William Gardner Norton: March 23, 1930 – Oct. 31, 2018



William Gardner Norton, 88, returned to his heavenly home on Oct. 31, 2018 after a valiant battle with cancer.

His devotion to his family and his firm belief in God supported him in his struggle and ultimately gave him peace.

He was immersed in the Christian community and this would be his life-long support at a very early age. He is dearly missed by his loved ones, who celebrate the fact that he is at peace with his Creator. Bill will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor and his dedication to his family.

Bill was blessed with a very loving family. He married his best friend, Dolores Elaine Fairchild, in 1958. He was a devoted father to Debra (Jim) Latimer of Moses Lake, Wash., and Judy (Rob Sebo) Norton of Oak Harbor.

He is survived by his grandchildren Jeremy (Marie) Wehmeyer, Nathan (Jill) Wehmeyer and Olivia Meyer along with numerous great-grandchildren and nephew Robert Van Slyke and niece Lori Van Slyke. He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. L.P. and Madge Norton and his sister Florence Van Slyke.

Bill was born March 23, 1930 in Tacoma to Dr. L.P. and Madge Norton. In 1949, he graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma. He attended the College of Puget Sound and the University of Washington. Throughout college he worked at Western State Hospital.

Bill served in the U.S. Air Force. While based in Germany, he served with the 604th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron, Freising, Germany. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Occupation Medal of Germany.

Upon his return home from military service, he began working for the Washington State Patrol. His commissioned first assignment was in North Bend, then Cle Elum, where he spent 11 years patrolling Snoqualmie Pass. In 1968, he became one of 25 safety education officers for Washington state.

Bill was promoted to sergeant in 1974 commanding the Mount Vernon Detachment until 1979.

He then transferred to Oak Harbor, remaining there until his retirement in 1984.

Bill became a Free Mason in 1952 and proudly served for the rest of his life. His Masonic degrees were taken in a bombed out German lodge in Stuttgart. In 1966, he became master of Cle Elum Blue Lodge and proudly holds a lifetime membership of the Royal Arch Masons. Bill was active in the Nile Shrine, performing in the Truckers unit and serving as a member of the Jesters. He was one of the founders and charter president of the Yuma Foothills Shrine Club, president of the Whidbey Shrine Club, and active in Rotary.

Following retirement, Bill served as the Island County Emergency Service director. He was awarded “Rookie of the Year.” In 1990, he was elected Island County sheriff serving until 1994. Bill was one of the founders of the “Save Our Kids” program. He established the first work release program in the county.

Church membership has been fundamental to Bill and Dee Norton. They have served as active members of a Christian church in every community in which they lived.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 8, 2018 at Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church. The Rev. David Parker will officiate with a reception to follow in Centennial Hall. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Bill’s life. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity.

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