William (Will) Norton

Memorial Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, April 27, 2024
St. Mark’s Church
111 Oenoke
New Canaan, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of William (Will) Hendel Norton

Tragically, Will passed away unexpectedly at home in New Canaan, CT. on January 14th of respiratory complications caused by covid. His parents, Katherine (Katy) and Laurence (Larry) were with him. Will was born April 27th, 1997 in New York City at 23 weeks, weighing 1lb 5 ounces. His first three and a half months were spent in the NICU of New York Weill Cornell Hospital. Will was predeceased by his twin sister, Sibley Grace Norton (stillborn), his grandparents Patricia and Philip Hendel of New York City and Elizabeth and Arthur Norton of Exeter, NH.

In New York, Will attended the Episcopal School and St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School where he made numerous lifelong friends. Will played Little League baseball in Yorkville and tennis and soccer at various venues in New York. When Will was 10 the family moved to Wilton, CT where he attended Eagle Hill School in Greenwich. Two years later the family moved to New Canaan, which has been his home for the past 15 years. Will continued his education at Winston Preparatory School in Norwalk, followed by  Maplebrook School in Amenia, NY. At the latter he played soccer and excelled for the tennis team, earning numerous awards.

For 15 years Will spent summers in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard where he was a fixture on the Yacht Club tennis courts, participating in inter club matches as well as Jr. Club Championships where he garnered many singles and doubles awards, and received the Smoyers Bowl emblematic of ability and sportsmanship.

For the past 6 years Will has participated in the CT Special Olympics Tennis Tournament (one year cancelled due to covid), winning his division for 5 consecutive years, as he would say “a Fivepete!”. For the past 21 years (one covid exception) Will attended the U.S. Open, supporting with enthusiasm Andy Murray, Federer, Nadal and more recently Alcarez, Sinner and Swiatek.

In addition to tennis, Will was a fan of all sports, particularly soccer (Arsenal), the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. As many of his friends went off to college Will would be the recipient of college apparel. His closet has sweatshirts, tee shirts and caps representing schools from California to Texas, the South and the North. He would always root for his friend’s teams and when there was a conflict, Will would say, “I want them both to do well because they are my friends.”

Will loved to travel. He visited England (Wimbledon), Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Casa de Campo and Bermuda. His dream was to attend the French and Australian Opens and the Nadal tennis Academy in Majorca. His love of church choirs led him to many concerts as well as visits to Kings College, Cambridge.

In New Canaan, Will volunteered at Waveny Life Care Network. He was awarded Volunteer Rookie of the Year by the New Canaan Community Foundation. Over the years he had part time employment with the New Canaan Historical Society, River House in Greenwich, the Porch in Westport and the Ponus School cafeteria in Norwalk. He was at his happiest while assisting the staff at the New Canaan Racquet Club, filling in for Point Play and doing other chores as a part time employee. In all venues he was surrounded by caring and kind friends.

Will was a frequent stroller around New Canaan, a fixture at Starbuck’s, Gofers, Dunkin Donuts, the YMCA and the library where he could be heard discussing the latest sports news, some politics, music, and activities and accomplishments of his friends.  It can truly be said, “Will never met a stranger”.

Will was a very spiritual young man. Beginning with his baptism at St. James Church in New York, continuing through Church School while also serving as an acolyte, to his affiliation with St. Mark’s in New Canaan where he was confirmed over 10 years ago. For many years Will was an active participant in the Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools (FOCUS), participating in meetings, outings and the FOCUS camp on Martha’s Vineyard where he was both a camper and volunteer. A significant cohort of Will’s friends are graduates and/or instructors of the FOCUS program. Will had many challenges in his short life. He met these challenges with unflinching courage, unwavering faith, a sense of humor and overwhelming kindness for all. Will was loved and he loved us all.  

Will is survived by his parents, Katherine Hendel Norton and A. Laurence Norton, Jr. of New Canaan, his loving sister Alexandra Stoddard Norton and her husband Harrison Moye Callaway of New York City. Will loved them both to an extreme and was overjoyed when Harrison joined the family. In addition, he is survived by his half sisters, Lauren Norton (David Chapin) of Annisquam, MA, Meredith Norton, of Annisquam, MA, Erica Lewis (Craig) of Hillsborough, NC, his aunts, Susan Fleming (David) of Palm Beach, FL and Virginia Campbell (Peter) of Hobe Sound, FL and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

There will be a Memorial Service for Will at St. Mark’s Church, New Canaan, CT at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 27th. A reception to follow at Morrill Hall, St. Mark’s. In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be made to: The Will Norton Foundation, C/O New Canaan Community Foundation, Inc., 111 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840, a 501(c)(3) public charity, funding scholarships, assistance for those with disabilities and support for the community.

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William (Will)