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Willie Eston Norton

July 17, 1921 ~ December 14, 2018 (age 97)

Willie Eston Norton was born on July 17, 1921, to Joseph and Sarah (Hair) Norton near Red Springs, North Carolina. He grew up in Raeford, NC on a cotton farm with four brothers and one sister. On September 16, 1940, Willie entered active duty in the Seventh Army of the United States during World War II. Willie’s time in the service was one of harrowing adventure and bravery. During the 117th Infantry’s battle of Mortain in France, he was taken as a POW by the Germans on August 7, 1944 through 1945, when he managed to escape, was recaptured, and escaped again by making his way through Poland and Greece, before being repatriated on March 23, 1945. Willie felt the duty to serve his country again during the Korean War. After retiring on March 31, 1961 from over 20 years of active service, Willie held a variety of jobs including working on a shrimp boat, dredge fishing, driving oil truck, and cutting trees from powerlines. In the 1960s, Willie met Yvonne Duenser while the two lived in the same neighborhood in Supply, NC. When Yvonne moved back to her native Chicago, Willie followed and pursued her until the two were married on June 13, 1966. Together the couple had a son, William, in 1970. In 1971, Willie and his family moved to Minnesota, before deciding to return to North Carolina after one year. Willie enjoyed gardening, digging up old tree stumps, and driving around on his side-by-side amidst the North Carolina terrain. He was a hard worker that will be missed dearly by his family.

On Friday, December 14, 2018, at the age of 97, Willie passed away at the St. Cloud VA Center. He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Joseph, Gilbert, Lacey, and Junior Norton, and sister, Ruby Norton.

Willie is survived by wife, Yvonne; sons, Richard (Laurie) and William Norton; daughter, Donna (Randy) Mathis, and grandchildren: Kalena, Aubrianne, Taylor, Richard Jr., Mathew, and Eric.

A funeral service with military honors will be held on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 1 PM at the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria, Minnesota, with visitation one hour prior at noon. 

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