Nicholas Norris
1936 - 2021
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Norris, Nicholas

Nicholas Norris, 84, died on January 5, 2021 at Brookdale Spruce Woods Assisted Living in Durham, N.H. where he had been living for the last three and a half months. He was born in 1936, the first son of Guy Holden Norris of Brookline, Massachusetts and Lucy Sturgis Codman of South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He grew up in South Natick, Massachusetts and later in Westwood where his parents settled in 1945. In 1954 He graduated from Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard University, did a stint in the US Army in California, and graduated from Boston University. He went on to earn two master degrees from B.U., one in African Studies and another in Social Work. In 1967 he moved to Chicago where he worked his way up to being an adjudicator in the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Nick had many passions: opera; train travel; camping; canoeing; hiking and walking New Hampshire's White Mountains (especially Waterville Valley), Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin's Door County. He was a member of the Outings Club of Chicago and led many hikes. He also was an active and ardent member of the Sierra Club. Nick was obsessed with politics, national and local. Whenever he met someone new, he'd ask where they were from and immediately know not only who their congress persons were but the voting records as well. He spent countless hours phone banking and often travelled out of state to support worthy candidates. He considered himself an FDR Democrat and was as an early member of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society. Nick was fervent about theater and opera, subscribing to season tickets at two Chicago opera companies. He particularly loved Wagner's Ring Cycle. He adored train travel, much preferring rails to airways. Although he had deep roots in New England, Nick grew to love Chicago over the fifty-four years he resided there. After retirement he traveled as much as he could, including two trips to the Lake District in Northern England, and a train trip through Germany (where had travelled as a teenage student) to see how things looked "rebuilt after the war." By far his most epic train trip was through Norway where he got as far as the Arctic circle. He was particularly proud of being interviewed in a promotional film featuring his thoughts on rail travel in the US and Europe. Nick is survived by two brothers and their wives: Christopher and Kathleen and Timothy and Susan of East Andover NH; nieces and nephews— Toby (Alisa, Montclair, NJ); Shanda (Andrew, Leavenworth, WA); Josh (Sue, Andover, NH); Matthew, (partner Kelly, Seattle, WA); and honorary niece Bronwen Shoard (Teaneak, NJ). Nick also leaves eleven grand nieces and nephews. Uncle Nick was a beloved fixture in all of our lives, visiting every Christmas and summer break from "Chi Town" as he affectionately called Chicago. In September 2020 he moved to NH because of health issues. Although initially reluctant to leave the Midwest and the loving support of Carra, Sandy, and Kathi and the kind staff of Ann Sather's (where he ate many a meal), and the immensely generous Tom Tunney and Adolpho, — despite leaving all this love behind, he admitted "It's good to be back in NH." We are deeply grateful to the staffs both at Lake View Brookdale (Chicago) and Brookdale Spruce Wood, (Durham) along with the Wentworth Hospice Team. We will forever miss Nick— his guileless honesty, his political savvy, his wonderful verbal imitations of Winston Churchill and F.D.R., but most of all his kindness. Direct Cremation of the Seacoast is in charge of arrangements. Donations may be made to Amedisys Foundation, c/o Wentworth Hospice Care, 9 Andrews Road, Somersworth, New Hampshire 03878.

