Monday, December 23, 2013

My Friend Jerry Norton RIP

Jerry Norton who died in Maryland, a week ago on Sunday, of brain cancer  was my friend,  political mentor and hero.  From afar Bill Buckley was my mentor however I only met him once. On a personal level it was Jerry Norton.
Jerry was in the class of 1964 at Marshfield High in Coos Bay, Oregon. I was in the class of 1965 at North Bend High a few miles away. We met in the heady days of the draft Goldwater campaign in 1963. Jerry formed the first chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) in the Coos Bay area. I followed him as President when he left for collage at the University of Oregon. At Oregon he formed another chapter of YAF and I followed him there and again  succeeded him as president.   After graduation from the U of O he entered the Army and I followed him a year later after my graduation. In the years that followed when he worked overseas as a journalist  I treasured the phone calls, letters and brief visits we had. Jerry was my mentor and I will miss him and his quiet wisdom. Being a conservative on a collage campus was very lonely during the turbulent 60's but having Jerry on our side made all the difference. The fight goes on for individual liberty.
Here is the obituary from the YAF website:
Early Sunday morning on December 15, Jerry Norton lost his battle with brain cancer. He fought for 14 long months but was unable to overcome the pneumonia that developed during these past few weeks.
Jerry most recently served as the executive director of Young America's Foundation's National Journalism Center from 2012 to 2013 before he became ill. We will miss his sharp mind, great sense of humor, half crooked smile and mild-mannered presence.
Jerry served on the board of Young Americans for Freedom in college after working on the YAF staff as college chapter and publications director, and also served as editor of YAF's New Guard magazine from 1971 to 1973.  
He had been a Reuters bureau chief in Indonesia and Singapore, Reuters news editor in Japan, and one of its editors in Hong Kong, Singapore and Washington. He traveled on assignments for Reuters to China, East Timor, Malaysia, Australia, the Philippines and other countries.
As Asian deputy editor in charge for political and general news from 2007 through 2010, with a brief for South Asia coverage, he oversaw coverage in India and the rest of the Subcontinent, reinforcing in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and several times in Pakistan.
Prior to his career of more than 25 years with Reuters, Norton was the business editor of Hong Kong's leading English-language newspaper; worked in Asia, Europe and the U.S. for another news agency; was vice president and managing editor of Phillips Publishing in the Washington area.
An Oregon native, Norton graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oregon Honors College.  After service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, where he won a Purple Heart and other decorations, he attended Columbia University, earning a master's degree from its Graduate School of Journalism.
He was a long-time member of the Philadelphia Society and was twice elected president of the Singapore Foreign Correspondents Association.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Kim Thoa, and son, Michael Norton.

Jerry will be buried as he requested at Arlington Cemetery.