Ralph Leroy Norton, 79, of Rushville, died Sunday, January 19, 2014, at Rapid City Regional Hospital. He was born on the family homestead south of Rushville, May 12, 1934, to William Edgar and Mollie Ray Norton. As a young boy he lived on the homestead with his parents and grandmother Marguerite. He was joined by two younger sisters Ileen and Marilyn.
He attended Mill (country) School, south of Rushville on Pine Creek through the 8th grade, and then attended Rushville High School, graduating in May of 1952.
After graduating from high school he worked road construction before being drafted into the Army in 1956. Upon completion of his tour of duty in Germany he was discharged in 1958 and returned to Rushville where he worked for Strong Construction which included the construction of the Catholic Church.
While in the Army, he met Dorothy O’Donnell of Frederic, Wisconsin, who was the sister of one of his fellow service men. They were married April 18, 1960 in Mason City, Iowa, and to this union two children were born. Donna Jean was born September 1, 1962 and Rodney Dean was born January 16, 1964. The couple resided in Rushville for nearly 54 years.
He continued to work construction until 1966 when he went to work in sales at the Chevrolet Dealership. Ralph earned numerous Legion of Leaders Salesman Awards from Chevrolet over the years. At the end of 30 years and the close of the dealership, he went to work with and for Rod, his son, at the Hardware Store helping where needed until he officially retired in 2008.
He was a member of the Rushville Volunteer Fire Department for 30 years and the Rushville Volunteer Rescue Squad for 25 years. He served as a Reserve Officer for Sheridan County from 1977 until the time of his death. He was also an active member of the Highway 20 Classic Tractor Club where he was proud to display and drive his international Farmall “H” Tractor.
He enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing, or driving the countryside; be it was on a snowmobile, ATV, a tractor, or by four-wheel drive. He loved to hunt anything with family and friends. He loved to hunt geese with his brother-in-law Tom Kockrow or deer and doves with Dot or his grandkids. He enjoyed extracurricular events of his grandkids, whether it was football, volleyball, basketball, track or speech. He took great pleasure in playing cards with family and friends and/or just getting together to share stories.
He is survived by his wife Dorothy “Dot”, son Rod Norton, wife Jackie and daughter Donna Jech, husband Kevin of Rushville. He is also survived by his grandchildren Jessica Norton of Casper, WY and her two children Robert and Jayla, Alyssa Norton of Chadron, Tim Jech and wife Ashley of Cascade Locks, OR and their two children Piper and Tucker, Benjamin, Nathaniel, and Melissa Jech of Rushville. He is also survived by two sisters Ileen Rose of Valentine, and Marilyn Kockrow and husband Tom of Rushville and numerous nieces, nephews and very close friends.
Services were held Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:00am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, with Reverend Al Trucano and Father Joseph K. Joseph officiating. Inurnment burial with Military Honors was held in Fairview Cemetery, Rushville, NE.
Honorary Pallbearers were his six grandchildren, Jessica and Alyssa Norton, Timothy, Benjamin, Nathaniel, and Melissa Jech, also the Sheridan County Sheriff Department and all of his special friends and family.
The family suggests memorials to the Rushville Rescue Squad, the Rushville Fire Department, or the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Memorial Cross/Marquee Fund and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home PO Box 366, Gordon, NE 69343.
He will be missed greatly by many and he will be remembered for his love of hunting, fishing, for helping others, and or his family.
Jeanie Leahy Knudtson Saturday, 25 January 2014 08:19 Comment Link
Dear Dot and family. God must have directed me to check the obituaries in the Sheridan County Journal Star. I am so sorry.
You and Ralph will always be a part of our Homestead family. You did so much for Dad throughout the years and I will always remember your trip up there several years ago when you helped us work on the cabins.
Ralph was a very special man. May God bless all of you.
Jeanie Leahy Knudtson