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Dee W. Norton


Posted By: Tara (email)
Date: 6/11/2009 at 14:35:57

Dee W. Norton, 85, Associate Professor of Psychology and former chairman of the University of Iowa Psychology Department, known for his keen interest in international affairs, active involvement in community and church and devotion to family life, died Monday, June 16 at his home in Iowa City.

Dee lived here for more than half a century where he enjoyed two loving 30 year marriages, raised four children and was a tireless contributor to the university, the community and the Unitarian Universalist Society. His many pursuits outside the family never diminished the energy with which he approached personal relationships or the overarching joy he found in the company of wife, children, grandchildren, colleagues and friends.

Dee was born July 2, 1922 at “The Cedars” ancestral farm home east of Princeton, Illinois, the son of Dee Howard and Ruth Paine Norton. He was raised and educated in Normal, Illinois, and in 1939 entered Illinois State University. In 1942 he enlisted in the US Army Corps and served in the European Theatre during WWII. Following the war he completed his undergraduate studies and taught high school mathematics and science in Pontiac, IL. Dee entered graduate school at the University of Iowa, where he received a doctorate in Educational Psychology in 1952.

On June 13, 1948 Dee married Barbara Sevier in Waverly, IL. Barbara died in January 1975. On New Years Eve 1977, Dee married Carrie Ziskind Lustig in Iowa City.

From 1952-57 Dee was a research psychologist at the Air Force Personnel and Training Research Center. In 1957 he joined the UI faculty with a joint appointment in Psychology and Educational Measurement and Statistics, teaching and consulting in his specialty area, research design and statistical analysis. From 1973 until 1986 he served as the chairman of the Psychology Department. He also served as the president of the Faculty Senate and secretary of the Faculty Council. He also taught in the Political Science Department in the area of international affairs and national security. From 1967-1968 he was a visiting professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

In 1991 he received the Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service to the University and to the state of Iowa recognizing his more than 30 years of service in university governance, civic and national security affairs. He retired in 1992.

Dee contributed to the Iowa City community as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission from 1963-65. During this time he led the City in an unparalleled quest to expand the Iowa City park system. Because of the efforts of the Commission and the City Council, the community supported a bond issue to purchase the land for Hickory Hill, Mercer, Willow Creek and Terrell Mill Parks and to develop numerous recreational facilities in the parks. He worked with the Project Green Bikeways committee that initiated the Iowa City bike trail system. He served on the Iowa City Council from 1996-1999.

Dee was a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Society, served as its President from 1992-1994 and was a leader in developing the religious education program. Other civic involvements included work with the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, chairing its program committee for twenty-five years.

An active participant in many sports at all levels throughout his life, Dee coached Little League baseball, never missed University football and basketball games, played pickup basketball into his sixties, golfed, hunted, fished and never gave up rooting for the Cubs.

Those who knew Dee were always amused by his jokes and salty use of language. He seemed to have a colorful metaphorical phrase or aphorism to describe every situation and a sense of humor that was always convivial and kind.

Dee enjoyed spending as much time as possible with his children and grandchildren. Often the occasion for a family get-together would be a rendezvous in or around Yellowstone National Park. Many summers would find the Nortons camping, hiking and fishing in that area.

There were numerous other occasions when the extended family and friends would gather together at 920 Ginter Avenue in Iowa City where Dee resided for 50 years. Ginter Avenue was a place, as he reminisced about his own ancestral home, for “multigenerational celebrations of the gifts of nature, the satisfactions of hard work, the fellowship of friends and the interconnectedness of family.”

Survivors include his wife Carrie; four children and eight grandchildren, Daniel (Diane) Norton of Alameda, CA and their children Valerie and Samuel, Tom (Teresa) Norton of Brunswick, GA and their children Stephanie and Amy, Jeremy (Cynthia) Norton of Roseville, MN and their children Jeffrey and Andrew, and Shelley Norton of Portland, OR and her children Ian and Abbey; three brothers, Reeve Norton of Princeton, NJ, John (Bettina) Norton of Boston, MA and James (Marge) Norton of Denver, CO.

Dee was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Barbara, four sisters, Dorothy, Emily, Nancy and Mary Joy and one brother, Ralph.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Iowa City Parks and Recreation Foundation, Iowa City Foreign Relations Council or the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City. Arrangements are with Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, Iowa City.


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