Wesley Ann Norton
With great sadness we report the passing of Wesley Ann “Wanie” Norton (maiden name Travis), born April 5, 1931 in Jackson, Mississippi and died January 2, 2018 in Poway, California. Wanie was born to Cecil Farish Travis and Mae McCullen Travis. Cecil was a prominent local attorney, graduate and trustee of the Yale Law School and chief of staff to Mississippi governor Hugh White. Mae was a rowdy mother, who enjoyed attending wrestling matches with the governor and going on prohibition liquor raids. Wanie attended Central High School in Jackson where she was voted by her high school classmates as “most intellectual,” i.e., a nerd. After high school she attended Millsaps College then transferred to Louisiana State University. She spent a year abroad at the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1952, apparently proving her former classmates correct.
Inspired by her time in France, Wanie next went to New Haven, Connecticut where she completed a Master’s degree at Yale University in French literature, and nearly completed her PhD. At Yale, she met fellow graduate student Loyal “Randy” Durand whom she married in 1954. Together they had three children, Travis (born 1958), Timothy (born 1960) and Christopher (born 1963). Wanie and Randy lived in New Haven and then Princeton.
Wanie married UCLA physicist Richard “Dick” Norton in 1966. Together they went on many adventures — traveling to China and to the base camp of Mount Everest, to Israel and throughout Europe. They lived in Paris while Dick was on sabbatical from UCLA in 1976-77, 1983-84 and again in 1990-91. She later studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder and earned her Master’s in Library Science from UCLA. She and Dick had a son Peter (born 1971) and together helped raise Dick’s son Richard (born 1957).
Wanie volunteered and worked as a librarian at UCLA and at Peter’s schools (Warner Avenue Elementary and Brentwood School). She, Dick and the kids spent summers for almost 50 years in Aspen, Colorado where Dick was a member of the Aspen Center for Physics. Both of them — and the kids — deeply loved the mountains around Aspen and enjoyed lifelong friendships with members of the Aspen and Physic Center communities, playing tennis, hiking, savoring fine food
and wines, and traveling.
Wanie will be remembered for her smile and her humor, her love of family and travel, and for her overall gentle nature. She loved the frequent good natured ribbing she would receive from her boys and daughters in law, and from her grandkids. She was known for her laugh, her sense of fun and adventure, and for keeping the occasional can of food “a bit” past the expiration date.
Wanie is survived by her boys, Travis Durand, Timothy Durand, Chris Durand, Richard Norton and Peter Townshend, by her daughters-in-law Kathy Durand, Gigi Durand, Aliza Durand, Suzanne Norton and Priscilla Townshend, by her grandchildren Kelly, Emilie, Lindsay, Halle, Sonny, Eliana, Hayden, Layton, Michael, Patrick, Megan, Cailin, Calvin, Amelia, Rosalie, Benjamin, Pepe, Luke and Valentina, by her great-grandchildren Gabby and Maddi, and by a very wide circle of extended family and friends.
Wanie will be forever reunited with her two loves — Dick and the mountains of Aspen — when she is interred alongside Dick on Saturday, February 24 at the Red Butte Cemetery. Her service willb e at 2pm followed by a reception at the Aspen Meadows. All are welcome.
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