Virginia Norton, First Director at NEWS, Dies
Virginia Estelle Norton was born in Meagher County, Montana, on July 14, 1938, to Alma Rankin and John E. Norton. She passed away peacefully on Sept. 9, 2014. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, and her husband, Robert Starr Northrop III. She is survived by her sons, Vince Stark and Frank Tibbens (his wife, Leah Tibbens); her step sons, Steve Wahl, Rick Protz (his wife, Glady Protz), Andy Protz and Rob Northrop (his wife, Laura Jane Northrop); her four grandchildren (Annie, Jane, Sloane and Frankie); and three great-grandchildren (Percy, Spencer and Rosie).
Virginia was an activist, and worked with tireless energy to improve the lives of women, children and families both in Napa and beyond. In the 1970s, she helped to lead Napa Freeze, a local peace group focusing on eliminating nuclear weapons and military proliferation. She was active in the valley’s feminist women’s community, supporting women candidates and various local and national social justice issues.
Virginia attended the Third International Women’s Year Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. She worked with autistic children at Napa State Hospital, taught and trained teachers for Head Start, and taught assertive communication classes at Napa Valley College.
In 1981, Virginia was hired as the first director of Napa Emergency Women’s Services. Working with their board of directors and the community, she grew that agency toward the success that it is now. Later, she worked through NCCEO and Napa County Human Services to assist single mothers in increasing their self-sufficiency and gaining sustainable employment.
Virginia’s commitment to serving her community was accomplished with tireless energy, grace and joy. She loved life, family, friends, her community and social justice. She contributed a lasting legacy in each of those areas. She will be remembered and missed.
The family would like to say a special "thank you" to the dedicated and caring staff at The Meadows in Napa, Primrose in Santa Rosa and The Oaks in Petaluma for the many years of support and exemplary care that they gave to Virginia. We could not have done it without you, and we will forever be grateful for your caring ways, and for the support that you offered us.
No funeral services, but a celebration of Virginia’s life will be held in early spring.
(Reprinted from The Napa Valley Register)