John Ernest Odean Norton, 74

Published 10:20 am Sunday, September 17, 2017

John Ernest Odean Norton, 74

John Ernest Odean Norton, 74, of Austin, Minnesota, died Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, while vacationing in Hawaii. He was born July 14, 1943, in Austin to Milton and Stella (Carsten) Norton. A graduate of Austin High School and member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, John made his living working in various positions for the city of Austin street department. On April 3, 1965, he married Gloria Jean Sauer at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. The couple raised four children. Following his retirement from the city of Austin, John worked as a bus driver, a handyman, a goal judge for the Austin Bruins hockey team and a baker. He was famous for his delicious cookies. Other prior occupations included serving as a hockey coach, baseball coach, and hockey referee. John enjoyed being busy doing things and was usually on the go. He was generous and giving of his time and talents and was eager to help others.  Family was his priority. Everyone was welcome at his home, where there was always plenty to eat, thanks to his excellent cooking skills. John never really retired.  He was a hard worker his entire life. His family and friends will miss him dearly.

Survivors include his wife, Jean Norton of Austin; his children, Brad  (Michele) Norton of North Port, Florida, Connie (Greg) Pettit of Boise, Idaho, Shannon Norton and Ryan (Jamie) Norton, both of Austin; grandchildren, Samantha (Cody) McCollough, Brittney (Cory) Beeson, Derek Norton, Megan (Curtis) Smith, Andrew (Amanda) Jenkins, Cameron Heard (Ashley Barth), Riley Norton, Molly Norton, and Reese Norton; great-grandchildren, Jaylynn, Jack, Lucy, Zoey, and Tucker; siblings, Barb Wendel, Elaine (Clifford) Stoen, Eudell (Maynard) Hamor, Agatha (Richard) Pedersen, Judy Bastin, and Janice Neuman; sister-in-law, Julie (Dan) Page; many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends. John was preceded in death by his parents, Milton and Stella; his in-laws, Mervyn Sauer, Dawnene Sauer, and Doris Sauer; his sister, Jackie Kahler; brothers-in-law Johnny Wendel, Richard Bastin, Tim Sauer; his brother-in-law Kenneth (Jackie) Kahler; and special friends, Everett Evenson and Betty Evanson. 

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin with Pastor Karen Behling officiating.  Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22 at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin and one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Interment will be in Grandview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the family. Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

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