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Dr. Max C. Norton
Max Norton at the Wharf

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Dr. Max C Norton died Tuesday, February 21 at Kaiser Hospital. He had celebrated his 92nd birthday on Monday, February 20. Max was born in Rigby, Idaho in 1920; he was one of eight children who worked on dairy farms, fruit orchards, and the canneries. Max graduated from Oakdale High School at age 16. He then earned his Associate of Arts Degree from Modesto Junior College, both the Bachelor and Masters of Arts Degrees from the University of the Pacific, and his Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Denver.
Max served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was assigned to both the Pacific and American Theaters. He was awarded the Distinguish Conduct Medal.
Following his military service and obtaining of university degrees, Dr. Norton had a long and distinguished career in education. He taught for Modesto City Schools as the Director of the Speech Program in his early career. He served the majority of his profession as Professor of Speech and Language Pathology at California State University, Stanislaus, where he was one of the original faculty to develop programs and instruction at the Stanislaus County Fair Grounds. After earning the position of Full Professor, he became the Dean of Arts and Humanities and then returned as the Department Chair of Speech Communication Department. He founded the Stanislaus Speech and Hearing Center, which was later renamed the Max Norton Speech and Hearing Center. Dr. Norton retired as Professor Emeritus in 1987.
While in retirement, Dr. Norton continued clinical work and instruction at the University of the Pacific and Ohio University as a Visiting Professor. Additionally, he served many years on the Executive Board of the California State University Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association. Max worked in real-estate development and was the owner of farmland. In his spare time, he made large, customized stained-glass windows for his home and published a trilogy of historical fiction novels, entitled The Alice Saga. He was a world traveler and led numerous workshops as a leading researcher in his field in many countries.
Max was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served in several callings, including Branch President of the Modesto 12th Branch where he provided spiritual leadership for members of the deaf community. He was also a member of the Stanislaus County Boy Scout Committee, the Turlock Rotary Club, and served as the President of the Sons-in-Retirement, Branch 144.
Max is survived by his sons Maxwell Norton and his wife Diane Norton of Merced, Gale Norton and his wife Debbie Norton of Modesto, and daughter Jenni Sahlman and her husband James Sahlman also of Modesto. He was preceded in death by his wife, Adrianna Norton, and his young son Robin Norton. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Thys Norton and his wife Sunny Norton of Seattle, Washington, Linnea Norton of San Luis Obispo, and Jeremy Norton, Justin Norton, Adrianna Sahlman, Jonathan Sahlman, and Emily Sahlman, all of Modesto.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, February 28 at 11:00 a.m. in the LDS Chapel at 4300 Dale Road in Modesto.
Contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to: CSU, Stanislaus Foundation-Norton, c/o Justine Borba, One University Circle, Turlock, CA 95382. Contributions will be used to benefit students majoring in Communication Studies.