Howard G. Norton, 77, Episcopal priest, educator

May 19, 2001|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Howard G. Norton, an Episcopal priest and former educator, died Tuesday of Alzheimer's disease at College Manor in Lutherville. The longtime Roland Park resident was 77.

Father Norton had been an interim priest at the Episcopal Church of the Guardian Angel in Remington and was part-time priest at Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Incarnation in Baltimore from 1966 to 1970. He taught philosophy at Morgan State University from 1975 to 1980. From 1979 to 1986, he coordinated the Institute of Philosophical Theology at Coppin State College.

During the 1990s, he served on the board and taught philosophy at the McKendree School of Religion, an ecumenical educational agency in Baltimore.

"He was a very gentle person," said Nargis Paul Bunce, retired chemistry teacher at Loyola Blakefield. Her husband, retired United Methodist minister N. Ellsworth Bunce Jr., was president of the McKendree School.

Mrs. Bunce recalled that Father Norton, despite his illness, made an effort to help those at College Manor "whose needs were greater than his."

The Rev. David A. Cammack, a retired Episcopal priest who lives in Dickeyville, described him as a "peaceful and pleasant person" and as "a very reflective teacher who was laid-back and quiet."

Father Norton was born and reared in West Orange, N.J., where he graduated from high school. During World War II, he was skipper of a Navy LCT landing craft in the Pacific from 1941 until he was discharged in 1946.

He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Brothers College at Drew University in Madison, N.J., in 1951.

He studied philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his religious studies at Philadelphia Divinity School, now part of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.

Despite being dyslexic, he received four master's degrees, in philosophy and philosophy of religion from the University of Pennsylvania, in philosophy of theology from Temple University and in sacred theology from Philadelphia Divinity School.

Ordained in 1960, he was chaplain at Pomfret School in Pomfret, Conn., from 1961 to 1965. He was chaplain at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville from 1965 to 1966.

He was an inveterate steamship traveler and had crossed the Atlantic on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II about 10 times. He also had traveled from the Arctic Circle to India to the Canary Islands, including Europe, the South Pacific and the Far East.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. today at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, the former Ann "Bonye" Fisher; a son, Lt. Cmdr. Robin Norton of Roland Park; and a daughter, Leslie Ann Norton of Hampden. Another son, Charles Norton, died in 1990.

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