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Dorothy Norris

Loving mother and grandmother, traveler, artist

Dorothy Drake Norris, a longtime Claremont resident, died peacefully on October 8, 2013 at the Claremont Manor. She was 94.

Mrs. Norris, known affectionately as Dottie, was born on August 28, 1919 in Newark, New Jersey to Raymond and Emilie Drake, both descendants of one of the original land grant families in Newark. She graduated from Pine Manor College in Wellesley, Massachusetts after studying home economics and participating in the drama club where she served as president, the beginning of many leadership roles.

When she was 16, she met her future husband, Bill Creasey. After Mr. Creasey graduated from Brown University, they married in 1941 and then headed west to California, settling in Pasadena.  After Mr. Creasey served in the war they returned to Pasadena, starting a family three years later. Their daughter Lynn was born in 1948, followed by a son, Tad, in 1951. With an expanding family, they headed east to Covina where Dottie enjoyed raising her family, making many lifelong friends and volunteering for Covina Hospital with the Women’s Auxiliary, serving as president.

In 1958, when an opportunity to open a business in Claremont presented itself, Dottie and Mr. Creasey started The Rack, a men’s clothing store in the newly-built Arcade shops across from the post office. The family moved to Claremont in 1958 where she continued her volunteer work, serving as president for both the Foothill Country Day School Mother’s Club and for the Scripps Fine Arts Association. After Mr. Creasey died unexpectedly in 1959, Dottie continued to run The Rack, adding Little League sponsor to her list of community service.

She met Ed Norris in 1961 and, after a whirlwind romance, they married, and her life of adventure took off. Both loved to travel, and travel to the four corners of the world they did. Mrs. Norris warmly embraced her new sons, Bill, Craig and Alan Norris, and touched their families with her inclusive love. In 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Norris moved to La Jolla. After many years of fascination with Mexico, they found a home in Mazatlan and then enjoyed life as expats for eight years. Later while living in Rancho Santa Fe, Mrs. Norris, a member of the Village Church, actively participated in the Crafty Ladies and served as moderator of the deacons.

Mr. Norris passed in 1996 and, facing difficult health issues, Mrs. Norris moved back to Claremont in 2004 where she enjoyed many years at the Claremont Manor. Now close to her children, both residents of Claremont, she saw them and her grandchildren often and participated in the many activities at the Manor. Art class, Spanish, the gift shop: all filled her schedule as well as serving on the residents’ board. She also joined PEO and renewed her membership in Claremont Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Norris’ life was full and rich and, though she faced lifelong health issues, she never complained. She loved her family, friends, playing golf and watching sports, especially football.  She inspired all who knew her and will be remembered for her smile, grace, honesty, loyalty and her positive outlook, family shared.

Mrs. Norris is survived by her children and their spouses, Lynn and Kent Miller, Tad and Jan Creasey and Bill and Adrian Norris. She also leaves 11 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Following a private burial, a memorial service was held at Todd Memorial Chapel in Claremont on October 14.

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