Michael Norton

April 21, 2023

CHARLOTTE – Michael Norton, 78, passed away on Friday, April 21, 2023.  He was born on May 4, 1944, in Denver, CO and grew up in the small town of Henderson, NC.

Upon graduating from Henderson High School at the top of his class in 1962, Michael chose to pursue service and an engineering degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point and joined the class of 1967 — “the Class that None Shall Surpass”.  It was at West Point that he forged his closest, lifelong friendships and met Donna Norton (nee Ciccone) — the love of his life.

Following graduation, he served in Vietnam as the executive officer of Battery A, 1st Battalion Airborne, 320th Artillery of the 82nd Airborne Division. As a Lieutenant assigned to the 101st Airborne, he earned the Silver Star — the United States Armed Forces’ third highest award for valor.  He won this award in addition to a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service, a Bronze Star Medal with “V” for valor, an Air Medal, two Army Commendation Medals for meritorious service, and one Army Commendation Medal for valor amongst several others.

Returning from war, Michael married Donna at Fort Belvoir, VA, and went on to train as a physician at Wake Forest Bowman Gray School of Medicine.  He later accepted a role as an anesthesiologist in Charlotte at Presbyterian Hospital after completing 21 years of service with the US Army, retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1988.

Michael’s love for his work came second only to his love for his family (although the latter led the former by a country mile).  He was the proud father of Erin (Gaston Bates) and Zach (Liza Cortright) and the adoring Poppy of Tucker, Cooper, and Nolan Bates. There was nothing that he enjoyed more than watching his children and grandchildren’s sporting events from the sidelines — going so far as to attend a JV football game immediately following knee surgery.

Michael lived each day as though the bounty of his life was afforded to him not by his hard work, sweat, and sacrifice, but by precious good luck.  He was kind to his peers, patient with his juniors, and generous to strangers.  It was his family that he treasured most, giving them every opportunity and privilege he could not have while growing up.

In the words of Dr. Andrew Bernstein, “the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen.” Michael Norton was the hero who broke through every barrier in his path to choose love.

Michael is survived by Donna Norton, his wife of 53 years along with his children and grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 13, 2023, in the Belk Chapel at Queens University, 2234 Radcliffe Avenue, Charlotte, NC.  A reception will follow in Queens Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Michael to Achieve Tahoe,  PO Box 8339, Truckee, CA 96162 (https://www.achievetahoe.org/) or Memory and Movement Charlotte, 411 Billingsley Road #103, Charlotte, NC 28211 (https://www.mmclt.org/donate/).

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.


Share your memories & condolences


  • Karen and Joe Ashwal

    Dear Donna and Family,

    We have only the best of memories of the two of you and your young children. As one of the younger married couples at Bowman Gray we looked up to both of you. How you managed to navigate marriage, children and med school. WOW!
    Michael was often a calming influence during the our education. His quiet leadership was welcome during training.
    Wishing only the best,

    Karen and Joe

  • Braxton and Dinah Barrett

    Dear Donna and family, Dinah and I wish to express our sincere sympathy for your loss. Mike was very helpful to us when our son applied to Wake Forest med school and we are very grateful. He was a good, friendly man with whom we enjoyed visiting and our country owes him, and you, a debt of gratitude. May God comfort and console you.
    Dinah and Braxton Barrett

  • Douglas J Pringle

    loved the guy!!
    Thank you for asking folks to remember him with a gift to Achieve Tahoe, my life's work.