Robert Victor Norton was born April 16, 1935 in Los Angeles, California, the son of Helen Coomber Norton and James C. Norton, Jr. He attended school in both southern and northern California before graduating in 1952 from Lake Oswego High School’s first-ever graduating class. He won the Oregon State High School Boys’ Singles Championship as a senior in 1952, and was selected to the U.S. Junior Olympic Tennis team.

Bob enrolled at Stanford University later in 1952, where he played on the university’s tennis team and joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He graduated from Stanford in 1956 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Engineering. He also joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1952, achieving the rank of Private First Class, before he was honorably discharged in 1960.

Bob met his future wife, Marianne Craft, while at Stanford. They were united in marriage at Zion Lutheran Church in Hudson, Iowa on August, 7, 1956. They were married for 61 happy years; during this time they were blessed with three children: Kurt, Helen, and Rolf.

After their wedding, Bob and Marianne lived briefly in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts; Petersburg, Virginia; Duluth, Minnesota; Corvallis, Oregon; Moses Lake, Washington; and Westfield, New Jersey before settling down in the Seattle area in 1965.

Bob and Marianne lived in the Seattle are for nearly 25 years, where Bob served a term on the Mercer Island City Council and where Bob and Marianne were active in environmental and related causes, and active members of Pilgrim Lutheran Church. Bob worked as an engineer in the telecommunications industry throughout his career, and retired from Qwest in 1989.

Bob and Marianne then moved to Bluffton, Iowa in 1989, where they continued to operate the Craft’s Inc. farm started by Marianne’s parents (Vaughn and Margaret Craft). Bob and Marianne raised guard donkeys along with Jacob’s sheep, a rare breed notable for its distinctive fleece and gentle temperament. They were active members of Hauge Lutheran Church, as well as of the Jacob Sheep Breeders’ Association and the Council of Spotted Asses. They were also loyal and enthusiastic fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the Minnesota Vikings.

Bob died on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, at age 82. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother James C. Norton III.

Bob was a kind and loving husband, father, and grandfather, with a sharp mind and a wonderful sense of humor. He is survived by his wife Marianne; his three children, Rolf, Helen, and Kurt; and his grandsons Victor and Gabrio.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Barthell Eastern Star Home, 911 Ridgewood Drive, Decorah, IA 52101.

Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family.

Online condolences may be made at

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