Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Lynn Norton

May 18, 1952 - December 5, 2018
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, December 14, 2018
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
14591 Fruit Ridge Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330

Memorial Service

Friday, December 14, 2018
11:00 AM EST
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
14591 Fruit Ridge Ave.
Kent City, MI 49330


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

American Diabetes Association
20700 Civic Center Dr. Suite 100
Southfield, MI 48076


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of Lynn Norton, it is easy to see that her greatest joy was found in her children and grandchildren. Although she could be stubborn at times, she was so loving and fully devoted to being a blessing in the lives of her loved ones. Life wasn’t without times of trial for Lynn, but her unwavering faith and quiet strength were such an inspiration to all who were near. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.

It was great to be an American during the exciting decade of the 1950s. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe were big names on the silver screen while televisions were regularly becoming part of American homes. Civil rights were gaining momentum, and by the end of the decade we ha welcomed both Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great joy in the lives of Thomas and Dorothy Panaccione as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Lynn Louise on May 18, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. The older of two children, she was a loving, caring, and attentive older sister to her brother, Bruce, who is six years younger. Sadly, Lynn’s father did when she was just 12 years old.

In many ways Lynn was a young girl of her generation. She was a very mischievous child who would often run and hide from her parents when she anticipated she might be reprimanded for misbehaving. The day her mother and brother moved to a new home after her father died, her mother asked that she occupy herself during the busy work of moving. Lynn soon began playing with the kitchen pots and pans and proceeded to smash the patio sliding door glass with a heavy kitchen pan.

Even while growing up Lynn fully embraced as much as she could about life. With a mother who encouraged plenty of music in the home, Lynn loved making music as a child and learned to play both piano and guitar and was primarily self taught. As a way to keep her busy and out of trouble, her mother also encouraged her to take up knitting, which became a lifelong hobby for Lynn. She was more of an independent, private child, and she preferred to be indoors rather than outside. She was not a particularly good student, but she could excel if she approved of the teacher. If not, Lynn was not interested. As a student Lynn was required to take a foreign language class in school but failed three times before meeting this requirement by taking a class in sign language and excelling in it as it was much more interesting to her. Lynn wasn't very popular in school but preferred to engage in her small group of three or four close girlfriends. Lynn was very fond of animals, particularly cats. Despite her her mother’s lack of enthusiasm for cats Lynn would often “adopt” and care for her cats, which often included up to three at one time.

It was when Lynn was just 16 that she met the man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was John Norton, and he was the older brother of her best girlfriend. John was a few years older, and Lynn couldn’t help being smitten by him as he was a bit of a rebel with a motorcycle. Once when riding on the back of his motorcycle he took off too fast, which sent Lynn right off the back and onto a cactus plant! Once they met, Lynn and John were inseparable, even working together in John’s family bakery. In fact the two of them were driven to the high school prom in a bakery truck! Since Lynn found this a bit embarrassing, she insisted the driver dropped them off a few blocks from the school and they walked from there. They married soon after high school graduation and eventually relocated to Muskegon, Michigan. Although the marriage later ended, she was forever grateful for the two children who were her greatest source of pride and joy, Alan and daughter Sara.

Following the divorce the children remained with Lynn, She never missed a beat. As a single mom she demanded respect from her children as they knew when she asked something of them they were to listen. Although Lynn was strict, her home was also filled with plenty of love. Following her divorce she continued her education by earning a degree in accounting, becoming a CPA. She worked tirelessly to provide for her children, often working multiple jobs while also raising her children. Any free time was completely committed to her children. At work Lynn was known for her strong work ethic, and she was greatly appreciated by her employers. Although there wasn't much extra money, Lynn saw to it that they created amazing family memories with things like monthly trips to the local drive-in where some of their favorite memories were made. The holidays were her favorite times of the year, especially Halloween and Christmas. These were always a big deal in Lynn’s home, and she went over and above to make them special for her children. As someone who was fully committed to her children, Lynn was not inclined to date or get involved with another man.

When her children became older and married, Lynn embraced her in-laws as her own children. Her daughter and sons-in-law considered her to be their mother, and as a grandmother she was second to none. Lynn loved nothing more than doting over her grandchildren. As she had with her own children, she encouraged them to be musical. As her diabetes progressed, Lynn became less independent. In time she lived in her children’s homes, which was such a blessing as she was an amazing help with her grandchildren. This role suited Lynn perfectly.

Although she was primarily focused on her family, her life was enriched in other ways as well. She loved being around people, bur she didn’t want to be the center of attention as she preferred just to observe. Strong in her Christian faith, Lynn had been a member at Saint Gregory’s and Saint Paul’s Episcopal Churches in Muskegon, If was her faith that gave her strength and encouragement during her final days.

All who knew Lynn Norton would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She worked hard, but she took the time to make memories with the ones she loved along the way, too. Lynn’s love for her family was easy to see, and her devotion to children and grandchildren was unmatched. Dearly loved, she will be forever missed.

Lynn Louise Norton passed away peacefully on December 5, 2018. Lynn is survived by her son, Alan (Pam) Norton and daughter, Sara (Daniel) Purcell as well as by her grandchildren Trevor, Chelsey, Sydney, Elijah and Phillip; great-grandson, Oliver; brother, Bruce (Koari) Panaccione and two nephews, Jake Kirby and Thomas Panaccione. Friends may visit the with Lynn’s family on Friday, December 14, 2018, at 10 a.m. at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, (14591 Fruit Ridge Ave. Kent City, MI 49330). A memorial service, officiated by Pastor Mike Ramsey, will follow beginning at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: American Diabetes Association's Michigan, (20700 Civic Center Drive Suite 100 Southfield, Michigan, 48076). To learn more about Lynn’s life, or to share a favorite memory or to sign the online register, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.