Carol Norton

We will miss her so.

As a child in the 1940s, Carol Norton was told by doctors not to expect to live a very long life. Stern-willed and determined to succeed, she proved the doctors woefully wrong, living not only a long life, but one filled with a loving family, countless adventures, many loves, and spanning nearly nine decades.

Carol passed away peacefully at home on Vashon Island at the age of 88 years, on March 21, 2024. At an early age, two bouts ofrheumatic fever had left her young heart seriously damaged. She was warned by her physicians of the era against partaking in too much physical activity. Their counsel turned hertoward a lifelong affinity for books,reading and writing. She possessed penmanship skills that would be the envy of any scribe in any King’s court. She became especially fond of writing poetry and enjoyed poetry her entire life.

Carol Ann Wilson was born on Christmas Day 1935, the first child of Mildred (Freeman) Wilson and Clarence Wilson. She was named to commemorate the auspicious day of her birth. Carol was joined in later years by two brothers, Donald and Jerry.

Growing up running through the peach orchards of Banning Heights in California, as well as through her uncle’s citrus groves in Riverside, Carol developed a keen interest in gardening and farming. She attended Polytechnic High School in Riverside, CA, and graduated in 1953. After graduation, Carol crossed town to enroll at Riverside College where she then met and fell in love with the aspiring architect Neil William MacLean. After a whirlwind romance they married in 1954 and went on to have four children. They divorced in 1972.

Carol was varied in her employment. She was able to apply her writing skills to various occupations including as secretary at a concrete plant, working in the Riverside elections department, and many years in the agriculture department at UC Riverside. It was in the agriculture department that she rediscovered her love of working with plants and growing fruit.

After moving to Blaine, Washington, in 1979, Carol began work on what she described as one of her greatest accomplishments, a traditional Japanese teahouse built over a stream bed in a setting of Japanese maple trees.The tableau was made complete with the addition of a shishi-odoshi, a traditional water-powered device used to frighten deer from the garden.

When not digging in her garden Carol pursued work as a travel agent, as a realtor, was an active member of the community library and Chamber of Commerce, produced a localradio news program, and even dabbled in local politics,running for State Representative of the 42nd District.

It was in her capacity as a radio news host that she met and interviewed Dr. Robert Norton, director of the Washington State University Northwest Washington Research and Extension Center. The interview piqued a great deal of interest in one another and so began their romantic relationship, a combined interest in fruit and gardening paving the way.

Carol and Bob married in 1993. They moved to Wenatchee, Washington, to be nearer the epicenter of the apple-growing industry and formed the consulting companyAppleCorps. Together they enjoyed many years travelling across the United States as well as countries abroad, meeting fruit growers and visiting gardens and orchards. Carol became a Master Gardener and was an active participant with the Master Gardener Conventions at the state level. She was also instrumental in writing new apple patents for their consulting clients.

During this time, Carol discovered quilting and outfitted each grandchild with a hand-crafted quilt of their own, often with matching pillowcases. Her many mini-quilt “Flat Stanleys” were especially enjoyed by family and friends. She also contributed to the production of American Hero quilts on Vashon Island.

In the early 2000’s Carol and Bob packed up their orchard ladders and moved to Vashon Island to be closerto grandkids and family.

The move gave Carol the opportunity to plan and plant yet another new garden, landscaping, and orchards. During her time on Vashon, Carol greatly enjoyed volunteering at Grannies, as well as serving on the Sunrise Ridge Board.

We will miss her so.

Carol is survived by her daughter, Catherine MacLean (Mike Urban), sons, Bruce MacLean, and Neil MacLean. Her brother, Donald Wilson (Celia), grandchildren, Camryn Urban, Kjell Urban, Jessica MacLean, and great grandchild Cassidy Sharper, Paul Norton (Manu), Dave Norton (Lu), Rick Norton (Lacie), Rob Norton (Brigitte), Susan Krueger (Ross), and multiple Norton grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert A. Norton, son, Stuart MacLean, and brother, Jerry Wilson.