James Robert Norton, 70 of Mountain City, Tennessee passed away on Wednesday, March 1 1, 2020 at Mountain City Care Center after an extended illness. Robert was born in Marion, NC, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. James Norton, Jr.
Robert was a graduate of Appalachian State University and was a retired educator. Robert served as a teacher, coach, athletic trainer, counselor, and administrator. Robert and Paula married in 1972, and lived in Marion, NC until 1997. They moved to Daisy Ridge in Valle Crucis, NC in 1997 when Paula became an administrator with Watauga County Schools. When Paula retired from NC in 2005, Robert and Paula moved to Mountain City, TN when Paula became an administrator with Johnson County Schools. Robert was truly the wind beneath Paula’s wings.
Robert was active in the community. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Boone where he had served as a Deacon. Through the years, he was a member of the Ruritan, Rotary, and Optimist Clubs. Robert was the driving force for the creation of the Watauga County Sports Hall of Fame, and served as chairman for several years. Robert was proud to be able to provide this special recognition for the outstanding athletes in Watauga County. Some of Robert’s greatest pleasures were Appalachian State University football and baseball, and the Yosef Club. Robert attended all of App State’s football play-off games and all three National Championship Games. One of the best days of Robert’s life was being at the “Big House” when App State beat Michigan. Robert also enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and Canada, going to “oldies”concerts (especially the Beach Boys), and going to the theatre, especially on Broadway. Robert did all of these things with his best friend, who was also his wife.
Robert is survived by his wife of 47 years, Paula Lavendar Norton; his mother, Virginia Norton of Marion, NC; his mother-in-law, Lois Lavendar of Columbus, Georgia; and a host of cousins and friends. Robert is also survived by his two beloved bichons, Beauregard and Maggie.
Robert was preceded in death by his father, James Norton, Jr.; his paternal and maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Norton and Mr. and Mrs. Broadus Taylor; and his father-in-law, Paul W. Lavendar. Robert was also preceded in death by his beloved dogs, Oscy, Schroeder, Buford and Jasper.
A Celebration of Life service was held at First Baptist Church in Boone, NC on Sunday afternoon, March 15 at 2:00, immediately followed by a reception in the fellowship hall. In recognition of Robert’s love for Appalachian State, family and friends were asked to wear Appalachian attire or black and gold. Robert will be looking down at us, smiling, and saying “Go Apps!”.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Boone, 375 West King Street, Boone, North Carolina, 28607, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be sent to the Norton family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.