Marjorie Ann “Margie” Norton was, above all, a fighter, her mother said.
After enduring a horrific motorcycle accident while studying abroad during her junior year at the University of California, Los Angeles, Ms. Norton fought her way back to complete college.
And despite years of setbacks from a knee transplant she underwent after that accident, she worked for 15 years in Chicago’s public relations and marketing industry before illness forced her to give up her career, her mother said.
Margie Norton was an avid Chicago sports fan and part-owner of the Chicago White Sox, and before she became too ill to attend, she and her mother, Carol “Mickey” Norton, usually could be found in their front-row seat at all Sox games — or second-row courtside at Chicago Bulls games.
Ms. Norton died on July 21 of complications from esophageal cancer. She was 53.
“Margie was so much fun. She was my best friend. She had a great sense of humor. Laughter followed her wherever she went,” said her mother, a financial pioneer who, in 1972, became the first female pit trader on Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s International Monetary Market floor. The elder Norton has been a limited partner-owner of both the Sox and the Bulls since the early 1980s.
Born and raised on Chicago’s Near North Side, Margie Norton attended Latin School of Chicago, then UCLA. In fall 1983, while studying abroad in Bali, she was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident that left her with head injuries and a fractured leg, her mother said.
“When I flew over, I didn’t know if I would find her alive,” she said. “She was air evacuated to Singapore. We were there for a month before we were able to return. As she recuperated, she took online classes, and she was able to go back to UCLA the summer of 1984. But she needed a knee transplant, and we were waiting for a donor. They weren’t doing that kind of surgery in the U.S. So we were on a transplant list in Canada, and got a call about a donor there in mid-1985. She had to drop everything and go.”
Margie Norton later completed her bachelor’s degree in marketing, with honors, at Columbia College in 1986, entering the public relations industry. She worked for several Chicago firms over the course of 15 years, but she consistently suffered pain from the knee transplant. She had to give up her career in the early 2000s, her mother said.
She underwent many surgeries, including a subsequent knee replacement in 2003 and hip replacement in 2012, and then she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
“She loved people. She was very compassionate. She went through a lot, but she never complained about her illnesses. She always remained ‘up,’ ” her mother said. “She was very much into sports, and when she was well, Margie never missed a Bulls, White Sox or Blackhawks game.”
Her parents were both avid Chicago sports fans, so she and her siblings were raised attending games of all three teams. Her mother bought into the Sox and Bulls. Her late father, Bert Norton, bought into the Sox. Margie Norton inherited her father’s limited partner-ownership of the Sox when he died in 2011.
She spent summers working for her mother at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and also learned trading. Like her mother, she also was a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. And after she stopped working, Margie Norton was committed to volunteer work, spending her time reading to children at local day care centers and hospitals. She was a dedicated member of the Streeterville Society of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Besides her mother, survivors include her sister, Merry Sharp, and brother, Scott Norton.
A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Montgomery Club, 500 W. Superior St.