George Earl Norton passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Sunday, October 3rd, 2021, in Lovell, Wyoming, at the age of 95. Earl was born in the family home on August 7, 1926, south of Lovell, Wyoming to George Albert Norton and Christena Neilsen. He was the youngest of eight children, joining brothers John, LaGrand, Virl, Elwood (Tony), and LaMar (who died in infancy), and sisters Aurelia and Vivian.
Earl grew up on a 160-acre farm east of Lovell. His family raised sugar beets, beans, grain, and hay, as well as milk cows and mules. After his father died when Earl was 15, he quit school and went to work. Earl worked a couple of months at the sugar factory, earning about 59 cents an hour, and later worked in the oil field on drilling rigs.
Earl was inducted into the Navy on February 22, 1945, at the age of 18. He was stationed aboard a landing craft hauling supplies for the war effort. When the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Earl was on a ship only about 120 miles from Japan, near Okinawa.
Earl married Shirley Brimhall in December 1956. They celebrated 50 years of marriage together.
Earl worked for many years, traveling around the country painting smokestacks, flag poles, water towers, church steeples, curbs, gutters and more. For the last 20-30 of his working years, he worked year-round in Billings and Laurel, Montana for Conoco Refinery. He painted Lovell’s water tower up on the hill and was especially proud of helping to put the ring on the smokestack of the Great Western sugar factory - climbing up a ladder, 202 feet, to do so.
Earl retired from his painting at the ‘tender age of 68’. He especially enjoyed fishing and hunting. He also spent much of his time on his ‘ponderosa’ south of town where he kept horses, at one time 23 fruit trees, and a couple of beehives. He raised a large vegetable garden and freely shared his produce. Earl was an avid collector of many things. After he retired, he enjoyed scouring the local yard sales for ‘treasures’ to add to his collection.
Even though Earl only went to school to the 9th grade, he took several classes while working and continue to learn about subjects that interested him.
Earl was proud of his heritage and knew his family history, as well as that of many of the people from the area.
Earl was preceded in death by his mother, father, brothers and sisters, his wife Shirley, son Stephen, grandsons Shaun Wallace and Rocky Madsen, and great grandson Emerson Wallace.
Earl is survived by daughters Karen (Steve) Bailey of Murray, Kentucky, Debra (Scott) George of Cody, Wyoming, Nancy (Mike) Lytle of Laramie, Wyoming and Susan Norton of Lovell, Wyoming. Earl has 13 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, and 1 great, great grandchild.
Services will be held Saturday, October 16th at 10:00 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, east chapel. A viewing will precede the funeral at 9:00 AM in the west chapel. The service will also be broadcast on the Haskell Funeral Home Facebook page. Interment will follow at the Lovell Cemetery.
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