Robert (Rob) Lavern Norton passed away unexpectedly in his home March 17, 2020, at the age of 59. Rob was born on January 29, 1961 to Robert and Elaine Norton in Hood River, Ore. He was the youngest, and only brother to Nancy (Matthews), Carrie (Billings) and Sheryl (Graves).
Rob grew up in Pine Grove and graduated from Hood River Valley High School. In middle school, Rob played many sports but his activities became more social in nature as he got to high school. Rob could be described as a jokester, class clown and life of the party. While active in FFA, he raised cows and other livestock. He also enjoyed tinkering with his car and living out his Evil Knievel dreams on his motorcycle.
Rob continued his education (as he would say) in the school of “hard knocks,” working a variety of jobs in the agricultural industry. He started with Willis Family Orchards and later became a field man at Diamond Fruit, Stadelman’s and Chamberlain Agriculture. Rob eventually worked with his sister, Sheryl, at GS Long, where he became the manager. The key to Rob’s success was his natural ability to “shoot the shit” with anyone. When you had a conversation with Rob (business or personal), you always left having had a good laugh and being encouraged.
In 1990, Rob married Cheryl Cates, and in 1994 became a dad to his daughter, Taylor. Taylor immediately melted Rob’s already very tender heart. Rob married Tracy Sanguras in 1999 and their son, Austin, entered the world in 2000. While Rob’s role as father and husband was the center of his world, he also enjoyed coaching, cheering on both of his kids in sports and taking his family on camping adventures.
Rob could not have been prouder of his kids. He beamed as Taylor graduated high school and set off for Hawaii to become a nurse. An added blessing was giving her away in marriage to Clay, who soon became not only a son-in-law, but a true friend. He was also very proud to see Austin flourish in high school and begin his college career at George Fox University, working toward a degree in criminal justice.
Rob loved people and enjoyed making them laugh. Everyone who knew Rob has multiple stories of times he cracked them up with his jokes and wild pranks. Beyond all of this, his family was the center of his entire world. He lived to provide for them and make them happy.
Rob gave so much to so many. Whether he was playing Santa during the holidays, plowing driveways during the winter, auctioneering at local fundraisers, or calling BINGO for his mother-in-law’s local sorority chapter, Rob was always willing to step up and help others.
Rob loved to travel with his family, work in his meticulously-kept yard, complete home projects, and host barbecues and poker nights with friends. There were very few people in the valley who didn’t call Rob a friend. He will be dearly missed by all.
Rob was proceeded in death by his mother, Elaine Norton, father, Robert Norton, step-mother, Barbara Norton, and step-sister, Sally Johnson. He is survived by his wife, Tracy Norton; his daughter, Taylor (Clay) Cox; son, Austin Norton; siblings, Nancy (Ernie) Matthews, Carrie (Dennis) Billings, and Sheryl (Randy) Graves; step-siblings, Sherrie Chevron, Susan (Larry) Lucas, and Mike Johnson; his mother-in-law, Debbie Sanguras; sister-in-law, Lindsey (Lang) Cook; brother-in-law, Todd (Katrina) Sanguras; nieces, Joyce Willis, Tina (John) Combs, Shana Mattson, Sara (Chris) Rumrill, Anika Sanguras and Kennedy Cook; nephews, Cole Billings, Derrik Johnson, Reed Johnson, Beckam Sanguras, and Kameran Cook; great-nephew Blake Willis; and great-nieces Grace and Tatum Willis.
Due to current coronavirus concerns, both the graveside service and celebration of life will be postponed until further notice. Details of both events will be provided by family once information is available. Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center, Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.