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George Kennon Norris, loving husband and father, age 89, passed away on August 2, 2018 in the Hartley Community Memorial Health Center in Hartley, Iowa. Ken passed after a struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Ken was born in Kearney, Nebraska, on April 16, 1929 to George and Mable Norris (Nieman). He was raised on the farm, which remains in the family to this day. Ken graduated from Chapman High School in Chapman, NE and graduated with a BA in Education from Kearney State College (University of Nebraska) at Kearney, NE. Ken was married to Margaret Mae Schlagel (Peg) on May 20, 1951 in Culbertson, Nebraska. During their 67 years of marriage, they had four children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He started his teaching career in Kansas as a high school industrial arts and bookkeeping teacher and sports coach. Shortly there after he was drafted into the Army and served in Japan during the Korean Conflict.
After discharge, he became a sales manager for Steckley Genetic Giant Seed Corn for 10 years, starting a new territory in Spencer in 1955. In 1961 he transitioned to selling insurance with Don Peters and ultimately landed in the job that was meant for him - selling real estate with Pearsall Realty. He retired from Spencer Realty in 2010. He was an innovator and developed numerous condominium complexes and office buildings in Spencer and the Iowa Great Lakes. Better Homes and Gardens inducted Ken into the National Broker Hall of Fame in 1996. He was Iowa Great Lakes Realtor of the year in 2001. Real estate was not a job for Ken because it was his passion and he enjoyed every day because he had the privilege of helping people find their perfect home.
Ken was a charter member for the Y’s Men Club, Ambassadors and Kiwanis Day Break Club and was an active member for each of these organizations. Ken was also a strong community member involved in the Grace Methodist Church and other various organizations. He was an avid supporter of Spencer business development.
He worked tirelessly for the Y’s Men Club and was instrumental in restoring Johnson’s Grocery after it was moved to the Clay County Fairgrounds to be used for a Nutty Bar stand.
Ken enjoyed his hobbies of fishing, hunting and golfing as well as working out at the Y. He played pitch at the Spencer Golf and Country Club for years and won more than he lost. He was particularly fond of his grandchildren. He did everything in life with a smile, a laugh, humor and sometimes an off-color joke. He had a heartfelt enthusiasm and passion to help people. He made friends where ever he went and always lent a helping hand to those in need. We miss him!
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Peg Norris, Spencer, IA; his children Deb Norris, Denver, CO; Sandy and Dick Murray, Seattle, WA; Jenny and Kevin Zalaznik, Spencer, IA; and Kyle and Diedra Norris, Spencer IA; his grandchildren Drew and Rebecca Hjelm, Deerfield, WI; Andrew Murray, Seattle, WA; Alex Murray, Seattle, WA; and Katy and Grant Taylor, Williamsburg, IA; and three great grandchildren: Nicholas, Elizabeth and Maren Hjelm; as well as his sister-in-law, Margie Perren, Spencer, IA
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Clay County Heritage Center and Parker Museum.
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