Joseph Norton

February 10, 1931 to August 17, 2017

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa, to Ida and Thomas Norton, he lived on his aunt and uncle’s farm in rural Pa until his teen years. He then moved to Philadelphia to live with his Aunt Bess and Uncle Pete. At 17, he joined the Navy and was assigned to his first ship a destroyer as a sonarman. He made several “Med” cruises and saw first hand post-war Europe.

After several tours of duty on the east coast, in 1958, Joe was assigned to the Fleet ASW School in San Diego as an instructor and soon after was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. While on the west coast, he made several “West Pac” cruises aboard the USS Bennington. Next came assignments to the HS-8 and HS-10 helicopter squadrons at Ream Field (Imperial Beach, CA) where he eventually retired after 20 years of service.

Then off to a new career in civil service. Starting at the Naval Rework Facility(North Island) to the Naval Oceans System Center(Pt. Loma) working on submarines, to finally  NAS Miramar as a C.O.T.R. in charge of the F-14 flight simulator for Top Gun. Another 20 years!

After retirement, Joe turned to woodworking. From scroll saw work to intarsia to carving rocking horses, he had a knack for creativity. His other talents included writing poetry and everything electronic. Joe loved fancy cars, was an avid Philadelphia Eagles and Penn St. Football fan and was also known for his “stylish jumpsuits”. Joe loved Western music, especially by Hank Williams and Willie Nelson. Frank Sinatra was a favorite as well. Joe liked to keep busy and was always available to help a friend or neighbor in need.

Joe, as he liked to be called, will be deeply missed by his wife of 50 years, Barbara and son Robert, sons Steven, Kenneth and Jeffrey, Sister Mary, along with his grandchildren Karissa, Amanda, Valerie, Laura, Samantha, Nicki and R.C., 19 great grandchildren, God daughter Kate and Best Friend Edoardo. And of course his “Bestest Doggie Ever Muffin”, Buddy and Snoopy.

In keeping with his love of the sea and the Navy, Joe will be buried at sea from a Naval ship and a plaque will be placed at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in his Honor.




  • Date: August 28, 2017
  • Time: 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Location: Legacy Funeral & Cremation Care
  • Address: 7043 University Ave La Mesa, CA 91942-5954
  • Directions: Legacy Funeral & Cremation Care

Celebration of Life

  • Date: August 29, 2017
  • Time: 1:00 PM
  • Location: Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
  • Address: 2766 Navajo Road, El Cajon, California 92020
  • Directions: Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church

A luncheon will be served in the church hall following the service and colors presentation.

Our sincerest condolences to you, Barb and to Robert. I'm so sorry we were out of town during your difficult time. We're here if you need us. Don't hesitate to lean on us if you need to. We've known all of you for many years and have always enjoyed our friendship with Joe and both of you. He'll be missed by a lot of people. He is loved by many...

Ed & Diane Bastek on October 02, 2017

Barbara, Dick just told me about Joe. I'm deeply sorry for your loss. I hope God comforts you and gives you the strength you need to carry on his loving memory.

Mary Mignogna on September 12, 2017

I am so SORRY to hear this news!!! I have always enjoyed that Joe, whom I knew from his days when he was a COTR at NAS Miramar where I was working for a contractor developing computer-based training for the F-14A training squadron. Joe and I became good friends at the time, often enjoying lunch together or just talking about the latest instructional design theories. After Joe retired and I moved to WA State, we stayed in touch through the years via email and more recently Facebook. His death really saddens me as he was such a good person. Barbara, thank you so much for letting me know!!!! You and your entire family have my sincerest condolences!!!

Ellen Le Vita on September 01, 2017

so very sorry for the loss of your father & grandfather. my thoughts are with each of you tonight ♡

holly pritchard on August 31, 2017

Oh how I will miss the only grandfather I ever knew. His jokes, wit, spunk, big heart and stubbornness will live on in beautiful memories and within those of us who inherited those traits. May our hearts heal with time, and our memory of him never fade. To Grandma Barb, you were a loyal and loving wife...your care for grandpa was beautiful. Something that we can all learn from. May you find peace with those efforts and know that they were great. I love you both with all of my heart. ❤️

Val on August 31, 2017

Sorry to see you go, God Bless I was stationed with Joe was working on the 2f65 E2B trainer.

Jim Hudson on August 29, 2017

Love you Grandma, I hope over time your pain will turn to peace. Grandpa is free of his suffering and you were the angel by his side to help him through this life. I miss you and hope you can feel my love over here in utah.xoxoxo Love, Mandy

Mandy on August 28, 2017

My heartfelt sympathy on your loss.

Barb Matthews on August 28, 2017

To my Grandma Barb, I love you and am grieving with you no matter how far apart we are. I love you and miss Grandpa. I loved the humor the both of you shared in front of me growing up. I love the lunches and activities we would all do together. I will always have the best memories of him and still feel his love everyday. I know he's with us and feels our love. He will be truly missed but never forgotten. Love you Grandpa.

Laura Norton on August 28, 2017

To Barbara and Robert and the rest of the Norton family, my heartfelt condolences. Joe was the best friend and neighbor anyone could ever hope for. He was always available to help out in a crisis - whether broken water heaters, financial problems, or animal crises. Joe was there. Barb, he loved you so much and was so proud of you. You were his rock throughout his illness. No wife has ever done more.

Ely Freedman on August 28, 2017

To one of my dearest friends Barbara, her son, and the remainder of the Norton family I send my deepest sympathy. I wish there were words that I could share that could take away the pain of losing someone you love so much. I hope that the happy memories you have of Joe help get you through this difficult time. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Kathie

Kathie Rosario on August 28, 2017

He was the best grandpa, friend, and confidant. I could always be myself and he would support me. I loved our cross country visits, and all the stories his colorful life entailed. I only wish we had more time.

Karissa on August 26, 2017

My sincere condolences to Barb and the rest of your family. Chief Joe Norton was my mentor at HS 10 and had a great influence on me during and after my Navy service. My success in life-getting it done-the right way- was do in great part by his influence on me

Jim little on August 25, 2017

My sincere condolences to the boys and especially, Barbara. Love you all. Also, to his grandchildren who are also grieving and loved him. "God be with you 'till we meet again." "Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us, every day...unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear."

Mel Norton on August 24, 2017

Farewell to my sweet Uncle. I know you are doing well where you are and I hope you and Nick are having fun being back together again. I will always love you and I miss you so very much. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

Anna Rodriguez on August 24, 2017

My sincerest condolences to Barbara, Robert, and the entire Norton family.

Dick Mishinski on August 23, 2017