Bonnie A. Norton died peacefully in her home on the morning of April 5, 2021 with loved ones at her side. She was 71 years old.
Bonnie was born on April 25, 1949 in St. Albans, Vermont, the only daughter and fourth child of William and Edith Norton. After growing up in Vermont, she finished high school in Massena, New York. She attended the State University of New York at Albany, where she was a history major with minors in social studies and education. Her college roommates have remained lifelong friends.
Also at Albany, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Social Studies and Political Science. She completed a second master’s degree at the University of Hartford in public accounting and taxation. Her career in finance and accounting as a CPA were primarily at educational institutions. At Dartmouth College, she was director of Financial Planning and Budget, where among other responsibilities she oversaw the accounting operations for what is now an endowment of six billion dollars. After, Dartmouth, she was the Chief Financial Officer for DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana.
Although Bonnie found her career path in finance, her love of art and history played in important part in her life. Bonnie had a passion for traveling, and enjoyed exploring the world by land or sea with family and friends. Eventually Bonnie relocated to Venice, Florida where her brother Fred and his wife Claire lived. Although officially retired, she had said often that she “loved and maybe needed to work.” She worked part time for the Nielsen organization and the Florida Studio Theater.
Bonnie believed in volunteerism. She served the state of Florida as Guardian Ad Litem, protecting and advocating for the best interests of children involved in matters before the court. She also was on the finance committee of her homeowners association. Her broadest, longest and most responsible volunteer position was with her church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, or UUCOV. Her most significant leadership position was Chair of the Search Committee. This more than two-year assignment led to the invitation to Khleber Van Zandt to become their first settled minister 7 years ago. He accepted the position and remains there today.
Bonnie had two stepsons, Laurence and Patrick. One brother, Calvin, predeceased her in Albany, New York, and she leaves two others: Fred and his wife Claire of Venice, and Robert of South Carolina. Her ties to the next generation are strong through Fred’s children and her 25-year relationship with her “little sister,” Stephanie Watkins Barnard of Perkinsville, Vermont. Steph, the daughter Bonnie always wanted, describes Bonnie as her “Bonus Mom” with their relationship beginning through Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America, when Steph was 9 years old.
She was very close to Fred’s children: Dr. Jeffrey Norton of Eustis, FL, Brian Norton, his wife Jill and their children Sam and Cate, of Simi Valley, California, and Karen Norton of Norwood, Massachusetts.
A memorial service at UUCOV will be held on a date to be announced. Bonnie’s ashes will be joined with those of her beloved dog, Libby, and interred at the Fairview cemetery in Benson, Vermont. Bonnie would occasionally bring Libby to meetings at UUCOV. Libby was widely considered the most popular member of the Search Committee. And the quietest. Bonnie would have greatly appreciated donations to Doctors Without Borders or the Unitarian Universalist Church in Venice, FL.