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Victor J. Norton, founder of Catholic Diocesan Counseling Center

July 29, 1921 – March 22, 2015

Victor J. Norton, of North Buffalo, founder and former director of Buffalo’s Catholic Diocesan Counseling Center, died Sunday in Buffalo General Medical Center after a brief illness. He was 93.

Born in Elmira, he came to Buffalo after graduating from Elmira High School to work in the aircraft industry. He was employed at Bell Aircraft when he received his draft notice for World War II and enlisted in the Navy.

Trained as an aircraft metalsmith, he served aboard the USS Franklin, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, and was seriously wounded in a kamikaze attack on the ship in October 1944. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

Returning from service, he attended Canisius College on the G.I. Bill of Rights and earned a bachelor’s degree in English. Unable to find a newspaper job, he was hired by the Erie County Department of Social Services as a caseworker.

Mr. Norton also worked for the Buffalo Psychiatric Center before beginning a 28-year career with Catholic Charities as a caseworker in the mid-1950s.

He advanced to become director of adoptions and director of education and training for Catholic Charities social workers, and then was assigned to establish the Diocesan Counseling Center, one of the first agencies in the nation to provide counseling for priests and nuns.

He retired in 1984.

He was a Cub Scout leader and taught his children camping skills. In retirement, he became an expert woodworker and built numerous pieces of furniture for family and friends.

He was a eucharistic minister at St. Mark’s Catholic Church and a member of the Holy Name Society.

He also was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and AMVETS.

He attended reunions of his shipmates from the USS Franklin and frequently wore the ship’s blue cap with gold lettering.

His wife of 65 years, the former Marjorie J. Felber, a widely known local artist, died in 2011.

Survivors include two sons, Gregory and Daniel; two daughters, Linda and Jeanette; two brothers, Joseph and William; a sister, Sister Julia, RSM; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday in St. Mark’s Church, 401 Woodward Ave.

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