen Norton.

Howard and my father, Curtis Holden, were best friends. Considering all the many friends Howard left behind, he had many more in Heaven. Thanks be to God, who gifted him with a wonderful and godly mother. One of Howard’s school teachers, Gladys Wyatt, loved to tell me stories about my father, Howard and Don Moore as young boys. She told me those three boys were inseparable! Each one of them only wore shoes during school hours!

Growing up, all three worked hard for the local farmers. Howard also worked in his teen years for his dear friend, another amazing man, Carl Holland, when he drove for Holland’s Dairy. Howard spent several years as a route driver, salesman and route supervisor, working for the Michigan Cottage Cheese Company in Otsego.  Howard dearly loved working in sales. I was privileged to work with him at Curtis Trailer Sales. Howard also loved selling for Boylan Buick and Don Seelye Ford. Howard spent several years at being self-employed and did much work for McPherson’s Plastics. He worked in excavation and construction.

Howard was a gifted carpenter. He loved all things mechanical, especially antique tractors. Howard loved local history and antiques in general, but especially farming antiques.  Whatever his job, for Howard, joy was found in all the people he met. Howard reflected Christ’s love for people, and Christ’s patience in long suffering and in hardships. Many times I saw Hod press on for love’s sake when I would have simply walked away.

Howard loved his children Janet and Steve and each of his grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was very proud of each one, in fact treasured them. Howard had a genius sense of humor! I couldn’t approach him without smiling! Howard also loved music, especially the great gospel hymns, and he was a gifted singer! One day I was with Howard and his son, my step-brother, Steve.  Howard was hard at work, struggling with a nearly impossible problem, when he said, “I give up!” I was at a loss for words. Steve reached deep within, finding words of wisdom, and blurted out, “You should give up!” God blessed us with a much-needed laugh! When I consider counting my many blessings, and naming them one by one, as the song says, Howard Norton and my Mother were always first on that list. Howard was a member of the greatest generation. Americans need to consider their devotion to and love for God, and for their country. Our loss is indeed Heaven’s gain! Did I hear the words “Well done, my good and faithful servant?”

A private, family-only funeral will be held Thursday, July 9th at the First Baptist Church of Otsego.

Interment will be at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego.

If desired, memorial contributions can be made to the First Baptist Church of Otsego,

Christian Neighbors


Rose Arbor Hospice

in Kalamazoo or a charity of your choice.

Messages of condolence may be posted at


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Condolence Messages

Doug Fritz

July 7, 2020 at 11:32 am

What a great guy… He loved the Lord, His family and his friends. He was a friend of my father Ward Fritz. He will be missed. I will see him in heaven.


Sharolyn Bajo

July 8, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Thanks Doug, He was a Great man!

Best Step Dad Ever ❤️


Kathie McMahon

July 7, 2020 at 1:52 pm

Uncle Howard was one of my favorite uncles. He was always so much fun. Lots of fond memories when his family visited Arizona when we first moved out here. We always had lots of fun together, going out for ice cream. He will be missed by many who are left behind, and I am sure he was greeted by many who have gone before.


Tim & Diane McPherson

July 7, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Our Sympathy to Gwen and the Norton Family,

Howard was one of a kind, and a long time friend. He made many trips to Indiana with Bud and his horses, built the best swing set for our kids and helped with many projects at McPherson Plastics. Howard had a great knack for telling a joke and he had lots of them. Peace be with you Howard


Diana Clason

July 7, 2020 at 4:56 pm

He was a wonderful friend to my family . A true friend to my father when he was injured.He will be gratefully missed by all that new him. We are sending hugs and prayers to all of the families.


Carol Watson

July 8, 2020 at 5:48 am

Howard was an amazing guy! My heart goes out to Aunt Gwen an your families! Sending you lots of hugs and prayers!


Dan Norton

July 8, 2020 at 8:08 am

My Uncle Howard was very special. He really cared for almost everyone and spent a lifetime helping others. Never a dull moment around Howard. Such a pleasure to be around. I’m so thankful that I was able to spend time with him recently. We send our condolences to Gwen and the rest of the Holden & Norton families. Thanks for the memories. See you in Heaven.


Lennie Borgman

July 8, 2020 at 5:13 pm

There are not to many men I respect more than Howard Norton. I got to really know him when he let me help him remodel our house. Some days were more stories than work. So funny! I learned a lot from Howard. He will certainly be missed. So glad I got to know him.


Joan Adams-Nelson

July 11, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Howard and I were in the same class in school, graduating in 1946. I remember him as a very quiet, reserved person but from all the “memories” I have read here evidently I didn’t know him very well. It makes me very sad to loose a school friend but I am sure he is in a better place.

To his family I am sorry for your loss. God be with you.


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