1922 – 2016


Words of Remembrance for Brother John Norton, FSC

Given by Brother Robert Hazard, FSC
March 23, 2016
Mass of Christian Burial
Our Lady of the Star Chapel, Narragansett, RI

“Oh, what a joy a Brother of the Christian Schools will have when he sees a great number of his students in possession of eternal happiness for which they are indebted to him by the grace of Jesus Christ.”

For no one, I believe, is this more true than Brother John Norton, whose students from Bishop Loughlin, Mater Christi, La Salle, Providence, St. Bernard’s in Connecticut and especially the kids from Ocean Tides and Tides Family Services with whom his kindness and care were so much in evidence, will welcome him into eternal life.

Brother John Norton was a man of great faith, fully committed to his vocation as a De La Salle Christian Brother. He joined the Brothers in his early 30s after having spent some years in the Air Force. His first assignment was as a teacher at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn. From there he went to Mater Christi High School in Queens where he served as Vice-Principal and Guidance Counselor. In those days he was known as Brother Conall Benedict but by the time I came to know him in Providence he was Brother John Norton. He and I used to speculate as to whether we were related since my maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Mary Norton. We never actually resolved that question.

I served as Vice-Principal with John when he was Principal of La Salle Academy from 1973 – 1976. I quickly came to know that I was working with a very fine man who was very kind, very generous, and very supportive of me as we began our three year adventure. Many of the tributes I have read attest to the fact that John was very kind and supportive to many others who were working at La Salle at that time. The 70s were difficult years at La Salle with enrollment being a major concern. John worked tirelessly to make it work.

In 1976 John decided to move on – he spent the next year at St. Bernard’s High School in Uncasville, Connecticut as a Guidance Counselor. Then in 1977 he began his legendary work at Ocean Tides and Tides Family Services. Brother Michael Reis, with whom he worked for many years, wrote this about John: “John was one of the founding members of both Ocean Tides and Tides Family Services. He was a great counselor working with both family and individuals. He did his counseling in the clients’ homes, in the community, at the Training School, and was never at a loss in dealing with difficult cases.” Family Court Judge Raymond Shawcross knew Brother John very well from his many years bringing Ocean Tides and Tides kids to the Court. He wrote: “John in his role as Family Court Liaison excelled in being of tremendous assistance to Family Court Judges. John was respected and admired by all who came in contact with him including clients, social workers, probation officers, and attorneys. He was a great listener and never harsh or judgmental. He never gave up on a boy and always had a best interest of youngsters at heart. … He was a true follower of St. John Baptist De La Salle.”

Brother Michael Reis also mentioned that Brother John was respected and admired by the young staff and “was always there to support and encourage them. They always knew John would have time to listen and to coach them.”

Brother Fred Mueller wrote that when Brother John was court liaison, “the judges had implicit trust in his good judgment. His ministry was a clear response to the Lasallian mission of service to the poor”.

John was always close to his family in Milford, Massachusetts. We are happy that so many members of the Norton family were able to be with us yesterday (and today). It was always clear to me how important John’s family was to him and it was clear that they were a family that was close.

John was an avid Red Sox and New England Patriots Fan. He was proud of his Irish heritage and he loved a nice meal out at a restaurant after a hard week’s work.

When he felt it was the right time, as his health was beginning to fail, he arranged to move to De La Salle Hall, Lincroft, NJ, where he gracefully moved into old age – always demonstrating that kindness and concern for others that had been his trademark throughout his life.

Today we bid farewell to John, uncle, friend, colleague, Brother. May he enjoy forever that joy St. La Salle wrote about now that he has entered eternal life.

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Brother John Norton, FSC

Born John Joseph Norton in Milford, MA, on May 8, 1922

Entered the Barrytown, NY, Novitiate on June, 30, 1953

Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Conall Benedict, on September 7, 1953

Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Barrytown, NY, on August 19, 1959

Br. John died at De La Salle Hall, Lincroft, NJ, on March 18, 2016


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Viewing from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Christian Brothers Center Community (Blue Room)
635 Ocean Road
Narragansett, RI 02882-1314

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am

Our Lady of the Star Chapel
Christian Brothers Center
635 Ocean Road
Narragansett, RI 02882-1314

Burial in Brothers’ cemetery
Lunch following



District: 50 masses
De La Salle Hall community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass

Brother John passed away peacefully at De La Salle Hall after several days in hospice care. May he rest in peace.


Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School

sub director; vice principal
Astoria, NY
Mater Christi High School

director; guidance
Astoria, NY
Mater Christi High School

teacher; guidance
Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Uncasville, CT
St. Bernard High School

family counselor
Narragansett, RI
Ocean Tides

family counselor
West Warwick, RI
Tides Family Services

Narragansett, RI
Christian Brothers Center

Lincroft, NJ
De La Salle Hall