We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Kenneth Charles Norton, who died on July 1, 2023, in Newburgh, N.Y., after receiving a diagnosis of late-stage cancer this past winter. Born in Brooklyn N.Y., on April 27, 1952, to John T. Norton and Lena B. Norton, Ken had lived in Fishkill, N.Y since 1986, and previously in Bedford, N.Y., Los Angeles, North Salem, N.Y., and Brooklyn.
Ken was a 1970 graduate of Borough Hall Academy in Brooklyn. Throughout his life, he worked several long-term jobs in the retail, lumber, furniture, and auto-parts businesses. His employers remember him as a dependable worker who always showed up early and rarely missed a day. Friends and acquaintances remember him as a zealous New York Yankees fan. Those who were close to him—of whom there are many—knew him as a highly sensitive and kind person with a wry sense of humor, devoted to his friends and family. Ken kept in touch with dozens of relatives and friends over the years. Many of them visited, spoke with him, texted, or emailed during the final months of his illness. As one friend who had known Ken since the early 1960s put it: “He touched a lot of lives.”
Ken also forged many friendships as a long-time member of the USS Frank E. Evans Association. The association honors the men who served aboard the USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754), including the seventy-four sailors killed in a Navy accident in the South China Sea during the Vietnam War—among them, Ken’s older brother, John T. Norton, Jr. Ken was a faithful attendee of the association’s annual reunions of friends and family, and took an active part in its main policy mission: to have the names of “The Lost 74” added to the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.
Ken is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Norton Lasley (William), brother, Robert Norton (Candida), and nieces Mary Lasley and Ingrid Norton. He was preceded in death by his brother John in 1969 (mentioned above), by his father, John T. Norton Sr., who died In 1976, and by his devoted mother, Lena B. Norton, who passed away in November 2022, a few weeks after celebrating her 100th birthday.
A memorial service for Ken will be held at Peach Lake in the Vails Grove Pavilion, 5 Vail Blvd, Brewster, NY 10509, on September 17th at 2:00 P.M. Ken worked at the pavilion for several summers as a teenager, and the lake was one of his most-loved places.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the USS Frank E. Evans Association [https://www.ussfee.org/donations/lost74_walldonation/] and to the Kaplan Family Hospice Residence https://hospiceoforange.com/donate-now