(Updated 8/29/2014)–Edward W. Norton, former husband of D.C. Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton and past chairman of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics passed away Aug. 28 from colon cancer, according to his family. He was born in New York, N.Y and was 76-years old. ”He had a generous soul and love of interaction with people that were the hallmarks of his character,” the family said in a statement emailed to the AFRO Aug. 29. “While the massive void in our lives will be felt immensely, we feel privileged to have known him and always felt his love for us. As George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘Life is not a ‘brief candle’. It is a splendid torch that I want to make burn as brightly as possible before handing on to future generations.’ Edward Norton more than lived up to that standard.”
Norton’s most recent position was as a chief legal advisor for Mason Tillman Associates, a social marketing and public-policy research firm focused on minority business development. Norton had served as the president of Leadership Greater Washington, an organization that fosters communication and cooperation among D.C.’s established leaders. He had also served as a president for the Hale Foundation, an organization that supports undergraduate and alumni activities at Yale University.
Norton was a member of the bars of New York City and Washington, D. C., and for a time practiced law with a prestigious New York law firm. According to his obituary; among Norton’s many legal service roles, he served as assistant to the administrator of the New York Health Services Administration, general counsel of the New York Housing Authority, and deputy general counsel of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from Yale University in 1959 and graduated from the Columbia University Law School in 1966.
Norton’s record includes, a subsequent lapse in paying taxes while married to Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) in the 1980s.
According to news reports, the then couple owed thousands of dollars in taxes between 1982-89, which threatened Rep. Norton’s candidacy in the 1990 race for D.C. delegate. Reportedly, the couple’s tax issue was resolved by payment of more $80,000 in back taxes and penalties. Shortly thereafter the couple separated and were later divorced.
Edward W. Norton is survived by a son, John H. Norton and his wife Tiffany, as well as daughter, Katherine F. Norton, grandson, Justin and brother, Dr. John Norton, of Oakland, Calif., the obituary said.
The obituary stated that a memorial service will be held at a later date.