In Memory of
Marvel “Chris” Norton
June 25, 1934–March 10, 2020
Marvel “Chris” Norton was a devoted and beloved mother. She was a leader for her children’s cub scout and camp fire troops in the early years. She was an ardent fan of her three children’s basketball, track and cross county high school events. Neighborhood children often congregated around her kitchen in the afternoon, hoping to share in the home baked cookies, cinnamon rolls, pies and other treats she would create. Winter staples around the dining table included homemade canned peaches, pears and applesauce, most of which she grew from trees in her yard.
Oregon State University played strongly into the lives of Ross and Chris. Chris first attended summer 4-H camps on campus while in high school. Chris met her future husband, Ross, on a blind date while they were students at OSU and the rest is history. Their three children graduated from OSU as did two grandchildren. Faith was an important part of Chris’ life, she regularly attended the Methodist Church with her family for many years and passed along her faith to her children.
Growing up in Coos Bay and Portland, Chris developed a love for the outdoors which included plants and animals. When she graduated from OSU, it was with a horticultural degree. She always had a large vegetable garden in the summer and enjoyed harvesting berries and fruit from her fruit trees. She also planted a vegetable garden for the residents of the apartment complex she and Ross owned and managed for many years. Using a greenhouse in her backyard, she grew many vegetables and flowers from seed. She often shared home grown vegetables and flower bouquets with family, friends and neighbors.
Chris worked at the OSU seed lab after graduating from OSU and up until giving birth to her first son, David. Thereafter, she was a stay-at-home mom until her children were in high school. She was approached by a neighbor to work as a caregiver to retired residents at Mt. Angel retirement center while living in Mt. Angel. This career would continue for forty years and expand to retirees living from Portland to Corvallis. She treated her clients like family, often bringing them homegrown flowers, encouraging them through life’s events and being there for them through illnesses and challenges. She was like a devoted daughter to those without children or family nearby.
A life long hobby that started in the mid-1960s began when a friend was unable to keep a Siamese cat they owned. The cat was offered to my mother and her long standing love affair with cats began. From that first cat, Dynah, came kittens and more cats. Socializing with other cat owners led to an interest in breeding, raising and showing show cats. Chris enjoyed the companionship of these feline friends and was successful at having a number of cats reach the Champion or Grand Champion levels.
Chris had an outgoing, vivacious, positive personality that drew others to her in friendship. Her laughter and joy were often part of birthday parties and family gatherings. She grew up as one of the few nieces to a large family of doting aunts and uncles. Her own mother died very young due to melanoma while Chris was in her early years of high school. This painful event caused her to grow closer to her father, Lawrence but also required that she become the woman of the house, taking over cooking and cleaning for the family.
Chris is survived by a brother, Keith Christensen, living in Orem, Utah, her husband Ross Norton, her three children David Norton, Diana Chung and Daniel Norton, grandchildren Gunnar and Kristen Johnson, Thomas and Ashley Norton and Jonathon and James Chung.
Donations in lieu of flowers to Friends of Feline, Salem OR, https://www.sfof.org/