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Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 12, 2021.
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11 entries
January 14, 2021
I Ioved this man. So passionate about getting the world right. We would talk for hours...of course it always began with Nick putting my feet to the fire on an issue or a vote i was about to take. Rest well, sweet Prince. You had a good run.
Sara Feigenholtz, State Senator
January 14, 2021
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susan eslick
January 14, 2021
He was a great friend to hike with because of his wealth of knowledge. Outdoor gear to politics to opera. But my favorite was political gab. It was discussion of different opinions and kind, but sometimes loud, debate. We need moreNicks in the world. A toast to my winter cabin friend. I will tread lightly as I hike our great outdoors. Peace, nick.
Darkene Shue Feldpausch
January 13, 2021
Nick was and is a great guy. He was always kind to everyone he met. He was always interested in asking deep insightful questions from people to get to know them better and was genuinely an amazing friend. He will be missed.
Alonso Zaragoza
January 13, 2021
So sad to hear of Nick's passing. I have such fond memories of Nick through many progressive political campaigns and a shared trade union background.
Nick was a shop steward when I was the president of the union that represented our agencies workers in the Illinois Dept. of Labor. We quickly discovered that we had a mutual interest in reform, progressive politics. I think I've lost count of the number of campaigns we each worked on.
Nick's commitment to justice never wavered, he was always on the side of the angels.
Your words in this notice were very touching-worthy of the decency that Nick always displayed. I'm glad the he was able to end his days in the place that he loved.
A good man to the end, he will be missed
Paul Waterhouse
January 13, 2021
To all of Nick's family, please accept my condolences on Nick's passing. I have known Nick since 1979 when we both joined the newly formed Outings Club of Chicago. Early on, he presented a proposal for a backpacking trip going hut to hut in the New Hampshire mountains, including staying at the hut on Mount Washington. I was impressed with his knowledge and enthusiasm for this trip, which unfortunately did not take place for reasons I can't remember. I was also impressed by Nick's ability to recognize trees, even in winter when their leaves were gone; I have enough trouble identifying them *with* leaves. Nick was a good friend and he will be missed.
Bob Acker
January 13, 2021
I had the pleasure of meeting Nick at Chief O’Neils. I always enjoyed seeing you!
Rest In Peace.
Jennifer Arguello
January 12, 2021
Nick truly was one of a kind!
What made membership in OCC so special was the fact that this diverse group of people shared common experiences (camping, biking, canoeing) and challenges (weather, physical discomfort, getting lost) and really got to know each other. We became friends with people whose personalities could be quite different from our own - and we were better for it!

So my "Nick story" is about an OCC trip I took to Alaska with Nancy (our trip leader) and Nick.
We flew in to Anchorage, spent a few days at a B&B there, and then took the Alaska Railroad train trip to Denali.
As we prepared to head out for some backcountry camping the 3 of us went through our supplies, deciding what we should carry with us and what we should leave behind in a storage locker.

When we saw what Nick had decided to bring Nancy & I were ALL OVER him!
He hadn't packed anywhere near enough food for several days of camping.
But he HAD packed a razor and aerosol can of shaving creme.
We immediately set that to rights! (Some good natured mockery was involved.)

A few days later we'd finished that part of our stay in Denali & were considering heading to another area of the park for a final day or two.
But we realized that Nick, who was a HUGE fan of train rides, had been talking wistfully about the fact that the train we'd taken to Denali actually continued further north to Fairbanks.
We suggested that he should ditch the two of us, take the train to Fairbanks, spend a night there, and ride back down the next day.
He was really happy to head off and have that small adventure on his own.

Great memories!

Cathy Rady
January 12, 2021
Nick and I took two vacations together. One to the Lake District in England and one to Acadia National Park where I met his two brothers. Nick loved hiking. I also recall that he would forget things, most noticeably his hat, whether on the breakfast table at the B & B or on the seat of the ferry. I learned to always check our surroundings. His discussions about politics are legendary and I would call him for his input on local races as we were in the same district. He used a walker in his later years but didn't let that slow him down. He continued hiking with the walker. Back in the 1980's Nick led an annual camping trip to Door County. It was getting dark as a car full of OCC'ers (Outings Club of Chicago) got close to Sturgeon Bay, WI and the gas gauge on the car was getting low. Nick said not to worry there was a gas station up ahead. It was closed! We were so low on gas we pulled into the parking lot of a motel and slept in the car or on the ground that night. We got up the next day and continued on, with a full tank of gas, none the worse for wear. Of course we were much younger then. There will always be memories of Nick. See you later buddy.
Nancy Babiarz
January 12, 2021
We remember Nick from our spirited discussions during our ethnic dinner outings. He was the most scholarly among us, and even though we didn't always agree with his view, he generated (and seemed to be a behind-the-scenes moderator) for listening to everyone's ideas. His dedication to the individuals he knew and trusted included us, OCC members, and for that, Gene and I were happy to be included. It seems that always, at some point during our get-togethers, someone will always ask, "Has anyone heard from Nick?" Now it will be, "Remember Nick?" and we will.
Pattie & Gene Banas
January 11, 2021
I met Nick thru the Outings club of Chicago.
We shared several trips and good times.
Rest in Peace, old friend, you will be missed.
Jim Sandstrom
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