In Memory

Ruth Ann Easton (Norton) - Class Of 1952

Ruth Ann Easton (Norton)


Ruth Ann (Easton) Norton

July 9, 1934 ~ July 15, 2020 (age 86)

Ruth Ann Norton took her last breath in the afternoon on July 15th 2020. She had just celebrated her 86th birthday on July 9th and resided at Brookdale Senior Living in Bloomington Indiana where she was found unresponsive by staff. 2020 had been a difficult year for her after breaking her hip on January 5th and going through rehab as well as developing an auto immune condition in which her immune system was attacking her skin causing a lot of blisters and pain/itching.

Ruth Ann was born July 9, 1934 in Bemidji, Minnesota to M. Marie and Glenn Easton. She had 3 siblings, Muriel, Donald and a sister that passed away in infancy. Her father managed creameries and the family moved several times throughout her early childhood, and ended up making South Bend Indiana their permanent home. She attended Central High School where she met her future husband Donald Norton. They were married in December 1951 and both graduated high school in June 1952. In that same month they welcomed their first child Donald Andrew followed by Susan Marie in June 1953. Ruth Ann started working at the South Bend Tribune soon out of school and continued to until Don finished his plumbing apprenticeship.

Unfortunately, Don was in a diving accident shortly thereafter that left him a quadriplegic. This moment really changed her entire world, there she was 23 years old with a 4 and a 5 year old to raise and a husband in the hospital. She returned to the South Bend Tribune for the rest of her career, working various positions including the proof room, staff artist, and in the library once the artwork became digitized. This young family was supported by family, friends, the Plumber’s Union and the South Bend Tribune and various fundraising events. Ruth went to New York City to appear on a TV show called Strike It Rich. By telling her story about Don’s accident, she won hospital equipment and had a 5 day trip in NYC that included shows and the Macy Day Parade. Turns out this would be her only vacation for the remainder of Don’s life! She was also helped by the Visiting Nurses and caregivers that took care of household chores and Don’s care.

Ruth was a skilled artist, enjoyed dancing (especially The Swing and Waltz) and was asked to model clothing at various events. She participated in Press Club events, was a member of the 25 Year Club at the South Bend Tribune and in 1997 received Caregiver of the Year R.E.A.L. Services for raising her family and caring for Don for 38 years. She was a member of the United Methodist Church. Ruth also worked with classmates from Central High School to organize reunions throughout the years.

After Don’s death, Ruth was able to go on trips with a travel club. She joined the Elks Club for social activities and met a group of women who participated in water exercise with instructional recording (cassette) blaring from a boom box weekday mornings at their outdoor pool. She was able to go join a friend on a cross country trip to see family and the beauty of this country. She was blessed with a trip to Hawaii. Ruth and her sister went to Europe. She was able to go on a cruise to Mexico with son Andy for his 25th wedding anniversary. She enjoyed dancing at the Niles Senior Center and other dancing venues. She enjoyed greeting at church and volunteering at the Budget Corner.

Ruth moved out of her home after a tree fell on her house and moved to Village at Arborwood on Cleveland Rd. Later, she moved to Bloomington, IN to be closer to her daughter and lived in Bell Trace Retirement Community. After her daughter retired, Ruth moved in with Sue until she fell and broke her hip in January of this year. She began rehab at Bell Trace and later moved to Brookdale Senior Living for continued rehabilitation where she resided until her death.

Survivors include a sister-in-law Ruth Easton, both of her children Andy (Robin) Norton and Susan Roberts (Norton), seven grandchildren: Isaac (Pearl) Norton, Aaron Norton, Nathaniel Norton, Jesse (Carisa) Norton, Benjamin Norton, Hannah Roberts and Samuel (Stephanie) Norton, and three great grandchildren: Ezekiel, Exzavior and Isaiah Norton.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Donald Norton, both of her parents M. Marie Easton (Chatfield) and Glenn Easton and her siblings Muriel Chreist (Easton) and Donald Easton.

Ruth Ann will be cremated and buried with her late husband Don at St. Joseph Cemetery in South Bend. Due to COVID-19 and wanting to keep family and friends safe, there will be no services held at this time. A Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date when it is safer for gatherings.

Ruth always tried to put a smile on everyone’s face, even when she was in pain she tried to “make a funny” with others no matter where she went. Now she is celebrating eternal life in heaven and dancing with Don, something she did not get much of an opportunity to do here on Earth.

“Live long, Love hard, Learn to embrace life, Laugh out loud, and Leap into heaven dancing.”

-Daisy Hinton Davis

Please share memories and photos to celebrate and commemorate Ruth Ann’s life. Thank you for being a part of her story!

10/24/2021 EJS