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Ethel Virginia Norton

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“Miss Norton was my P.E. teacher in junior high school. She was one of 2 of my all time favorite teachers. She taught me in 1969-1971. After all...Read More »
1 of 14 | Posted by: Debra K. Johnson - boston, MA

“My thoughts & prayers go out to Ethel's entire family. It has been some time since I last saw Ethel, but have always remembered her. She was a very...Read More »
2 of 14 | Posted by: Heidi Escobedo - San Antonio, TX

“Our entire family has a special place in our hearts for Miss Norton. She taught my sister, two brothers and me to swim at the San Antonio Country...Read More »
3 of 14 | Posted by: Melinda Wingerter Keenan - Boerne, TX

“I will miss this dear godly woman. She would say "Tell me about your church" then say "Keep doing good work for God for that is where happiness and...Read More »
4 of 14 | Posted by: Jan Hansen - San Antonio, TX

“What a great lady. She taught me how to swim at the SACC and my mother before me. I worked under her guidance as a swim instructor and lifeguard for...Read More »
5 of 14 | Posted by: Melissa Young - San Antonio, TX

“I'm so sorry to hear this news. Ethel will always be remembered like family to all the Walthalls. She gave me my first job as a swimming teacher at...Read More »
6 of 14 | Posted by: Sarah Walthall Norris - TX

“Miss Norton was an inspiration to many. My thoughts and prayers are with all who knew and loved her. ”
7 of 14 | Posted by: Laura Kirby Schoppe - TX

“Ethel Norton was a wonderful and kind person and a great friend for so many years. Misunderstood by many, there were no gray areas in her life. It...Read More »
8 of 14 | Posted by: Max Wier - San Antonio, TX

“I had the privilege of working for Miss Norton at the SACC pool for five years in the late 60s. I've been forever grateful for the experience. What a...Read More »
9 of 14 | Posted by: Dan E. Crutchfield - San Antonio, TX

“How fondly I remember sharing "tickle water" duties with Mizz Norton! She was a true force of nature and will be deeply missed by the generations of...Read More »
10 of 14 | Posted by: Martha Kirby Capo - Cedar Rapids, IA

“I owe my love of swimming to you. Thank you and God bless. ”
11 of 14 | Posted by: TED SETHNESS - DENVER, CO

“Ethel Norton was a great lady and long time friend. Nearly 60 years ago Ethel and I won the T.A.A.F. mixed doubles in Galveston TX. I have the trophy...Read More »
12 of 14 | Posted by: Bill Bennett - Garden Ridge, TX

“Many thanks to a wonderful lady! My childhood memories are full of summers spent taking swimming lessons with Miss Norton at the San Antonio Country...Read More »
13 of 14 | Posted by: Melissa Baird - San Antonio, TX

“Debbie, You and Suzanne are in my thoughts and prayers. I think Ethel was fortunate to have had two such devoted and loving nieces. ”
14 of 14 | Posted by: Margaret Boehme - San Antonio, TX


Ethel Virginia Norton died peacefully on November 27, 2009 at the age of 87.

A life-long resident of San Antonio, she was born on July 2, 1922 to Dr. and Mrs. A.E. Norton. Ethel was devoted to her family, friends, church, country, the Dallas Cowboys and her pets – all generations of "Kittys", Panda Bears and her beloved Whoopie.

Ethel was best known for her love of sports, especially tennis, which fostered a life-long athletic career on and off the court.

Ethel treasured her years as a teacher with the San Antonio Independent School District and as Summer Program Director for the San Antonio Country Club, where she taught many children how to swim, dive and enjoy the thrill of July 4th swim meets and mandatory "tickle water" drops at the end of every lesson.

Ethel Norton graduated from Jefferson High School in 1941. She was the State Interscholastic League Girls' Singles Champion two years in a row in 1939 and 1940. Her high school success led to a full tennis scholarship at Highpoint College in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Ethel went on to win numerous city, state, regional and national tennis tournaments in both singles and doubles, remaining a dominant figure in the sport of tennis during this time period.

In 1953, she was ranked #1 in Women's Singles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles by the Texas Lawn Tennis Association and ranked as high as #17 in the U.S. in Women's Singles and #3 in U.S. Women's Doubles by the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. She and doubles partner, Althea Gibson, were ranked fifth in the nation by the United States Lawn Tennis Association and competed against such notables as Maureen Connelly and Doris Hart.

Highlights of Ethel's career included being voted "San Antonio Women Athlete of the Year" in 1954 and induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

As a long time educator with San Antonio Independent School District and having spent over 30 years teaching physical education to SAISD students, she was able to share her experiences and love of tennis with children who otherwise might never have had the opportunity to play. The success of former students always provided a great deal of personal satisfaction and many of her former students kept in contact with her throughout their lives.

Ethel was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church where she volunteered with the CAM ministry, church bookstore, and Sunday school class. Her faith in God and love of church, family and friends were the cornerstones of her life. She was a role model to many and loved and admired by all who knew her.

Ethel was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. & Mrs. A. E. Norton, brothers A.W. Dub Norton, Marshall Hopkins Norton, James Baldwin Norton, Huard Hargis Norton, Jack Norton, Stewart Norton and one sister, Mary Jane Saathoff.

She is survived by her brother, Dr. A.E. Earl Norton, Jr. of San Diego, CA, sister-in-laws Jo Marie Norton of Lago Vista, TX and Ann Norton of San Antonio; nieces Debbie Norton, Suzanne Norton, and Karla Bagster of San Antonio, Wendy Reed of Shreveport, LA, Kris Wright of San Diego, CA; nephews Mike Norton and Dr. Jon Norton of San Diego, CA and numerous grand nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to First Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Alamo, or the San Antonio Humane Society.