K. Leon Norton
August 8, 2005
Leon Norton died Friday, Aug. 5, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango with his family by his side. He was 65 years old.
Leon was born Aug. 19, 1939, in Enid, Okla., to Kenneth D. and Bertha Norton. The family moved to California, where he graduated from Elk Grove High School in Sacramento, Calif., in 1957.In August 1960 Leon and his wife, Sue, moved to Aspen with his in-laws, Sam and Pearl Gibson. Sam and Leon started Gibson and Norton Painting, which became one of the largest painting contractors in the area. They painted most of the original buildings in the new Snowmass Village area.
In the mid-’70s Leon went into general construction after his father-in-law retired. He had Pyramid Builders Inc. and was the largest single general contractor in the area until the mid-’80s. Some of the buildings included the Ajax Mountain Building, Tom Thumb Building, KSNO building, Hunter Square and many other commercial and single family homes.Over the past 22 years, Leon spent most of his time raising his two children from his second marriage, Ben and Chelsea. He found true happiness was not in the things he had but in the people who surrounded him. Leon shared a changed life with many, and impacted the Roaring Fork Valley with a wealth of love and understanding.
Leon loved hunting, fishing, reading and being surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his children: daughter Melody Kappeli, her husband, Terry, and grandchildren Heather and Kyle Kappeli of Basalt; daughter Heidi Rung, her husband, Nick, grandchildren Nicholaus (Lisa), Stephan, April and Sam Rung, great-grandson Isaac and another great-grandchild due in October of Paonia; son Kenneth Benjamin Norton of Durango and daughter Chelsea Norton of Minneapolis. He is also survived by his brother David and family, sister Wynona and family, and sister Sharon of Redding, Calif.; sister Donna Mason and family of Overgaard, Ariz.; sister Judy Mendenhall of Crownsville, Md., and sister Diana of San Jose, Calif. He will be sorely missed by his family and the many friends of this area he loved so much.A celebration of his life will be held at Christ Community Church in Basalt on Friday at 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations for final arrangements would be appreciated.