Phil Norton


Phillip Carl Norton, “Phil,” community volunteer, consultant, business owner, college professor, retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, and loving husband and father died Tueday, May 31, 2022 at the age of 83. Raised in poverty in the Lathrop public housing project on the northside of Chicago, he excelled in athletics and succeeded in academics, the military, business, industry, and became a valuable volunteer contributor to the Oklahoma City Community.

Phil graduated from Lake View High School, Chicago, in 1957 and earned an athletic scholarship to Colorado State University for football and track. Returning home in 1958, he began working as a foundry laborer. In 1960 Phillip enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and in 1962 was selected for the Naval Enlisted Scientific Education Program at the University of Kansas. While at KU he played football, wrestled, played club rugby, and started the KU sport-parachute club. While still an undergraduate, he was selected for a graduate teaching assistantship.

Upon graduation in 1966 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and after six months at Quantico, VA was assigned as a rifle platoon commander in H Company, 26th Marines in Viet Nam. The Marines of H Company were the finest Marines with whom Phil would serve.

While at Quantico he met Carol Fuge of Buffalo NY, the love of his life, whom he married in March 1968.

Phillip’s Marine Corps service brought him to California, back to Vietnam, Virginia, D.C., North Carolina, the Far East, Europe, and the Mediterranean. He earned two Bronze Star Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and the Vietnamese Honor Medal First Class for valorous action, among many other awards. Wounded in action on three separate occasions, he earned three Purple Heart Medals. His most memorable tour of duty was as an infantry battalion advisor to the courageous warriors of the Vietnamese Marine Corps in 1972. While in the Marine Corps, Phil earned a Master of Systems Management degree from the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.

Retiring in 1980, Phil began his second career in industry and academia. Initially hired as a systems engineer to help develop the first generation battlefield management systems for the Norden Systems Division of United Technologies Corporation, he rapidly rose to logistics engineering program manager. Nominated by his company, Phil attended the University of New Haven and earned an Executive MBA. He also began teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in the College of Business.

During the 1980s, Phil began a 23-year advocation in folk music, wherein he learned to play the guitar and sing folk songs. After moving to Oklahoma, he performed as a member of the Oklahoma Traditions.

 In 1991, Phillip was recruited to Stillwater, OK, for a logistics engineering management position with Frontier Electronic Systems, Inc. In 1993 he took a position as the technology transfer specialist for Oklahoma State University until his retirement in 2004. Phil also taught management courses at the University of Phoenix and the University of Central Oklahoma.

Moving to Oklahoma City in 2003, Phillip founded the Norton Management Group dedicated to assisting small technology enterprises in transitioning innovative scientific and engineering concepts into successful business ventures. He became actively involved in local volunteer activities, including the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), The Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Traditional Music Association, Judge in the Donald J. Reynolds Annual Collegiate Business Plan Competition, and Admissions Interviewer for the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.

Additionally, Phil was a founding board member of the U.S. Marine Corps Advisors Association headquartered in Houston, TX. As a volunteer consultant,  trustee, and Chairman of the Board of the Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma, he proudly assisted numerous Central Oklahoma nonprofit corporations. Phillip is survived by his loving wife, Carol, and his daughters Danielle Leigh Atchley, Laurel Dawn Norton, and grandson Jackson Wesley Atchley, all in Oklahoma City. Phillip will be remembered in a private family service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to honor the memory of Capt. Phillip C. Norton to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, 3800 Fettler Park Dr., Suite 104, Dumfries, VA 22025.