Norton Brown Hubbard

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MIDDLETON–Norton Brown Hubbard, 97, of Middleton, died peacefully April 24, 2020, at Waunakee Manor Nursing Home, Waunakee.

Norton was born June 27, 1922, to Clifford and Iva (Brown) Hubbard on the home farm near Mount Tabor.  He attended the rural one room Burr School and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1942.  Shortly thereafter, early in World War II, Norton enlisted in the Army Air Cadets. He was immediately transferred to the Signal Corps and shipped to North Africa.  Norton was wounded in September 1943 on the Salerno beachhead in Italy and again in April 1945 near the end of the Italian campaign in northern Italy.  He was awarded two Purple Heart medals. Norton returned to the states in October 1945 and joined Wisconsin Bell Telephone Company in December 1945. He worked there into his 40th year as an engineer and retired in 1985. Norton married Marie Lindstrom in September 1950 and they began a life of travel adventures by honeymooning in Cuba. They built their home in 1950 on 16 acres west of Middleton and lived there all their lives.

In 1939, as a high school freshman, Norton’s many travels started as a member of Future Farmers of America. He often remembered fondly the four summer trips he took by bus with this group. They traveled first to Yellowstone National Park and the western U.S., then Canada and then Mexico City. The final trip, in the June of 1942, was limited to a tour of Wisconsin due to World War II and the rationing of gasoline. Years later, Norton and Marie took their four children by camper to all 48 lower states. Their travels continued with friends by motorhome all across the United States and Canada. Norton and Marie also visited Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia. Since Norton was so intrigued with Alaska, he returned there nine times to explore its natural wonders. He was curious to see polar bears up close, so he visited Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Norton served his community in many ways. For 30 years, he ushered at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton. He was school board treasurer for 10 years for Middleton Joint District #3 school district. For 32 years, Norton was the treasurer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 165, in Madison. He became a member of Kiwanis Club Madison East in 1968 and was very involved in running the brat/hot dog stand at UW home football games. That legacy continues on with several of his children and grandchildren selling brats at every home game. 

Norton’s many hobbies included blacksmithing, woodworking, conservation tree farming, antique tool collecting and beekeeping. A lot of delicious honey was shared with family and friends as well as sold through Hub’s House of Honey. Norton really enjoyed reading travel books and autobiographies of people involved in World War II. He collected and bound 100 years of National Geographic Magazine 1917 to 2017.  Norton was known for making turtle candies at Christmas time and they were eagerly anticipated by family and friends.

Norton did not share his World War II experiences with his children while they were growing up, but once his grandson interviewed him for a school project, the stories started and never stopped. Norton met author Kristin Gilpatrick at a book talk as she was promoting her book, “The Hero Next Door.” A friendship developed and he often attended book promotions with her to share his experiences in World War II. Kristin included Norton’s story in her second book on World War II, “The Hero Next Door Returns,” published in 2001. He was particularly pleased that his picture was on the cover of that book. Norton had so many stories to tell and was no longer reluctant to share the vivid details of his life as a young soldier.

Norton is survived by his four children (all of Middleton), Marita Hubbard Laufenberg, Robin (Scott) Hubbard-Van Stelle, Leif (Pat Trainer) Hubbard and Finn (Cathy) Hubbard; his 11 grandchildren, Brandon (Juli Hansen) Laufenberg, Marin (Alec Schumacher) Laufenberg, Kirsten (Michael) Carrier, Bryan (Kate) Laufenberg, Lindsay (John) Braxler, Kelsey (Rob) Vandersteen, Eric Hubbard, Margo Hubbard, Logan Hubbard, Matt (Emily) Hubbard and Karl (Melissa) Hubbard; his six great-grandchildren, Berric Schumacher, Marcus Carrier, Joyanna and Eragyn Braxler, and Leah and Ruby Vandersteen; his sister, Mava Clark of Cashton; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Marie; his brother, Lowell Hubbard; his brothers-in-law, Dale Clark and Eugene Vinje; and his sisters-in-law, Dawn Vinje and Carol Hubbard.

At Norton’s request, there will be a private Celebration of Life gathering for his children and grandchildren. Burial will be in Evergreen Hill Cemetery, Town of Middleton. Memorials may be made to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 165, Madison, c/o Vernon Wendt, 5559 County Rd. F, Mazomanie, WI, 53560.

Online condolences may be made at gundersonfh.com.

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