Bill "Tomato Bill" Norton

William James Norton was born on November 15, 1950 in Monroe.   He was one of six children born from the union of the late William Paul and Althea Betty (Cairl) Norton.   He would attend Erie Mason High School.

Bill was an avid and very talented lifelong bowler.   For thirty years, he was employed in maintenance at Nortel Lanes.   He was a constant fixture and a jack of all trades at the bowling alley.   Over the course of his career, he would bowl several 300 games, and his accomplishments even landed him a place in bowling history, being installed in the State of Michigan Bowling Hall of Fame.  

Most importantly, however, bowling led Bill to meeting the love of his life at Nortel, the former, Patricia Ann Cormier.   The couple exchanged nuptials on July 27, 2001.   A man of strong Christian faith, William, received his spiritual nourishment attending the North Monroe Street Church of God and later Lakeside Missionary Baptist Church.

For many years he served as an Assistant Basketball Coach for the Erie Mason Eagles. “Tomato Bill” as he was best known, earned his nickname from the amazing garden he cultivated each year.   He hade even been featured in the Monroe News for his indoor, basement tomoato garden.    He enjoyed pickling, canning, and of course sharing his harvest with those around him.   He made some of the best sauerkraut imaginable.

Bill was known for his easy-going and loving personality and he was well-liked and respected.   He loved to travel, taking road trips with his bride Up North, riding around to see the scenery.   For the past few years, Bill, had been employed by Groulx Automotive as a driver.   What a fitting position!   From time to time he did enjoy kicking back and puttin up his feet.

William, age 70, of Monroe passed away on Friday; February 12, 2021 at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital.   In addition to his parents his passing was preceded by four siblings:  Helen Cotton and Susan, Johnny, and Ronald Norton; and one granddaughter: Mariah.

To cherish his memory, he leaves his wife of nearly twenty years: Patricia of Monroe; a son: Jimmy Norton; two stepsons:  Derrick (Jamie) Penrod of Toledo and Joshua Wiseman of Idaho; a brother: Lee Durham of Chicago, Illinois; seven step grandchildren:  Brianna, Ryiker, Joshua, Marissa, Tyler, Kaylee, and Kaitlyn; three step great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.  

Friends may gather on Thursday; February 18, 2021 from 10:30am-11:00am at Merkle Funeral Service, North Monroe; 2442 North Monroe Street, Monroe, Michigan 48162 (734) 384-5185.   A Worship Service Celebrating his Life will follow at 11:00am with Pastor Rick Massingill officiating.   Procession will follow to Roselawn.   Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the State of Michigan’s mandates, guests will be limited in number, face coverings are required to enter the facility and no food or beverages will be permitted in the building.

Online guests may visit